COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The George H.W. Bush Presidential Library & Museum is finally allowing visitors to the property at a limited capacity.
The exhibits of the haven’t been seen or touched in almost a year-and-a-half. Monday morning, the museum finally reopened at 25% capacity. Shut down in March of 2020 due to the pandemic, the museum has long lain dormant, only briefly reopening for one month this summer.
“Our son goes to Texas A&M University, and ever since he started to go there, I wanted to come and see the library," said Ute Bates.
Ute and Greg Bates of Kingwood were excited to visit the museum for the first time ever, especially as they’ve been unable to make many vacation stops during the pandemic. For Ute, a native of Germany this time at the Bush museum was extra special.
“I was there when Germany reunited with the eastern part, and the Berlin Wall came down," she said. "And I knew that George Bush had a lot to do with it. So, it was on my bucket list for quite a while.”
Seeing people come in from as far as California on Monday caused museum director Warren Finch to feel a joy he hasn’t experienced much since the onset of the pandemic.
“Last time we talked, which was when we reopened, I think I told you I was the happiest man in the Brazos Valley," commented Finch. "And that lasted for about six weeks. But I think now we’re at a point where... I think we’ve closed for the last time. So I’m encouraged.”
Finch said he is thankful that with this most recent reopening, the staff has been able to hold out while working remotely, and funds never dropped so low that anyone’s job security was affected.
“We use a lot of work-study students here, and a lot of foundation employees," he said. "And we were able to keep them all busy. They would have been the most vulnerable of our employees.”
The museum is under the direction of the federal government’s National Archives and Records Administration, which shut down the building when it was determined that Brazos County COVID-19 case numbers were too high.
Finch believes it’s been a combination of lessening local COVID cases, and a relaxing of standards by the national archives which has allowed this reopening to take place.
To visit the museum, tickets must be purchased online at the following link for scheduled visits here.
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