During his morning briefing, April 2, 2003, President George W. Bush reviews the progress of the war with members of the War Council. (P28531-23A)
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“Path to the Presidency” Exhibit Hits the Campaign Trail

“Path to the Presidency” Special Exhibit Hits the Campaign Trail

Fun, interactive special exhibit opens March 1 and places visitors in the shoes of a Presidential candidate.

The George W. Bush Presidential Center announces a new special exhibit opening March 1, which gives visitors a fun, interactive look into past presidential campaigns, the changing face of the American electorate, and a glimpse at life on the campaign trail.

Besides the sunglasses worn by Bill Clinton while playing sax on the Arsenio Hall Show, many other fun and interesting artifacts help tell the story of how presidential campaigns have changed the course of our nation.

Running through October 9, “Path to the Presidency” includes artifacts and elements representing many presidential campaigns in U.S. history. Among the rare items on display are a letter from George Washington declining calls for a third term and the sunglasses President Bill Clinton wore in his 1992 campaign appearance on The Arsenio Hall Show.

Washingtons Letter

George Washington's letter to Connecticut Governor Jonathan Trumbull, Jr. declining calls for a third term and repeating his promise to release power and pursue a quiet, retired life.

Courtesy The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

“In an election year, people are paying particular attention to politics and the presidential candidates, and our Museum offers an entertaining way for them to be involved,” said Alan Lowe, director of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. “As a presidential library, this is a great place to get an inside peek at presidential campaigns and our new, interactive exhibit brings historic campaigns to life with artifacts, photos, videos, and many interesting components.”

The exhibit is the Bush Center’s most interactive to date, inviting guests to step into the role of voter, as well as that of presidential candidate. Interactive features include a candidate handshake “grip-o-meter,” a teleprompter from which guests can deliver historic acceptance speeches, opportunities to weigh in on key issues from campaigns past, and a photo opportunity designed to create custom campaign posters.


  • Practice your candidate handshake on our “Grip-o-Meter.” Candidates have to master—and repeat thousands of times a day—the handshake, a deceptively simple interaction that speaks volumes. Learn a few of the tricks help candidates stay glad while glad-handing.
  • Pose for your own campaign poster. After seeing iconic posters from past presidential campaigns, choose a slogan and say “cheese” as you create your own.
  • Weigh in on key issues from campaigns past, then build your own platform and discover which parties have most closely aligned with your own views.
  • Watch iconic campaign TV ads and historic debate moments in our 1960s “living room” theater.
  • Deliver your acceptance speech. A candidate’s acceptance speech is a fresh opportunity to energize the party faithful and woo undecided voters. Test your skills by delivering a portion of a historic acceptance speech from the teleprompter.
  • Become a voter in history and follow that person's road to voting rights. Voting allows the diversity of the United States to speak with a unified voice. But as you’ll see, diverse voices have not always been represented in the political conversation.
  • Take a look at a letter written by George Washington about why he would not seek a third term, the sunglasses worn by Bill Clinton while playing sax on the Arsenio Hall Show, famous campaign medals and buttons dating back to the 1800s, and many other artifacts that help tell the story of how presidential campaigns have changed the course of our nation.
  • BONUS:  Sit in the seat of power. Take a seat behind the Resolute Desk in a full-size replica of the White House Oval Office.
The exhibit is generously sponsored by Al and Connie Herbert and made possible by contributions from The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History; the DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University; the Harlan Crow Library; the Hervey A. Priddy private collection; Dr. Allen Frey; The Wright Family Collection, Museum of Democracy; William J. Clinton Presidential Library; Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum; and the LBJ Presidential Library.

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