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tv   Presidential Libraries and Museums  CSPAN  April 22, 2017 12:05pm-1:06pm EDT

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those involved citizens in this very great country. because history has his eyes on you. on the presidency, and author talks about florence harding and the new president she created -- and the precedent she created as first lady. >> he was in dire streets medically. it was interesting because out of this veteran's cause came the veteran's bureau. this is the first time the united states had a bureau. >> for a complete schedule, go to >> next, we hear how presidential libraries and museums should the president's legacy. -- she is thehors
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author of presidential libraries. the national archives in washington hosted this hour-long event. good afternoon, everyone. i would like to welcome you and our good friends from c-span to the mcgowan theater located in the national archive theater in washington d.c. i am the visitor services manager and producer of the lecture series. before we begin today's program, i would like to remind you of other programs taking place at this location in the near future. thursday,vening on march 30 at 7:30 p.m., the state of alaska is sponsoring a performance of the alaska chamber group. as the state celebrates this centennial of william's purchase of america.
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on thursday, we will presenting a panel discussion, 100 years world war i in the wake of sacrifice with the discussion will be centered around the new national world war i memorial that will be billed in pershing .ark theind out more about programs, you can visit our website. dr. jody is an associate professor of theater in the department of theater, colombian arts and science at washington orversity in a served as -- number professional productions at area theaters. for larger focus is on strengthening communities through adaption performance. it to this end, she has created events and productions in a wide
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variety of settings. her previous book, performing last through theater and writing showing how theaters can use performance through theater and grief. she currently serves on the editorial board of text and performance quarterly. she holds a ba in english ma inture and an communication studies. she is a trained facilitator and before joining the faculty at gw, she was associate professor
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leader and dance in missouri state university. please join me in welcoming jody can tour to the national archives. [applause] jody: thank you. i'm happy to be here. the setting is washington d.c. it is winter of 1938. the curtain opens on an office, but not just any office, this one is so famous that it has its very own name. recognized around the world as a place of power -- the oval office. seated inside the office is president franklin roosevelt,
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who is worrying about history. this is a very practice for which the office was designed. he is not worried about sheep in the context of history, but about shaping public access to it. he is worried about whether on everyof citizens part of the land will have access to the historical documents of this time and place to the story of what we have .ived he was to answer the question differently than has been before. roosevelt is perhaps one of the first high-ranking politician to bury about public access to presidential history in this way. roosevelt is not a selfless man.
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secure a place in the nation in the world. but roosevelt also be done to develop a critical consciousness about the relationship between history and power. he has begun to understand the problems with the prevailing approach to history that howard influential he articulated 40 years later. the past is told from the point of view of government, comfort, diplomats, leaders. columbus, one in universal acceptance, as if they ,ome of the founding fathers justices of the supreme court, represent the nation as a whole. traditional forms of public history, roosevelt recognizes, promote patriotism, but they also underrepresented, and
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misrepresent, those that lack the money to make themselves heard. president roosevelt and his advisers for the first national leaders to act on this emerging awareness of the narrowness of american public history. they took important steps to embed within the federal government an approach to public historic. expanding in effort such as a historic building camera progress administration of citizen president'sand the initiative, commission the first presidential library to preserve the primary sources of american history. in making his presidential materials publicly available, roosevelt explicitly affirmed the historic value of broad,
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faith,- for claiming his the capacity of america's own people, so to learn from the past that they can gain in judgment in creating their own future. and, at the library's a small ceremony to which he invited the facility's in thers through an ad local newspaper, roosevelt speculated about the future generations of america would be grateful for his foresight. share thatd to passage directly from my book because it is really the beginning. here is an image that you can find on the website and the fdr library. it is of the dedication of this first library. was a community event in a
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very real sense. i wanted to tell you a little bit for those who do not know about the structure that roosevelt set up by which presidential libraries would be governed. . roosevelt,rk is that and in the future, his presidential foundation and the foundations of other president would raise the money to build the library and would oversee its first display. dedication ceremony at that very moment, the
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administration of the library would be transferred to the national archives. and that arrangement has had, i think, a democratizing influence on these institutions, the public institutions of the presidential library. and i think that democratizing impulse is probably no where more glaringly demonstrated then at the nixon library. as some of you may know, the nixon library originally opened federal system and desk system. and there ensued with the formal director of the presidential
