Atlanta architects Jova/Daniels/Busby and the Hawaiian firm Lawton/Umemura/Yamamoto were selected to design the new building. The presidential library itself was donated to the federal government. Private space on the campus includes President Carter's office, foundation offices, and the Carter Center of Emory University.
"We must adjust to changing times and still hold to unchanging principles." - President Carter
The result is 70,000 square feet of library and roughly 60,000 square feet of Emory University space. But the grounds themselves are a sight to behold with 30 acres of gardens, lakes and waterfalls. The rolling gardens are open to the public and wind around the building to a pond, geese and walking trails.
Enter the building and purchase your tickets ($8 adults; $6 seniors, military and students with IDs, free for children 16 and under) at the gift shop and make your way through the recently updated, interactive exhibits.
Stop and watch a short film about Jimmy Carter, or move on through to read more about his presidency, family and humanitarian work since leaving office.
One of the more popular stops on the self-guided tour, an exact replica of the Oval Office during Carter's presidency comes complete with a recording of the President speaking about his experiences.
"The passage of the civil rights acts during the 1960s was the greatest thing to happen to the South in my lifetime. It lifted a burden from the whites as well as the blacks." - President Carter
Journey through "A day in the life of the president", and go from the President's 5:30am wake up call through a day when Carter was at the peak of his candidacy.
History buffs should take time to watch videos and pour over photographs of the Camp David Accords. President Carter invited Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to come to a framework of peace over 13-days of secret negotiations.
Jimmy Carter Museum Tour Info:
9:00 am - 4:45 pm, Monday - Saturday; 12:00 pm - 4:45 pm, Sunday
Rosalyn Carter's presence in the museum is not merely as a "First Lady" but a strong, intelligent and feminist leader in her own right. Magazine articles and videos pepper the exhibits with her influence then and now.
Rosalyn was very much her husband's partner while in office and even went to cabinet briefings. She also headed up controversial projects, like insurance and health initiatives for the mentally ill.
Make your way to the "Holy Crown of Hungary" and its reproduction on display. At the end of World War II, the Hungarian Crowd guard gave the crown to US Army officers to protect it from being taken by an approaching Soviet Army.
Cold War tensions kept the crown from being returned and American authorities designated it under, "property of special status held in trust and safekeeping" and deposited it in the U.S. Gold Depository at Fort Knox, Kentucky.
During office, President Carter decided to return the Crown and led to improved relations with Hungary. In 1998, a special reproduction crown was presented to Carter by His Excellency Árpád Göncz, the President of the Republic of Hungary.
The museum houses special "Head of State gifts" from various leaders throughout the world, including a carpet from the Shah of Iran. A dazzling gold purse given to Rosalyn is also on display.
"Watch me closely during the campaign because I won't be any better a president than I am a candidate." - President Carter
A special post-presidency section complete with impressive array of state of the art, interactive videos and touch-tables span across the last section of the tour. The tools allow visitors to scroll through the world and learn more about Jimmy Carter and wife Rosalyn's reach.
Their post-Presidency retirement has been busy. They steadfastly work to improve foreign relations, eradicate disease and monitor elections in other countries requesting assistance.
Take a stroll along the gardens before you leave or stop in the cafeteria for a bite to eat overlooking a Japanese garden and pond.
If you're staying in nearby Virginia Highland, Inman Park, Little Five Points or even Midtown, Atlanta; ask your hotel or bed and breakfast how to take the Freedom Path to the museum. The multipurpose trail is popular with walkers, bikers, roller bladers and helps connect Atlanta's in-town neighborhoods together.
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