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California Crew Calls Brazos Valley Home for Bush Library Work

November 10 is the big day at the Bush Library when the museum reopens, but for the men and women who have worked for months on the project, every day has been a big day.

From a small idea came an $8.3 million project.

"It was actually just a remodel of three exhibits when we first heard about it," said William Maple, the senior project designer. "I was very excited just to do that. That it grew to this level was really surprise."

Universal Exhibits' crew took on the challenge that they're just now completing: the renovation of George Bush's museum. An early conversation with Barbara Bush before the construction set the tone.

"She asked me, 'Is this the first time you saw the library,' and I said it was," Maple recalled. "She said, 'What was your reaction,' and I said, 'I felt like I read the resume, but didn't meet the man,' and she said, 'that's right.'"

"It's been a long road, but it's been a lot of fun," said John Hall, the shop supervisor.

To properly meet George Bush at the museum required months of work by the California crew. The finished product is just the final mile on that long road.

"Everything becomes such a mess that all of a sudden, you start thinking to yourself, 'Oh my God, are we ever going to get this done,'" Hall said.

When it comes to putting together the new Bush Museum, precision is about as key an element as any. In fact, for every single room, for every single exhibit, there's a specific plan drawn up to show what exactly goes where.

Of course, for these folks that are working on the project, it's not the first presidential museum that they've applied their tools of the trade to.

"We did the Reagan Library, which was mostly install work," Hall said, "and then we did do the Nixon Library, and then I count this as two, because this is the second time."

It was Universal that put the first version of the Bush Museum together. Ten years later, their mark on history has been made once again.

"As a designer, you see flesh is added to the skeleton, and you think, that was worth it," Maple said.

It's a body of work they hope the community and the world enjoys.

Both men you saw there have been so impressed with the community since they began work at the Library that Maple has already moved his family here, and Hall is strongly considering it.


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