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libraries is called the 30 years two factions represented by nixon's two coursers fought in the -- in the courts and elsewhere about whether or not this library was going to become part of the national library system. so, 30 years later, that fight was won by the faction that once it it to be a part of the system, and the condition upon which that change was made was, that there had to be a broader -- there had to be a watergate exhibit in the new library. director of the library under the federal system -- there were directors before,
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but this director was appointed by the national archives. they set about doing just that. -- i am this exhibit just showing you a very small piece of a wall length exhibit. i wanted to show you this piece so you could see it in a little more detail. , if it can beit criticized i would say it can thely be criticized on basis on sharing an overwhelming amount of information. injured on the other side -- so it aired on the other side in really giving a very extensive history of this very complex event of the watergate scandal. in addition to this full wall that you see here, there is also
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a series of monitors on which you can pull up oral history material and a film. it is a very large exhibit. and this sort of democratizing influence of the national archives has continued. and i would say with great hope, it has become stronger, i think. libraryple, the reagan -- i believe it was 20 years. is that right? summer between 10 and 20 years to redo its exhibit so that it
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gave a full accounting of the iran-contra scandal. so that was a significantly shorter amount of time than it took to create this watergate exhibit. and in the clinton library opened with the impeachment story as part of the library. so they didn't even realize think about not having it there. hope for it to become more robustly represented over time, and i expect that will happen, but it was there when .xhibit opened so, i am going to talk to you about some displays within the museums that i think illustrates this inclusive, and sort of
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democratic ideal of the presidential libraries. this is a favorite exhibit of mine from the carter library. this was not in the original carter library. this exhibit resulted from a renovation that they did in 2009, which was 13 years after the library opened. and one of the large changes in the new exhibit was a very expanded exhibit on carter's very early years. and as you can see from the heading on the site there, this exhibit really focused on the hiscan-americans in
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community that were extremely influential in his early years. not only did it do that in passing, but it actually shared, as you can see, images of those will. it gained those people -- it nameed those people -- it named those people and really -- thezed carter's from this he gained intimacy with people who were different from him. this is not a display, but this is the outside of the clinton library. wasclinton library consciously modeled after the
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slogan of his reelection campaign, which was a bridge to the 21st century. can a little bit tell here, the building looks like a bridge. and most important, it looks like an unfinished bridge with out overf it working the arkansas out over the arkansas river. the idea in clinton speeches, and the idea that is embodied in the building, and in a lot of the displays was that, we all had a role in building and finishing the bridge. so, the display is inside the library and emphasizes a number
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of different ways, for example, the clinton library has the most extensive exhibit on the vice presidency of any of the libraries. it also highlights his relationship with nelson mandela. there are a number of different ways in which it emphasizes working together. actually, before we talk about wantisitors' experience, i to talk about a couple of other different -- a couple of other displays and other libraries. the first one i want to mention, but i do not have an image of it is at the hoover library in west branch, iowa.
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the hoover library has what, for me, is perhaps the most moving -- i guess you would call it a display -- a video of the libraries. and that is a video that has its own little space in the library. it shows excerpts from oral with peoplenducted who were children in the first world war, and who were influenced in profound ways by hoover's humanitarian work. and getting to hear these voices of ordinary people talking about the impact of his pre-presidential work on their
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lives is very moving. the details are still with me. it was very many years ago that i visited the hoover library, but there is a man who talked about the smell of the hoover rolls when he first smelled them, and how revolutionary that smell was for him. somebody else who talked about being a lot at his own plate by the humanitarian effort, and the amazing experience of having his very own plate. the other one i wanted to mention, which i think is perhaps surprising, is in the eisenhower library. the eisenhower library is the only presidential library, so
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far, that dedicates space to communities of people who were struggling during the eisenhower years, during the presidential years. and that exhibit the eisenhower library is called simply "the other america." so, there is a largest lay on the 1950's, and all of the new joys ofns and cultural the 1950's. but in the next room, there is this large panel titled "the other america." which begins with the sentence that is something like -- not all americans shared in the boom times. it talks about three or four specific communities that really
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struggled during his presidency. i want to talk next about two in two live experiences different presidential libraries, which i think contribute to this sense of civic participation. in the first is george bush library, and it is theater." gulf war and it is the only examples of four in the presidential libraries of an immersive exhibit.
