It took five months of dismantling and reconstructing, $10 million of private donations and tweaks that lasted into the early morning hours, but finally, the newly renovated Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum was ready to open Thursday.
Museum Director Jay Hakes, Mayor Shirley Franklin, Gov. Sonny Perdue, Vice President Walter Mondale and the Rev. Joseph Lowery were on stage to celebrate the occasion with Rosalynn Carter and her husband of 63 years, former President Jimmy Carter.
Behind them, the only presidential library in the Southeast, one with new interactive exhibits and information to update visitors about “the greatest former president that ever lived,” Lowery said.
Hundreds of people gathered for the reopening Thursday, and to celebrate Jimmy Carter’s 85th birthday. The Georgia native cut the ribbon on the new museum, listened to a crowd sing-along of “Happy Birthday to You” and welcomed everyone to wander the new exhibits for free for the day.
For those who visited, here’s some of what they saw in the new Carter museum.
What changed: The museum maintained almost all of its former content, but added information about Carter’s life after the presidency, then gave the space a new look and feel.
What hasn’t changed: The museum kept its popular Oval Office replica, which remained just as it was before, with a few new details to make it even more accurate.
What’s not to miss: Old timelines and historic artifacts are displayed in new ways, but new videos, a “24”-style exhibit about a day in the life of a president and a state-of-the-art interactive mapping table are meant to engage visitors like the old museum couldn’t.
If You Go
Jimmy Carter Library and Museum
9 a.m.-4:45 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, noon-4:45 p.m. Sundays. $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, military and students with ID, free for people ages 16 and younger. 441 Freedom Parkway, Atlanta. 404-865-7100, www.jimmycarterlibrary.gov.
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