Thursday, June 21, 2012

Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum

(Abilene, KS)  Hi 83  Lo 61  - (Jim)  It was a little cooler today, low 80’s with a cloudless sky. Just beautiful. I did the laundry this morning. The laundry room here at Covered Wagon RV Park has 3 washers and 3 dryers, and – I’m not kidding – all six appliances are a different brand, with different instructions, and different costs. What the… ??? I’ve always done the laundry in our family. Not sure why; I guess it was my attempt early in our marriage to “do my part” in the household chores department. But in our lifestyle, me doing the laundry has one main advantage. On the road, we sometimes have to use commercial laundromats, and a lot of times they’re not in the best part of town. So I feel better with me sitting for a couple of hours in that environment than having Dee sit alone. And while I’m on the subject of laundry, I’ve got a pet peeve. Most dryers in RV parks take a set amount of quarters for a set amount of time, usually about 40 minutes. But a lot of times the clothes aren’t completely dry when the cycle is finished. Then you have to fork up another 4-6 quarters for a complete cycle, when all you need is another 10-15 minutes! Baah! I like the commercial dryers that give you 5 or 6 minutes per quarter. Much more economical. OK, my rant is over.

After the laundry was done we left for the Eisenhower Library and Museum, which is just a few blocks from our campground. It’s in a beautiful setting in downtown Abilene, and consists of four separate buildings laid out around a large area of perfectly maintained green grass. Being a military man myself, Dwight Eisenhower has always been one of my favorite Presidents. I’ve always liked the fact that Eisenhower spent over 30 years in the Army, but never saw one minute of actual combat. In fact, he spent 16 years at the rank of Major. And yet, when WWII arrived he became one of the greatest generals in history, most famous for planning the D-Day invasion of Normandy. He was a great planner and organizer, with a remarkable ability to get consensus among bickering factions both in his military and political careers. (We sure could use him today!)

After checking in at the Visitor’s Center and paying $8 apiece (senior citizens rate), we walked over the Eisenhower’s boyhood home for a 20-minute narrated tour. (Click on photos to enlarge them.)
DSC_7617 (640x426)

Our docent wasn’t the most personable guide we’ve seen, but he was knowledgeable enough about the history of the house. Eisenhower was actually born in Texas, but was raised in this house until he left to enter West Point. The house has original furnishings, and we were shown about five rooms, including the sitting room.
 DSC_7620 (640x426)

After this tour, we walked over to the museum
DSC_7660 (640x426)

We spent about two hours going through the exhibits. There were separate rooms for his wartime years, presidential years, and one room for his wife Mamie. It was fascinating to read about how he planned the Normandy invasion, and look at the actual documents and letters from that time, and also many of the weapons, uniforms, and equipment of the war. The wartime gallery included some of the vehicles and artillery of WWII.
Eisenhower Library & Museum 2012_06_21 (32) (640x426)

One neat exhibit was this recreation of a living room in the 1950’s. I remember when I was growing up we had a clock on our living room wall something like the one in this photo. Ah, the memories!
DSC_7649 (640x426)

This is the teleprompter Eisenhower used when he made his famous Farewell Address in 1961 just before leaving office, including the actual script. The Emmy statue is the one Eisenhower was awarded for his work in televising presidential addresses and press conferences. He’s the only U.S. President to win an Emmy.
DSC_7653 (640x426)

Across the lawn from the museum is the library building. It had a couple of small exhibits in the lobby area, but the purpose of the building is mainly for scholarly research.
DSC_7655 (640x426)

On one end of the complex is this nice statue of Ike the General.
DSC_7657 (426x640)

And on the other end is the Place of Meditation, the final resting place of Dwight D. Eisenhower, wife Mamie, and their first son Doud Dwight Eisenhower (who died as a child) lie in peace.
DSC_7664 (426x640)

DSC_7670 (640x426)

After the obligatory walk through the gift shop we called it a day. It was a nice visit. I love visiting Presidential museums, and this one was one of the best I’ve seen so far. We came home and rested for a little while, then I got out the grill to cook up some pork chops for dinner. Another wonderful day in this wonderful lifestyle!


John and Carol said...

Very interesting post about an amazing President. Thanks for sharing. Your post inspires me to seek out more Presendential musuems.

Mike and Terri said...

Great post Jim, they should hire you for their PR Department. :) I always forget about the Presidential Libraries... until you remind me of them again. We'll have to remember to keep them in mind as we travel around.
The laundry room here has three washer and TWO dryers, go figure.

Jill said...

I just saw Eisenhauer's presidential airplane last week in Dayton at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. We could walk through it from front to back. The latest plane they had in the exhibit was Kennedy's and it was interesting to see how the aircraft had evolved.

Jill said...

Oops, Eisenhower.

Jim and Sandie said...

Lots I didn't know about Eisenhower. Neat place to visit. But I also like to visit laundromats. You can really meet the most interesting people in them. But Jim usually hangs around with me.

Paul and Marti Dahl said...

I have a campaign button from his second election, "I Like Ike".

Wishful thinking that there is any politician today that is likeable. :c(

Bob and Jo said...

We like Ike