Reality Show and Tell: What it takes to be elected president

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The new Headed to the White House exhibit at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum gives visitors a behind-the-scenes experience of being on the campaign trail..Just in time for the 2012 election, “Headed to the White House,” a new exhibit at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum will help current and future voters understand what it really takes to become president.

“I think people will be able to gain more of an appreciation for current and past presidents if they are able to understand what they went through to get the position,” says Public Relations Director Will King.

The new Headed to the White House exhibit at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum gives visitors a behind-the-scenes experience of being on the campaign trail..Just in time for the 2012 election, “Headed to the White House,” a new exhibit at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum will help current and future voters understand what it really takes to become president.

“I think people will be able to gain more of an appreciation for current and past presidents if they are able to understand what they went through to get the position,” says Public Relations Director Will King. While the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum tells the story of the life of President George H.W. Bush, by using his experiences as a candidate as a teaching tool, this exhibit’s aim is to increase awareness of the rights and responsibilities of all citizens. “Headed to the White House” puts visitors in the candidate’s shoes and walks them down the long road to the presidency.

The new exhibit opens September 1 as part of a traveling exhibit from the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and will remain at the Bush Library and Museum through July 29, 2012. The National Constitution Center is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization with the goal of increasing public understanding of the United States Constitution and the ideas and values it represents, says Susanne Cox, curator of the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum. 

“It’s objective is to enlighten the visitor to the entire process of running for president, and to promote discussion and debate about the current presidential campaign,” says Cox, “and what better place to do so than at a presidential library?”

The exhibit allows visitors try out many of the roles involved in running a presidential campaign. You not only get to see what it’s like to be a presidential candidate, you can run your own campaign, create your own election news story, and learn how to really get involved in the political process – even if you’re too young to vote, says King.

By creating an exhibit with hands-on activities and total immersion in the campaign process, the library gives patrons a broader understanding of the behind-the-scenes action. Knowledge is power, and King says this new exhibit is an essential part of the library’s commitment to civic literacy. From the first primaries through the presidential inauguration, “Headed to the White House” will show you the ins and outs of the presidential race from the inside out. – by Tessa K. Moore

IF YOU GO

The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Sunday from 12 noon until 5 p.m.

Admission is free to all Texas A&M University System and Blinn College students, $7 for adults, $6 for senior citizens, $3 for children ages 6 to 17, and free for children under 6 years old. For special rates, group tours and other exhibit information, visit bushlibrary.tamu.edu.