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walks into this space, sits on one of these crates that you see in the foreground of the photograph, and listens to the voices of soldiers who fought in the war, being played very short snippets, sort of like a collage of these voices, talking about their food experiences. and what you cannot see in the photograph is that the lights shift while you're sitting there to eliciting -- while you are sitting there listening. the space in the center of the photograph looks like it may be a whole is actually a screen. but that screen shows images from the war, and very close-up, and somewhat extracted images. so you are not looking at tv
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, footage of the gulf war, you are really looking at evocative imagery taken from the news footage. um, so this exhibit, i think, tolly encourages the visitor stay put for a while, and experience and a number of different sensory and physical ways, what it might have been like to be a part of that conflict. the second one i want to talk about is not an immersive experience, but an unusual library's way of dealing with the legacy of a president. so, i should pause here and say
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that the presidential libraries are structured in similar ways. and that structure is more or less chronological. you know, you walk through an years, beenhe early there prepresidential career, then there presidential years, been there post-presidency, and then their legacy. and i that are interested in how one represents a legacy. and this i thought was such an participatory, though not in the sense of the george bush library, but way of doing it. exhibit is called "lbj and you." and it talks about the ways in which lbj's presidency continues to act upon our lives and our
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bodies today. you can see big bird right in this photograph. and there is a question next to that photograph that says, have you ever watched public television? if you have watched public television than you have been , influenced by this legacy. two images down from big word there is a boy buckling himself in with a seatbelt. the text says "have you ever used a seatbelt?" so, it is a really into meant -- it is a really intimate, and a makingrsonal way of about how leadership affects ordinary people. so, i will end with a few ideas
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about how i think the libraries can do better. and then i am happy to take whatever questions you might have. librariesthat the can do and this is something i , should say that museums in general struggle with, is to bring in a more diverse visitorship. when i spoke with sam mcclure, who was at the time, the deputy director of the national archives, i asked him why is it that you have not done any studies of who comes to the libraries demographically?
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and he said, it is because we do not need a survey to know how old and white we are. issue that the archives is aware of, and many other museums are aware of. and i think there are a couple besidesto come at that, public programming, which is beyond the scope of what i am talking about today. displays, to create re: the ones that i have mentioned, where people see citizens who look like them. right? who look like themselves. use,ther is to make clever and innovative use of oral history materials. i mention that there is this beautiful display at the hoover
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library. at the most recent library, the george w. bush library, there is a space dedicated to actually collecting oral histories. so, if you are a visitor -- actually, i should say they are not oral. typed, for the most part, into a computer, but if you visit there, you can include your story in the story of the bush years. but i think it's kind of exciting, and i am interested in seeing what they do in terms of how the archive that material. thing that i think has not been paid great attention to is a sectionion to
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of the libraries that i did not mention in my quick rundown, which i call the culture gallery. , if not all the presidential libraries, there is a big space where the visitor can see film posters and listen to music, and look at video clips of movies, all in the interest of soaking up the time period. i find these culture galleries, in general, not so effective. , they are kind of a sensory bombardment, you know. you have very small samples of .nfluential artwork
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and it is just a little overwhelming to the senses. what would be interesting, i think, would be to step back from that approach to the culture of the time period, and being morek about selective, and choosing particularly influential pieces for the visitor to get a larger sample of. maybe you get to see an entire scene from a sound, or you get to hear maybe with headphones, song from an entire the billboard list. way,y, i think that is one through art, to get at the other thing that
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some of the libraries are doing in terms of thinking about democracy and civic participation, is thinking about the role that the institution of the presidential library itself action. civic one thing i should note that has often been mentioned as a virtue of the presidential library is that they are not here in d.c. they are all over the country, and some are in big cities, some are in small towns. but they had that sort of structural democratizing influence also in that they are available to people who otherwise might not be able to see them. some models of the kind of
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institutional thinking about civic action that i am thinking , themost noticeably carter center, which was developed at the same time as the carter library and is on the same campus. and within the presidential n exhibitthere is a that is dedicated to the work of the carter center. you can learn all about what they do and how people become involved in their humanitarian work around the world. another, and much less well-known example of this is in the first george bush library. exhibit, theythe have an electronic system set up
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issuech you can choose an that concerns you at the community level. and you can type that issue into the computer, and the computer will print out organizations in your, i cannot member if it is zip codes, or how they chart the territory, but local organizations that are working on that issue. so, you can leave with this printout of places you can call to get involved. and then, finally, a library that is thinking a great deal about itself as an institution, and what its role might be in strengthening communities through civic participation is the obama library.
