Major Changes at Bush Library Likely Won't Become Common

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The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum hardly looks the same. So how often can a museum like President Bush's wait before making major renovations?

Reduced to hollow walls and the smell of carved metal, you hardly recognize the Bush Library these days. The mission they've chosen to accept: bring Bush 41's museum up 21st century technology. Ten years is a long time in that realm.

"We had the very best at the time, touch-screen technology and those types of things," said Brian Blake with the museum. "We had Pentium processors and the computer-driven displays, but technologies and computers change so rapidly."

Besides the swap-out of pictures and the resign of displays, it's a quintupling of interactive displays that will be the focus of the new library. Plus, don't think the presidential library community doesn't keep their eyes peeled on each other.

"As other presidential libraries come online like the Clinton Library and we see the difference and how exhibits are done and can be done better, we look at them," Blake said. "LBJ, I think, knew that they had to freshen their face as we opened, and there's really about a 10- to 12-year timeframe where all museums look at their exhibits."

For the folks at the Bush Library, it is all about changing the framework of presenting the president's life and times, but a once-a-decade makeover of the extreme variety isn't always exactly feasible.

"Even if people were still in the museum with this level of renovation, they wouldn't be enjoying their museum experience," Blake said. "Really, it's not feasible to do it every 10 years, but we will strive to go through and change it on a per-exhibit basis."

Renovations at the library are on schedule, and should be completed by early November.