Hello, Mr. President

From Air Force One to Socks the cat, relive the administrations of 14 presidents in their libraries and museums

It was President Franklin D. Roosevelt who believed that the artifacts, memorabilia, papers, and other collections from his presidency were a part of the fabric of the United States and should be preserved for the people of this country and for future generations.
Photography by Mike Fizer
Photography by Mike Fizer

In December 1938, he began building his presidential library on his estate in Hyde Park, New York.

Following Roosevelt’s example, 14 other presidents have established presidential libraries and Congress legislated this process under the Presidential Libraries Act in 1955 (amended in 1986). This system of privately erected and federally maintained facilities was established to preserve and make accessible the records of U.S. presidents. Presidents build the libraries themselves and choose the location of the facility. Some are easily accessible by general aviation airports nearby.

Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum
West Branch, Iowa
Fly in to Iowa City Municipal Airport (IOW)

The thirty-first president of the United States was called the “Great Humanitarian” because of his efforts to feed the world following the devastation of World War I. In his museum you’ll find a 16-foot red granite map of the globe embossed with 57 sheaves of wheat to symbolize the countries where he helped feed people.

BriefingFranklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum
Hyde Park, New York
Fly in to Sky Acres Airport (44N) or Hudson Valley Regional Airport (POU)

Sit down for a fireside chat; reminisce about the great work of FDR’s wife, Eleanor; revisit the trials, fears, victories, and defeats of World War II; and check out his 1936 Ford Phaeton—specially equipped with hand controls—in this museum for the longest serving president in U.S. history.

Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum
Independence, Missouri
Fly in to Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport (MKC), East Kansas City Airport (3GV), or Lee’s Summit Municipal Airport (LXT)

Learn about “an ordinary man and his extraordinary journey.” He was the only U.S. president to serve in World War I, and then led the country out of World War II after the death of FDR.

Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum, and Boyhood Home
Abilene, Kansas
Fly in to Abilene Municipal Airport (K78)

The only five-star general to serve as president, Eisenhower always said he was proud to be from Abilene. You’ll see his boyhood home, the school he attended, and “meet” Mamie.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
Boston, Massachusetts
Fly in to Norwood Memorial Airport (OWD)

The JFK museum chronicles the 1,000 days of his presidency with archives from his final days, his war years, and his family.

 BriefingLyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum
Austin, Texas
Fly in to Austin Executive Airport (EDC)

Lots of artifacts and collections honoring his state as well as exhibitions on his wife, Lady Bird, his numerous pets, and November 22, 1963.

Richard Nixon Presidential Libraryand Museum
Yorba Linda, California
Fly in to Fullerton Municipal Airport (FUL) or Corona Municipal Airport (AJO)

From Nixon’s trip to China to the Vietnam War, Watergate, and resignation, it’s all here.

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Fly in to Ann Arbor Municipal Airport (ARB)

Two sites contain Ford’s archival holdings and museum collections—one in Ann Arbor and the other in Grand Rapids, Michigan (Riverview Airport—08C).

Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum
Atlanta, Georgia
Fly in to Fulton County Executive/Charlie Brown Field (FTY)

From the peanut farm to the Camp David Accords, the Carter museum captures the spirit of the thirty-ninth president of the United States. Of particular interest is the collection of “Head of State Gifts” instituted and collected by the Carters.

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum
Simi Valley, California
Fly in to Van Nuys Airport (VNY) or Camarillo Airport (CMA)

The drive up Presidential Drive is worth it alone—beautiful vistas and elegant landscaping on the circuitous driveway. Once here, see the Berlin Wall, the first lady’s dresses, and of course the Air Force One Pavilion where the retired Boeing 707 “Flying White House” puts its nose against the glass as if waiting to fly.

George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum
College Station, Texas
Fly in to Easterwood Field (CLL)

The museum features a collection of gifts given to the Bushes, from Bush’s vice presidency through his presidency, including gifts from countries all over the world.

William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum
Little Rock, Arkansas
Fly in to North Little Rock Municipal Airport (ORK)

There are replicas of the Oval Office and the Cabinet Room as well as homages to Socks the cat and the president playing the saxophone.

George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum
Dallas, Texas
Fly in to Addison Airport (ADS)

As would be expected, this museum contains reams of information, artifacts, photos, and video footage of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the presidential response.

Barack Obama Presidential Center Museum
Chicago, Illinois

The Barack Obama Presidential Library is to be the first fully digital presidential library. The Obama records will be released January 20, 2022. The Obama Presidential Center Museum is being built in Chicago.

Donald J. Trump Presidential Library and Museum

Donald J. Trump’s presidential records are currently housed at National Archives facilities and will become available to public access requests January 20, 2026.

As of December 1, 2021, most presidential libraries have reopened. Check the websites for updated information on closings and restrictions.

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Julie Walker

Julie Summers Walker

AOPA Senior Features Editor
AOPA Senior Features Editor Julie Summers Walker joined AOPA in 1998. She is a student pilot still working toward her solo.

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