LBJ Presidential Library at UT Austin is a Must See for Texas Empty Nesters!

boomers, LBJ, adventures, Texas Empty Nesters

boomers, Texas, LBJ, empty nesters

Ending the National Origins Formula, kind of ironic now.

Ever been to a Presidential Library?  Well, for a history buff like me you’d think the answer would be yes….but no, not until I visited the LBJ Presidential Library at the University of Texas Austin campus!  The Library is celebrating the Sixties (which, you know, makes sense for LBJ), and wow!  Talk about Boomer heaven!  I was mesmerized!

As I have blogged previously, I am a 70s boomer, but seeing all of the sixties paraphernalia was a trip back in time. Magazine covers and album covers and TV show openings! Maybe I remember more than I thought I did….or maybe I’ve just seen some of these things on TV so much I think I remember them.  However, I did see some things that absolutely came from my memory banks.

boomers, LBJ, adventures, Texas Empty Nesters

Such as:

–a commercial with a rabbit who tries to eat Trix!  Ah, Silly Rabbit, Trix are for Kids!

–Bewitched’s opening!

–Lawrence Welk and his orchestra, with bubbles, doing the Pennsylvania Polka.

–Nixon on Laugh In, saying “Sock it to ME?”

–Barbie and Ken original dolls! I remember them because my older friend Holly had them, and I thought they were so cool!

boomers, LBJ, adventures, Texas Empty Nesters

Float like a butterfly…

–Muhammad Ali…floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee!

–Did you know Hugh Hefner started in the 60s with those stupid pajamas???

boomers, LBJ, adventures, Texas Empty Nesters

Hugh’s jammies

There were more serious moments in the library.  The assassination of JFK, MLK, and RFK.  The 1968 Democratic Convention debacle in Chicago.  The Chicago 7 trial.  Civil rights. I listened to the phone call between J Edgar Hoover and LBJ, when Hoover called to advise the President they had found the car of the missing civil rights workers, burned.  It gave me chills.

boomers, LBJ, adventures, Texas Empty Nesters


boomers, LBJ, adventures, Texas Empty Nesters

Signing the Civil Rights Bill

We tend to think of LBJ as synonymous with the war in Vietnam, but throughout the Library are the reminders of Johnson’s Great Society, and the state of our union when he became President.  It seems unbelievable now, but 25% of adult Americans did NOT have a high school diploma; 20% of Americans lived in poverty; and 33% of the elderly population lived in poverty. LBJ came into office with plans for his Great Society.  The two main aims were the elimination of poverty (War on Poverty) and racial equality.  Johnson passed four Civil Rights bills, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbade job discrimination and segregation of public accommodations.  The Voting Rights Act of 1965 assured minority registration and voting. It suspended use of literacy or other voter-qualification tests that had sometimes served to keep African-Americans off voting lists and provided for federal court lawsuits to stop discriminatory poll taxes. The Immigration and Nationality Services Act of 1965 abolished the national-origin quotas in immigration law. The Civil Rights Act of 1968 banned housing discrimination and extended constitutional protections to Native Americans on reservations.  Johnson passed Medicare, Medicaid and Welfare.  The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 gave poor children funds for materials for education, and Head Start.  Clean Air, labeling cigarettes as dangerous….Johnson’s legislative victories were beyond anything we could see today from our do-nothing Congress.  For more information on the Great Society, continue reading on Wikipedia  

boomers, LBJ, adventures, Texas Empty Nesters

The “Johnson Treatment”

boomers, LBJ, adventures, Texas Empty Nesters

It is said that Johnson could twist the arm of any lawmaker.  He wasn’t subtle.  They called it “the Johnson treatment”.  Did you know LBJ was 6’4″?  He towered over people, and was extremely intimidating.  He was a wheelin’ and dealin’ Texan, and didn’t take no for an answer.

boomers, LBJ, adventures, Texas Empty Nesters boomers, LBJ, adventures, Texas Empty NestersWhat brought Johnson’s presidency to an ignoble end was the escalation and disaster of the war in Vietnam.  The escalation of the war intensified the war protests, and Johnson announced that he would not seek, nor accept, the nomination of the Democratic Party for President in the election of 1968.  Bobby Kennedy was running against him, and if he had not been killed in June 1968, Kennedy would have been the nominee, and most likely, President.  Nixon, of course, won the 1968 election.

Seeing the library, hearing conversations that LBJ had with Jackie Kennedy, MLK, and J Edgar Hoover was a remarkable experience.  I would love to go back, and spend the entire day, looking carefully at everything, and listening to every conversation available to visitors.  Floors 5-9 are archives, filled with the documents of the times.  Fascinating.  I highly recommend a visit.  The 60s were iconic times, turbulent times, tragic times, violent times, and a time of love and peace.  I wish I could remember more of it, but seeing it in the library was astonishing.  I’m very happy I made the trip.

boomers, LBJ, adventures, Texas Empty Nesters

In Lady Bird’s Texas Wildflowers





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About the Author ()

I am an avid scuba diver, underwater photographer, amateur historian; interested in all people and cultures. For me, the unexpected is usually the norm! My motto? I am an Empty Nester who likes to Renew, Revamp, and Reinvent Life! Contact me at

Comments (11)

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  1. I am also a history buff (college history major) and I’m sorry to say that I still have never been to a presidential library. LBJ’s sounds fascinating. He accomplished so much in his 5 years as president — and you’re right, compared to today’s stalled government, it is a staggering amount. If you enjoyed this museum, you would probably also be entrhralled by the Newseum in Washington, DC. Have you been to that one?
    Suzanne Fluhr recently posted…Singapore Selfie (A Visit to Singapore)My Profile

  2. Sounds like a terrific placebyo visit for a couple days. I would love it. Is it open to the general public?
    Rena McDaniel-The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver recently posted…MY HERO SAVED ME!!!My Profile

  3. Susie Krominga says:

    Tam, have you visited LBJ’s ranch outside of Johnson City? It’s one of my favorite places in Texas. You get a real sense of who he was, his family and the importance of the land he came from. He was born on the ranch, grew up there, it was theTexas whitehouse when he wasn’t in Washington and it was where he and Ladybird were buried (along with all his ancestors). It is the only presidential homeplace that is also a working ranch. When he and Ladybird decided to donate the ranch to the National Park Service they required it always remain a working ranch. They raise longhorn cattle and other animals there. The main home sits right by the Perdenales River. It is quite beautiful, many gorgeous live oak trees. Very peaceful. Highly recommend you visit it. I have been 3 times and will go back again.

  4. noel says:

    Wow fascinating, what an amazing timeframe and at 6,4, that is quite intimidating. I can’t imagine all the amazing things he would have accomplished if he ran a 2nd term.
    noel recently posted…Travel photo : Blue Mosque in IstanbulMy Profile

    • Tam Warner says:

      The war defeated him. Once you get in so deep, it is hard to get out. His social programs were wonderful, and continue today. He could really get things done, though. He twisted arms and threatened all kinds of dire outcomes if they didn’t go his way. They pretty much did what he told them to (Congress, I mean!).
      Tam Warner recently posted…LBJ Presidential Library–BOOMers!My Profile

  5. Having lived in Austin for a few decades, I’ve been to the LBJ Library a few times, but I have not seen the exhibit with Nixon on Laugh In. I can’t even imagine it. Yes, I agree with the commenter above that you should visit the LBJ Ranch, especially in the spring when the bluebonnets are in bloom.
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