Lydon Baines Johnson is perhaps best known for signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law, a defining moment in our nation's history. His library and museum provide an entertaining look at his presidency that is a must-see!
The Library and Museum
While the library is run by the federal government, it actually sits on the campus of the University of Texas in Austin, right across from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. It holds 45 million pages of historical documents including LBJ's personal papers. The library was dedicated on May 22nd, 1971, and LBJ's speech at the dedication states overtly what the abundance of letters implies. Johnson wanted the library to show the facts his presidency, the good and the bad, the triumphs and the failures. He wanted to lay everything out on the table so any American could come look at his presidency and decide for themselves what to make of it.
The museum holds several rotating exhibitions (currently on display are two about the Vietnam War) and several permanent exhibits on everything from the presidential limousine to social justice and the transition of power that occurred in the wake of the Kennedy Assassination. (Past exhibits are actually documented and made available on the library's website.) Like many museums, you can rent an audio guide while you're there, but if you'd rather, you can download an audio guide to your phone—it's cheaper, and it will update automatically should anything change in the exhibits.
The library also holds events both onsite and around Austin. Recent events include "Women in Leadership Conversation and Lunch." There was also a screening and cast/crew roundtable discussion of the film All the Way which stars Bryan Cranston and Anthony Mackie as Lyndon B. Johnson and Martin Luther King, Jr. It also periodically honors civil servants for civility and bipartisanship with the "LBJ Liberty and Justice for All Award."
Admission to the library is $8 for adults, though discounts and free admission are available for students, children, seniors, and military personnel. The library is open 9:00 a.m-5:00 p.m every day, closing only for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. Free admission is offered on Martin Luther King Day, President's Day, LBJ's birthday, and various other holidays.
The Surrounding Area
If you want to keep things Johnson-themed, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is in South Austin, only a 20-minute drive without traffic. The Wildflower center is gorgeous and unique and has information about plants that thrive in high heat and low water. Even farther is Johnson City where Lyndon B. Johnson's ranch (now a national park) and burial site is located. It's about an hour west of town in the Texas Hill Country.
You can always keep things slightly less educational and visit the massive Half-Price Books or Austin Books and Comics. Downtown you can have a bit more fun at Pinballz or see a movie at Alamo Drafthouse.