EXHIBIT ON WARTIME PRESIDENTS OPENING
“The Toughest Decisions: The War Presidents” will open April 20 at Polk Presidential Hall and will run through September 3. This original exhibition presents an overview of twelve past U.S. Presidents who served as Commander-in-Chief during wars. “The Toughest Decisions” features over seventy original artifacts and documents that belonged to or relate to Presidents Madison, Polk, Lincoln, McKinley, Wilson,
F. Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, L. Johnson, Nixon, G. Bush, and G. W. Bush.
“When the question is asked ‘How many lives are you willing to sacrifice’ — it tears at my heart.” George Bush made that poignant remark in a letter to his five children written on the last day of 1990. Presidential struggles with life-and-death decisions are also evident in other documents such as the “fork in the road” memo to Lyndon Johnson and a remarkable audiotape of Richard Nixon’s impromptu visit to the Lincoln Memorial during the Vietnam War. Displayed artifacts that offer glimpses of the Presidents’ desks and bookshelves include Abraham Lincoln’s pouncet box, Franklin Roosevelt’s telephone, Harry Truman’s world clock, and books on the Korean War from Dwight Eisenhower’s personal library. To recognize the soldiers who fought in the wars, the exhibition also features uniforms, flags, weaponry, and personal keepsakes.
Polk Presidential Hall is located on the grounds of the James K. Polk Home at 301 W. Seventh Street in downtown Columbia. Both the Hall and the Home are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday- Saturday, and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets for “The Toughest Decisions” can be purchased at the Polk Home’s front desk for $5 per adult and $3 per child. Combination tickets for both Presidential Hall and the Polk Home are also available. For additional information, call (931) 388-2354 or visit the website http://www.jameskpolk.com.
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