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which of course, does not exist yet. but, consistent with his early work as a community organizer, i think that the board and the people at the foundation are really, from the get go, our thinking about what can we actually do in this space that can make change in the world around us, and support people in the world immediately around us? will close.t, i about the talked much title of my book, and i am happy to talk about that. , of course, there are lots and lots of other great examples of things libraries are doing. i will leave it there entergy for questions.
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[applause] ms. kanter: oh, and i have been told to tell you that there are microphones on either side for you to be heard asking questions. >> hi, thank you very much for your words today. i am a college student here in the washington d.c. area, and have been greatly interested in presidential history for several years. one thing that i find to be particularly interesting is that the roosevelt library, the fdr library was dedicated when president roosevelt was still in office. and i believe that is the only presidential library which existed when it's subject was still in office. my question is -- do you think the fact that president
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roosevelt was still in office influenced the roosevelt library in any major way? ms. kanter: that is a really interesting question. i don't know. well, it influence the library and one very concrete way, which is that, roosevelt used his office in that library. so, it was designed with that intention. so, there is that. guessingof what i am you are really asking about, which is the content of the displays and that kind of thing thatam not actually sure
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it did influence, and a then say any of the other presidents who were still around and alive when the library was being built. but it is an interesting thing to think about. do presidential libraries, which is why i am here today. i was going to ask the question that you left us with, where does the title of the lecture and performance -- if you could tie the performance in with the title, and also in your phd degree? ms. kanter: sure. my background is in a discipline
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called performance studies, which is different from theater studies. performance studies is a discipline that looks at, and defines performance extremely broadly. so the discipline is interested example, so making it to the book, i am interested invite us libraries to behave when we are there. role theysted in the create for the president, and the role they create for the citizen. and as i said towards the end, i am interested in how institutions themselves act in the world. does that clarify? yeah. thanks. >> my question was, how did you
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get interested in doing this, basically? ms. kanter: so, i need a better story for this. [laughter] ms. kanter: but i will tell you ,hat i have the opportunity thanks to the person i was dating at the time, who is now my husband who is here, i had the opportunity to go to the clinton library pretty soon after it opened. so it was a thing that people were doing was going to the clinton library. and i found it fascinating. hadthe first question i when i came out of it was, i wonder what the reagan library is like?
