Perspectives on the LBJ Library From the Directors

Three of the LBJ Library's directors offer their unique views on the institution

Mark A. Lawrence (Photo by Jay Godwin/Courtesy of LBJ Library & Museum)

Mark A. Lawrence (2019-present):

"I think that LBJ himself, Mrs. Johnson, and others who had a strong hand in shaping this place really wanted the LBJ Library to be different from the existing presidential libraries. At the time, there were only three: FDR, Truman, and Eisenhower. And nothing against those institutions, but they were smaller in scale and they were kind of focused on the history of the president. In terms of the scale of this building, you can see that something's different here."

Betty Sue Flowers (Photo by Charles Bogel/Courtesy of LBJ Library & Museum)

Betty Sue Flowers (2002-09):

"I loved the idea of sharing with the public the raw materials of history through the archives and the many interpretations of that history through programming and museum exhibits. President Johnson did so much that our materials were incredibly rich and important. And, of course, the LBJ Library was known as the best in the system, with the best staff and the most supportive first family."

Mark K. Updegrove (Photo by Jay Godwin/Courtesy of LBJ Library & Museum)

Mark K. Updegrove (2009-17):

"We needed to get LBJ firmly in the 21st century and to compel younger people who might not give LBJ any kind of look to say, 'Not only do I understand but I can relate to this presidency because the same issues he addressed we are addressing today: voting rights, racial equity, environmental preservation, health care, immigration.' All these things that LBJ was grappling with so consequentially in the 1960s are issues that we're facing today."

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More by Robert Faires
Last Bow of an Accidental Critic
Last Bow of an Accidental Critic
Lessons and surprises from a career that shouldn’t have been

Sept. 24, 2021

"Daniel Johnston: I Live My Broken Dreams" Tells the Story of an Artist
The first-ever museum exhibition of Daniel Johnston's work digs deep into the man, the myths

Sept. 17, 2021


LBJ Library & Museum, LBJ Presidential Library, Mark A. Lawrence, Mark Updegrove, Betty Sue Flowers, Lyndon Johnson, LBJ, Lady Bird Johnson

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle