Spotlight On: Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum
Jimmy Carter, the thirty-ninth president of the United States, was born on Oct. 1, 1934 in Plains, Ga., and he grew up in the nearby community of Archery. Carter attended Georgia Southwestern College and Georgia Tech, and then he received a degree from the United States Naval Academy. After his education, he returned to Plains where he was a community leader in the 1950s.
His path to the presidency truly began when he became a Senator in 1962 and then became Georgia’s 76th governor in 1971. Just five short years later, Carter was elected president in 1976.
After his time in the Oval Office, President Carter’s accomplishments continued as he became a University Distinguished Professor at Emory, founded The Carter Center and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 for “his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development.” In addition, President Carter has been the author of 27 books on a broad range of subjects.
Located on Freedom Parkway in downtown Atlanta, the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum is part of the Presidential Library System, which includes 13 libraries that are administered by the National Archives. These libraries function as time capsules that record the history of a president, as they house important documents, records and letters that become known as the Presidential Papers. The center is also home to audiovisual materials, campaign memorabilia and gifts given to the president and the first family. By all of these things being on display to the public, we have a unique way of learning about the life of a president and the times in which he lived and served.
The facility for The Carter Presidential Center, which includes both the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum and The Carter Center, was dedicated in October 1986. The 70,000 square foot Presidential Library was donated to the national government, which made it a part of the Presidential Library System. In addition to housing the library, museum and Carter Center, the space also includes President Carter’s personal offices and office space for many of the foundations he supports.
Visitors can tour the Museum at the Jimmy Carter Library, which includes photographs and historical memorabilia from the Carter presidency, an exact replica of the Oval Office, many exquisite gifts that were received by the Carters, President Carter’s Nobel Peace Prize and permanent exhibits that showcase significant events that occurred during Carter’s life and political career. You can also walk through a day in the life of the president, and take a virtual trip around the world to fight disease and promote democracy with the Carter Center’s interactive computer table.
In addition to the permanent collection, the museum houses two to four national traveling exhibits each year. These past exhibits have included such things as the Declaration of Independence and other features that are on loan from the Smithsonian Institution, Presidential Libraries and museums around the world. Currently, visitors can see the Diplomatic Patterns: A Sampling of White House China exhibit, which is on display until March 2. This exhibit shows dinnerware that has been used for historical State Dinners, as well as many presentation pieces that have been given to U.S. presidents. The museum also features many book readings and signing days.
Additionally, the museum has its own store, and visitors can purchase apparel, books, jewelry, kid’s items and more to commemorate the life of President Carter and their trip to the Presidential Center.
Visitors are also welcome to use the library’s research collections. However, it is advised to write, call or email the library to ask if it has material on a selected research topic before visiting.
The Carter Presidential Center is an exceptional place for learning for school children, college students, educators and the general public. It provides a unique look into the life and career of Georgia’s most distinguished politician, and it showcases a snapshot of a time in history that many living today weren’t alive to experience.
The Presidential Center and Museum is located at 441 Freedom Parkway. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. until 4:45 p.m. and Sunday from noon until 4:45 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults, seniors, military; students with a valid ID are $6 and children 16 and under are free. The library is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., and it is closed on all federal holidays.
For more information on The Carter Presidential Center, visit www.jimmycarterlibrary.gov.