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because he was the other two-term president that i had in my memory. i had the idea of going to the reagan library and then initially, writing a little article or something that was looking at them. and i went to the reagan library, and indeed, it is dramatically different in a zillion ways from the clinton library. and actually, there is a chapter in my look that compares those two libraries. but i think once i got started, by moreecame fascinated than just the displays. i became interested in the history and in the division of labor between the foundation and
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the national archives. thatne other thing is there existed at the time, only one study the presidential libraries. it came out in 2006. that study is written by a historian, and the title of it is "presidential temples." and you can glean from that title that this was a historian that was very dissatisfied with the presidential libraries as history. that -- heed to me let interesting things to say, and particularly interesting things to say about the truman library. but it seemed to me that the presidential libraries were up to more than just telling
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history, which connects to the question about performance. so, i wanted -- i thought that my background and training gave what theyective on ebee doing in the landscape besides just narrating history. that was a long answer. >> thank you. i am not from the united states. i am from the caribbean. you touched on this in the george w. bush library, the gulf war. two questions. the first question is -- the change that was brought about in the nixon library concerning watergate, did that come about because of activities outside that people who had been inside
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with open protests being shown, in fact that it was really not , showing some balance version of what was going on inside during that time? second question is -- concerning the relationship of the united statess president -- of the --ted states presidents basically they became the president of the matter world. united states became the dominant power. how do you think these libraries show the u.s. role in the world? you talked a bit about the johnson library. how did it show vietnam? or the kennedy library, or nixon? is any opportunity afforded in these libraries, not only to the u.s. citizens but people from the outside.
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countries on which the united states had impact to talk about the experiences concerning presidents from an american standpoint. thank you very much. ms. kanter: remind me of the first question. is, theirst question change of the library. was this a consequence of -- i saw that in talking about the oppressed. the notion of the library radicalizing change in society. that can be problematic. the issue is problematic in a sense that if it is my library, i wanted to show me in a good light. that is the balance that you have. how do you think that those things play out, and which library have you gone to do you think comes closest to the notion of the presidents?
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maybe the obama president? those are three questions. thank you. ms. kanter: i would love to say that the change in the nixon library came about through grassroots revolution. [laughter] ms. kanter: but, in fact, that is not really happen. stake in thats at protracted conversation/argument was really nixon's place in history. sense that some of had that if he was excluded from this set of institutions that was a now fairly robust set of
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institutions tied together. that is legacy might be diminished by that exclusion. meant havingif it to tell a more complex and somewhat less flattering story, that it was worth doing that in order to be included in the civic institution of the presidential library. wasthat conversation really not among visitors. and in fact, people who visited the library when it was a private library, tended to be nixon supporters, and therefore, tended to be perfectly happy with the private exhibit as it was. colleagues andly
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supporters of the president who had a different view of how to preserve his legacy best. of the oppressed, that is such a great question. um. i think, the first in a comes to -- i is the house in our think, the first thing that comes to my, is that eisenhower display, which is really -- in the grand scheme of things it is not really very radical. the context of these presidential libraries, the idea of really delving into, and it could be -- that exhibit could be bigger and deeper. the idea of really giving space and airtime to communities who were not doing so well under the eisenhower presidency, i think
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is an important contribution. i think my hope is that the obama library will go even further in that direction. and i guess the carter center, too. certainly, if you're talking about the interaction between the u.s. and other countries internationally, the carter center does that more than any other institution. in the system. i have a comment and a question. the comic piggybacks on your statement of how you are
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interested in the landscape of what the landscape of presidential library says. i went to the nixon library. at the end of the accident, you walk out and see tunes of mr. and mrs. -- and you see tombs of mr. and mrs. nixon. then there is a little white house that you can tour. i assumed that they had moved the home to the library site, but i was told that no comment he chose the site of his childhood home for his library, which i thought was interesting. an interesting statement about him. my question is -- i understand the libraries are a partnership between private and public. -- does the public private foundation stop the foundation wants the government takes over, or do they continue to work together? ms. kanter: that is a great question, the answer is the latter that they continue to work together.
