The LBJ Presidential Library chronicles the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson from 1963 to 1969. Exhibits include multimedia presentations, photographs, and artifacts from the tumultuous social climate of those years, including the Vietnam War, civil rights movement, and LBJ’s Great Society programs.
President Johnson’s library is one of three presidential libraries in Texas. It contains more than 45 million pages of historic documents. The library spans three floors that are accessible to visitors, and the ground floor includes an introductory video. The second floor Legacy Gallery explores the transfer of power to LBJ the day Kennedy was shot and focuses on key decisions, including on civil rights and the Vietnam conflict.
Visitors see how the Vietnam War would have unfolded based on different decisions in a multimedia exhibit. On the top floor, observe a close-to-scale replica of the Oval Office during the Johnson years. Johnson recorded hundreds of hours of phone conversations with important political and cultural figures, including Martin Luther King Jr., and you can hear some of them here.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The LBJ Presidential Library is a must-do for history buffs and those who want to learn more about 1960s politics and cultural landscape.
- The library is fully accessible, with wheelchair-accessible restrooms and elevators.
- Tours are self-guided.
- There is a gift shop on site.
How to Get There
The LBJ Library is on the University of Texas at Austin campus, off I-35, just past the 15th Street exit northbound, or past the 51st Street exit southbound. Follow signs to the library. Parking is free, but be sure not to park in a designated university lot. The closest Capital Metro stop is at Trinity and 23rd streets, less than a five-minute walk.
When to Get There
The LBJ Library is open daily from 9am to 5pm and closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. There are several free admission days throughout the year, including on some federal holidays and on Johnson’s birthday (Aug. 27). Crowds are generally minimal.
A Lasting Legacy
His presidency was not without criticism, but many key programs spearheaded by LBJ continue to impact America, including the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, and Head Start. To deepen your understanding of Johnson’s life, travel to the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park at the site of his ranch (also known as the Texas White House), located about 60 miles (97 kilometers) west of the library in Johnson City.