Bookish tourist: Jimmy Carter Presidential Library

3 words: quiet, Seventies, earnestness
During this delightful whirlwind of a summer, the Dear Man and I headed to Georgia because Atlanta is the home of the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library. 
Both of us went into the situation with these two thoughts:
  1. Jimmy Carter… not our favorite President, even though he seriously seems like a really good person.
  2. Dang! We might actually see him when we’re there! 
Of course, I’m sure the fates decided that because of Thought 1, we were bound to be disappointed when it came to Thought 2.
So yeah: no Presidential sightings, my friends. He was nowhere to be found (even though I kind of had a feeling we might see him and then become regrettably tongue-tied if there were a chance to speak. But: Wrong! Humiliatingly awkward moment: averted.)
We made the best of the disappointment, though, because the Carter library/museum was really well done. 

There were family items…

And there was excellent Seventies campaign stuff…

… to accompany the truly wretched campaign song the Dear Man likes to play for me.

(Yeah, you’re not gonna wanna click that Play button, cuz that song is an earworm that will keep crawling for hours…  Political campaign songs? They ain’t good.)

And Darth Vader and Luke and Princess Leia were there…

And the obligatory replica Oval Office. (I’m a total sucker for the Oval Office replica.)

And they did a really lovely thing here… which made me gasp:

 A full wall of archival boxes on dramatic display! Rapture in the librarian heart!

And then, this moment of triumph…

The thing I really wanted to see (other than President Carter himself) was The Cardigan. I was pretty sure they’d have it, and Yes They Did

I buttoned up in its honor.

And to top it all off, there was a farmer’s market in the parking lot, so: Georgia peaches!!

The Carter Center, the public policy organization run by Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, shares the same grounds, and the whole place is lovely and peaceful and filled with good feeling. It’s right there in the city of Atlanta, but it feels like a world apart. 

The museum brought back lots of very early memories… like being in the voting booth with my mom when she cast her vote in the 1976 election. In that moment, a political junkie was born. 

So, my fellow Americans… What are your memories of the Carter years?  
(Were you even born yet?)

5 thoughts on “Bookish tourist: Jimmy Carter Presidential Library

  1. I have never visited a Presidential Library but I would like to start visiting as many as I can.

    I have such great respect for Jimmy Carter for many reason. Though he was flawed leader in some ways, I think that his flaws have been exaggerated and his achievements have been under appreciated.

  2. Brian — I'm guessing the FDR Presidential Library would be the closest one for a New Yorker to visit. The presidential libraries are an absolutely amazing resource, and I'm so glad they exist.

  3. The first thing that came to my mind was Billy Beer! My parents had some in the fridge for years. Finally, someone ?? drank it.

    I counted up, and I have only been to 2 presidential birthplaces (Truman, LBJ) and one presidential library (Truman). There was an ill-fated trip to The Hermitage near Nashville. Still bitter.

    All of this is to say, well done, Unruly! I'd love to join you on a presidential road trip one of these summers.

  4. Bybee — I confess I thought for a long time that Billy Beer was a made-up thing. So cool that your parents had the actual thing in the fridge.

    LBJ birthplace — I'm jealous!

    Book blogger presidential road trip — genius idea!

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