Bush library preparations

The gifts, documents and electronic records accumulated during George W. Bush's two terms have gone from the White House to a warehouse in Lewisville. They'll remain there until Bush's $300 million presidential library opens in 2013 on the Southern Methodist University campus. But even now, librarians and archivists are hard at work figuring out how to catalog everything.

LOTS OF STUFF: There are about 40,000 artifacts and 65 million documents stored in the facility. The 100 terabytes of electronic records is by far the largest of any presidential collection, as the Bush administration was the first that worked entirely during an era of e-mail. "It's a colossal amount of material," said Shannon Jarrett, the library's supervisory archivist. "We won't get to all of it in our lifetime."

INTERESTING STUFF: Among the items are some one-of-a-kind treasures, gifts to the president: a purse made of vines from the Thai queen, a Texas Rangers jersey autographed by Nolan Ryan, a framed mosaic of St. Peter's Basilica from the pope.

HISTORIC STUFF: Also among the artifacts is the 9 mm pistol Saddam Hussein carried when U.S. soldiers captured him hiding in a spider hole in 2003. Inside two dozen unopened crates are the disassembled pieces of the White House Situation Room, which was renovated and upgraded during Bush's first term. Not all of it can be found, however. "I think it's like the Berlin Wall," Jarrett said. "Everyone seemed to get little chunks of it."

SECRET STUFF: A sealed room holds classified records. Under the 1981 Presidential Records Act, records can be withheld for at least five years and up to 12 years if they fall under any of six categories. Most of the records and items will never be seen by the public, stored off-limits in parts of Bush's presidential center. Those that eventually are displayed will reflect the four broad themes on which Bush's private foundation wants to focus the exhibits: freedom, opportunity, compassion and individual responsibility.

Jeff Carlton, The Associated Press

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