Carter Library Museum Grand Reopening

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The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum reopened Thursday after a 5-month, $10 million renovation. The event coincided with the president’s 85th birthday.

fdalk;“The Medicine Men” entertained the crowd with mostly country tunes, including “That’s All It Took,” “Georgia On My Mind,” “Stand By Your Man,” and “Pancho and Lefty.”

The new museum highlights key issues from the Carter presidency (energy, environment, Iran, China, Middle East), a display of state gifts, the Nobel Peace Prize, and other awards, expanded features on the Israel-Egypt summit at Camp David, and a new classroom.

The crowd enjoyed beautiful weather.The crowd enjoyed beautiful weather.

Sharon Fawcett, director of Presidential Libraries, called the Carter Library “an endowment that will continue to enrich the community.”

The Carters with Walter Mondale.The Carters with Walter Mondale.

“The presidential collections are the most valuable of all our nation’s assets,” she said. “It’s a gift that needs to keep on giving.”

Gov. Perdue (with trademark cowboy boots) and Mayor Franklin.Gov. Perdue (with trademark cowboy boots) and Mayor Franklin.

Several hundred attendees, many of whom contributed to the $10 million in private donations, were on hand for the event along with former Vice President Walter Mondale, Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, and Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin.

Carter's grandchildren and greatgrandchildren lead the audience in a rendition of "Happy Birthday."Carter’s grandchildren and greatgrandchildren lead the audience in a rendition of “Happy Birthday.”

Perdue called the library “a living and breathing organism.”

LoweryThe Rev. Joseph Lowery, civil rights icon and recent recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, delivered the benediction.

“The Carter Center has in its fabric and in its spirit Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter,” he said.

CarterThe Carter family cuts the ceremonial ribbon.

The governor and former president engaged in some good-spirited teasing.

VisitorsVisitors observe part of an expanded exhibit on Carter’s childhood in Plains, Ga.

“Forget about the past because it’s water under the bridge…and forget about the present because I didn’t get you one,” Perdue joked.

submarineThis exhibit, which details Carter’s Naval service, lets visitors feel like they are in a submarine.

Carter replied later that a Democratic governor would have given him a birthday present.

presidencyCarter began his unlikely bid for the presidency in 1974. This exhibit details the excitement of life on the campaign trail.

Mondale said the library is full of “wonderful history.”

visitorsVisitors pass by a new wall depicting the Carters walking down Pennsylvania Avenue on Inauguration Day in 1977.

“This new exhibit will really help the American people understand the deep achievements during his administration,” Mondale said. “We told the truth, we obeyed the law, and we kept the peace and I’m proud of that.”

Oval OfficeA replica of the Oval Office as it looked during Carter’s presidency. This is the only exhibit that did not undergo renovations.

Carter reflected on his childhood in South Georgia where the injustices of segregation had a “strong effect” on his life.

Atlanta City Councilmember Kwanza Hall (left) enjoyed touring the new museum.Atlanta City Councilmember Kwanza Hall (left) enjoyed touring the new museum.

“All of us are in the same boat together,” he said. “I hope when everyone goes through this new…library and museum that you will put yourself in the background of those who have a common heritage and how we can make a difference.”

ghgThis portion of the museum highlights cultural phenomena that shaped the late 1970s.

The Carter Library and Museum, originally completed in October 1986 for $26 million, is one of 13 presidential libraries and the only one in the southeast.

ghgVisitors can experience a day in the life of President Carter, which often began at 5:30 a.m. and ended 15 hours later.

The nearly 70,000 square foot complex contains 27 million pages of presidential papers, 500,000 photos, and hundreds of hours of film, audio, and videotape.

cultureThe Carters hosted plenty of musical acts at the White House, including Willie Nelson (lower left).

The museum is open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. and Sunday Noon to 4:45 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, military, and students. Admission for those 16 and under and parking is free.

ghgCarter brokered a lasting peace accord between Israel and Egypt at Camp David in 1978.

For more, visit www.jimmycarterlibrary.gov.

ghgVisitors use interactive, touch screen technology to see what work The Carter Center has done around the world.

(All photos by Jonathan Springston, Senior Staff Writer, Atlanta Progressive News)

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