The story of these major contributions is told at the
The exhibits begin in a low-key fashion. First we are given the family history with the emphasis on the six brothers being raised in an atmosphere of love coupled with religious training and discipline. That there must have been something exceptional happening in the home is shown by later pictures of five highly successful Eisenhower brothers.
In Eisenhower’s early life, he was an average student mostly interested in sports. At
He took the opportunity to work under and learn from the best officers available: Fox Conner in the tank corps and Douglas MacArthur in a wide range of situations. Chief of Staff George Marshall was impressed with his work. Although Ike was a major for 16 years, with World War II his promotions came fast, and he was jumped in rank over many officers senior to him.
When we visited the museum, a special exhibit of Eisenhower’s paintings was featured. He started painting late in his life, mainly as a form of relaxation, and destroyed or gave away most of his work to friends. He and Winston Churchill, who also painted for relaxation, encouraged each other, and Ike arranged for Churchill’s first large exhibition of paintings.
In another area, a television documentary focused on the life of Ike’s wife, Mamie, including an interview with Barbara Walters. Mamie’s dresses and pictures portraying her lifestyle were on display.
A history of Ike’s contributions to our success in World War II followed, with copious photos, uniforms, videos, pictures and dioramas of the action he saw during the war. Some pieces of war equipment are on display to enhance the atmosphere, including the car he used during the war.
Up to this point the whole atmosphere had been rather sedate, almost reverent. Then, sound and moving pictures suddenly assailed us as we entered the area that covers his years as president.
From overhead came recordings of Eisenhower on the campaign trail, and then a brief history of his life after the war as president of
Cold War problems are represented by displays covering the U2 spy plane incident, problems with Fidel Castro and
The negative events during his tenure are covered. This includes his role in establishing the shah in control in
At the reproduction of his office, recordings of events that happened there are played. He had a heart attack in 1955 but ran for a second term anyway. He had a stroke in 1957, partly caused by the fact he smoked, had a diet with too much fat and was overworked. Some recordings after he left the presidency feature his talks with John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson about problems they were having.
One of Ike’s definitions seen hanging a wall tells much about how he worked: "Leadership: The art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it."
I am fond of presidential museums and believe they should be a must see for high school students to immerse them in our history, its important people and the decisions they made that affect our lives. Our own Truman Library and Museum in