Bush Home Celebrates 5th Anniversary
Midland Reporter Telegram
April 9, 2011
More than 30,000 people have come through the doors of the home on West Ohio Avenue since it opened nearly five years ago on April 11, 2006. Those people have come from all 50 states and 64 foreign countries. Some are in town to visit relatives, others are passing through on road trips and still others are in Midland specifically for a tour of the presidential site, Executive Director Paul St. Hilaire said. The home will celebrate its anniversary with a day of free tours, ice cream and an antique car show from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday.
"It's a way for us to thank the community for support," he said. "Every guest has a unique reason for being here, and it's fun finding out why they're here. We sometimes learn as much from them as they learn from us."
The Bush family moved to Midland in 1950 and into the Ohio Avenue house in November 1951. They lived there until 1959 when George H.W. Bush took over Zapata Off-shore and relocated his family to Houston. Before it was opened to the public, the roughly 1,400-square-foot home was restored to the 1950s time period.
St. Hilaire said while it's unique as a presidential site because it's strictly a home instead of a museum or library, it's also unique because it housed two presidents, a governor and a first lady.
"We feel we've got a great deal of exposure," St. Hilaire said.
Volunteer Patti Alexander said most people she takes through the home are surprised at its size.
"They've talked about how it's so simple and small and not grand or fancy at all," she said. "It's amazing."
Several of the about 40 volunteer docents and gift shop attendants are retired teachers who enjoy getting to take Midland's fifth-graders through the home when they come by on their field trips, Alexander said.
"It's fun for kids to see things from the 1950s," she said.
St. Hilaire agreed and said adults like the items too because they remind them of their own childhood home.
"There's something in there that most everybody's going to recognize from their childhood or their grandmother's house ... from that time in life where things appeared to be simpler," St. Hilaire said.
For kids, he said he loves using the home to show the "normal" lifestyle the Bush family had.
"It gives them hope for the future that really anybody can become president," St. Hilaire said.
In the coming years, St. Hilaire said they're looking to add a permanent exhibit gallery nearby that they hope will attract more attention. If a site were acquired, he said they would remove the exhibits presently in the home and then furnish those areas to the state they were in when the Bushes lived in the house.
'We just want to try to be as authentic as possible," he said.
On Sunday, St. Hilaire said they hope to see some new faces at the home as well as some of those who've been so supportive of the project since its inception.
"It's just a little celebration," he said. "Enjoy the nice weather, enjoy the free tours."
Read more: George W. Bush Home celebrates its fifth anniversary - Mywesttexas.com: Top Stories http://www.mywesttexas.com/top_stories/article_0e43a332-ac81-5ff9-9874-0fcd4f85d60b.html#ixzz1J1nEpv00
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Tues–Sat 10 AM – 5 PM, Sun 2–5 PM
Tours given until 4:30 PM
Closed Mondays, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day
1412 West Ohio Avenue
Midland, Texas 79701
Phone: (432) 685-1112