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the national archives has a lot of administrative responsibilities. the presidential foundation does things like, they run the gift shop, and they pay for certain exhibits that are above and beyond what the scope of the presidential library is. for example, the most obvious example is, at the reagan library there is an air force one and exhibit where you walk into this glass enclosed room and air force one is sitting there before you. you can go in it. that exhibit was paid for by the foundation. one of the things i say in the book is that i think the
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libraries could be clearer about that. about who is supporting what pieces of the story. and the foundation, there is an institutional relationship that is ongoing between the foundation and the library. >> i wanted to make some comment, or respond to your question about having more and more people visit the museums and libraries, also people who represent much more of the fabric of american life. i just tumbled into them, probably because i was older and had more time and probably , because i pass through abilene, kansas. i am stuck. i am a recent resident baking to washington d.c. yesterday, i was at the american history museum. and we spent a lot of time in the presidential area there. waseach of the presidents
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listed, and there were children that you need. and they made some comments. it occurred to me that we had a wonderful display there that cannot possibly give the kind of context that each of these lives is. because together, they tell the story of america. the one of them representing about almost a decade in many cases. then i was at the portrait museum. wonderful portraits. it has taken me a lifetime to collect all the stories. but i am wondering if perhaps, we could get more visibility about the libraries and their existence and making some connections among our own existing organizations, so that within the smithsonian, just referring the existence of these things, it may sound presence is that because i understand, just like in the previous answer, these are complicated organizations, and all of these are complicated organizations. but i think there is a question of not knowing they exist. so, i was wondering if you
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think is the complexity of organizations that keep people from even knowing about them? ms. kanter: i don't think so. the national archives has made some efforts in that direction. veryeally simple, but yourete one, is that when walk into any one of the libraries, you get a little here are all says the presidential libraries, and you should go see them. obvious, butper that was not the case 10 years ago. also on the web, they are making connections. there is a presence, invisible presence of the national ease of getting from one library on the web that did not used to be there. linking to idea of other kinds of institutions is an interesting one.
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something in what you said made me want to mention that there is a chapter in the book about failure, and about the representation of presidential failure in the museums. things i ame arguing -- and one of the things i arguing is that it is actually a great service to visitors to include those stories. i guess i would just plug, if you have not been to the ford library, there is some really interesting documentation there. and actually, in general, any of the libraries that deal with one term presidents, sorted by definition, have to deal with the failures -- the failure of being reelected, although it did
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not always be that way. i found myself really interested in the one-term presidential libraries, even though i started two-termt these libraries. part of th i think part of the reason is, chronologically speaking, there is a shorter story to tell. i think the potential for depth is greater at those libraries. ok. thank you so much. [applause] >> this week and american history tbn c-span3, today at seven, p.m. eastern, georgia tech professor talks about the influence of early 19th century naturalist hater
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>> their distant work of course varied of course also that steelwork. he was very good at what he did and he did it with no binoculars, no field guide, no iphone app, and the proof is in the painting. eight, allen tells oh on abraham lincoln and his views on slavery in the u.s. supreme court decision. .> there is no restraint not even the restraint of popular sovereignty. on taking slaves into the territories. . biden andpeakers joe david mccullough, and michael quinn.
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>> is my hope that this museum helps inspire you to become those active and involved to citizens in the very great country. because history has its eyes on you. catherine sibley talks about first lady florence harding and the new president she created as first lady. been in hospitals. she had been in dire straits medically. she could relate to what they were going to. it was interesting because out the veterane came bureau. this is the first time the united states had a bureau. . go to for our complete schedule. sunday that on afterwards, congressman from california -- colorado discusses drain the
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swamp, how russian can -- how washington corruption is worse than you think. >> when you arrive in d.c. in you this rounding the talked about earlier, you get comfortable in the situation and you don't want to get of -- give up those comforts. then you spend more money. you don't solve problems, but you create programs and take credit for those programs. whether they are efficient or and many of the members of congress are here. it is a job that they don't want to give up. their reelection is more the probleman solving that needs to go on nbc. >> watch afterwards sunday night
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at 9 p.m. eastern. next, on american history tv, international spy museum historian discusses attempts by the u.s. government to overthrow or assassinate cuban leader fidel castro. he examined the bay of pigs and lesser-known plans involving poison, drugged coffee, and exploding cigars. the 90-minute presentation was cohosted by the smithsonian associates and the international spy museum in washington, d.c. >> good morning, everyone. it is a good morning. it is a great day. after that, i think it goes irc executive director. we are delighted to have all of you here with us. let us look again


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