Image credited to JP Beato III courtesy of the George and Barbara Bush Foundation.
By Bill Oliver for WTAW.com
2019 was the first year the Bush Library and Museum operated following the deaths of the former president and first lady.
Museum director Warren Finch says it was the first time since the opening year in 1998 that attendance topped 200,000.
And the more than 231,000 who visited in 2019 doesn’t count everyone who signed condolence books for the families of George H.W. and Barbara Bush.
Finch thanked the Bryan/College Station community for their support.
2019 activity generated an economic impact of more than seven million dollars.
News release from the George H.W. Bush Library and Museum:
The George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum announced its annual visitation figures of 231,496 for 2019, making it one of the most visited attractions in College Station.
Even though the museum was closed for the entire month of January due to the federal government’s lapse in funding, these numbers constitute a 21.8% increase from 2018.
The last time the museum had over 200,000 visitors was in 1998, which was its first full year of operation.
“The museum saw an outpouring of visitors this year to celebrate the lives of the former President and First Lady. Visitors were eager to participate in the Library’s educational and cultural and special events programming and interact with our core and temporary exhibits. It was gratifying to see people come to visit the museum and make a pilgrimage to honor the Bushes from all over the U.S. and the world. The economic impact for the community was over seven million dollars,” said Bush Library and Museum Director, Warren Finch.
And there is plenty more to come. In 2019, it was announced that:
• The Union Pacific 4141 locomotive that carried President George H.W. Bush on his final trip to College Station will be installed on the grounds of the Bush Library and Museum. Fundraising has begun for the structure that will house the train. The structure will be located near the museum and the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center.
• A retired Marine One helicopter that previously transported President and Mrs. Bush will become the cornerstone of a new exhibit building at the Bush Library and Museum sometime in 2021. Thanks to an agreement finalized with the Marine Corps late last year, plans are already underway to construct a 20,000 square-foot, glass-enclosed building on the grounds of the George H. W. Bush Presidential Center to house the 68-foot historic aircraft. A new restaurant will also be part of the project. “It is one of the most powerful symbols of the modern American presidency, and it is coming to the Bush Center,” said David Jones, President and CEO of the George and Barbara Bush Foundation.