I'm a big fan of presidential libraries and museums so I'm excited that the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum is being dedicated on Thursday. It will open to the public on May 1st. This will make the 13th library and museum that falls under the purview of the Office of Presidential Libraries of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). I've been able to visit eight of these and I'm looking forward to visiting the rest. Although these libraries have been described by some as presidential temples or pyramids, I think they provide valuable looks at important segments of our history. The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum, dedicated in 1939, was the first of the NARA presidential libraries. The Herbert Hoover Library and Museum was created retroactively. Up until 1978 the archives and artifacts of a president were actually considered to be the personal property of the president. So the papers of early presidents were often dispersed widely and inconsistently. Fortunately the Library of Congress has managed to acquire extensive archival materials for the first 23 presidents. The presidential libraries and museums are well represented in my collection of librariana and I even have a philatelic exhibit about them. Many postal artifacts were created as a result of the 2005 presidential libraries postage stamp which added significantly to my collection. Click HERE to see a previous blog post about presidential libraries.