Records of Bush 41 Open to the Public

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Karen Heath traveled all the way from Cambridge University in England to research the National Endowment of the Arts controversy from the early 90's. The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum has 5.4 million records available to her to search from...and now, it has 9,700 more.

"I think it's really exciting because we don't know yet what's in there so there could be some undiscovered gems. I'm hoping there will be some things in there useful to me," said Heath.

The library opened the records to the public Friday. For the last 12 years, they have been closed under the Presidential Records Act that took effect during the Reagan administration.

The documents mainly focus on appointments to federal office and confidential advice.

"It's a broad range of papers that come from both the subject file in the White House and they come from staff files so they cover almost everything the White House dealt with, not any particular one subject and they don't come from any particular one office," said library director Warren Finch.

Sift through the files and you can find a memo written by Dick Cheney on a defense bill, a 1992 budget summary and even an administration memo on troop strength in the Persian Gulf during the war.

The papers are just a portion of nearly 57,000 pages previously withheld under the act.

"The papers are scattered in collection all through the library instead of being in just a box here and a box there and so it is difficult and it's taken quite a while, but we're happy to have 9,700 pages open and we believe that this will be the beginning of a rolling process of openings coming within the next months," said Finch.

Finch hopes to have all 57,000 pages of former President Bush's records open by the end of the year.