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National Archives

Press Release

Fathers and Sons: Two Families, Four Presidents Press Release

For Release: March 12, 2002
College Station, TX -

On March 12, 2002, the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum will unveil its most ambitious exhibit to date. Fathers and Sons explores the relationship between the only two sets of fathers and sons to serve as U.S. Presidents. Fathers and Sons traces the extraordinary careers and lives of four unique individuals who have held the highest elected office in our land. These men are connected by the closest of family ties: John Adams and John Quincy Adams…George Bush and George W. Bush. They are Fathers and Sons. This exhibit is made possible through the support of Duke Energy.

The Museum staff has been working for months, researching historical data, working with historians, and securing the use of artifacts and documents from all across the country. This exhibit weaves a story about each man and how his personality and influence has shaped the presidency. Artifacts in the exhibit will include: The Treaty of Paris, the disputed electoral count from 1825, selected pages of the Monroe Doctrine, anti-slavery petitions sent to John Adams, the Treaty of Ghent ending the war with Great Britain, and the Bible belonging to Sam Houston used to swear in George W. Bush as Governor. Also included are many personal effects such as: cufflinks given to George Bush by his father, Prescott Bush, as he left for WWII, original letters from George Bush's 1999 best seller All the Best, the bullhorn used by George W. Bush while visiting the rescue workers at Ground Zero in New York City, a jacket worn by George W. Bush at the 2001 World Series, cufflinks worn by John Adams and correspondence between John Adams and his personal friend Thomas Jefferson.

Fathers and Sons features several prominent works of art including portraits of John and Abigail Adams by Gilbert Stuart on loan from the National Gallery of Art, "The Peacemakers" on loan from the White House and the J. S. Copley portrait of John Quincy Adams. Also included are historic portraits of George and George W. Bush by renowned artist Ron Sherr. Commissioned by the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation, these works will follow in the tradition of other great artists such as George P.A. Healy and Rembrant Peale whose works immortalized several different presidents. Mr. Sherr has not only painted an individual portrait of each of the Bushes; he will also be painting a first ever "dual canvas" portrait of George and George W. Bush. The dual canvas will be unveiled during the museum's fifth anniversary celebration in November.

Two fathers and their two first-born sons separated by two centuries have taken on the enormous responsibility of the American Presidency. They have led our great country through astonishing and sometimes tumultuous periods in history. Fathers and Sons explores their triumphs and hardships as their administrations and the presidency adapt to a changing world.

Former President George Bush stated: "Barbara and I are delighted with the exhibit. We have so many school children visiting our Museum and this is a great way by which they can learn about the presidency and certain eras of our country's history. It is also a wonderful opportunity to view some of our early history's artifacts and treasured documents. And, I must say, Barbara and I take great pride in our son, the President, who is so valiantly serving his country in these difficult times. The exhibit will give the public an opportunity to see the many strengths and characteristics of his strong leadership."

Harvey Padewer, President of Energy Services, Duke Energy, said: "John Adams helped bring independence to our nation, and his son John Quincy Adams worked to free mankind from the ugliness of slavery. George Bush drew a line in the sand, and George W. Bush is standing up to terrorism. There is a private truth here behind the public story of these men. John and Abigail, George and Barbara, give us all examples of what sound, loving families with strong values can produce for America. Duke Energy is proud to bring this exhibit to the American public."

Texas A&M President Ray Bowen expressed his pleasure of the exhibit: "This exhibit reinforces the dedication to country and public service of two uniquely American families. Texas A&M is very proud to have the George Bush Presidential Library on its campus and the historic opportunity to highlight this exhibit featuring the Bush Presidencies and the special father-son relationship. The special relationship that Texas A&M enjoys with the George Bush Presidential Library is becoming a new Aggie tradition. President George Bush's dedication to country and public service, exemplified so strongly now by President George W. Bush, is something that all Aggies identify with and continue to be inspired by. This is an exhibit that will inform, inspire and restore faith in our history and our principles as a people."

The exhibit runs through July 31, 2002. Museum hours are Monday - Saturday, 9:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and Sundays from 12:00 until 5:00 p.m. Museum admission is $5.00 for adults, $4.00 for students, $3.50 for senior citizens 62+ and groups of 20 or more with reservations. Children under 16 as well as Texas A&M and Blinn College students are free.

Built with private donations from thousands of people throughout the world, the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum officially opened on November 7, 1997, at a ceremony attended by President and Mrs. Bill Clinton, former Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, former First Ladies Lady Bird Johnson, Betty Ford, Rosalynn Carter, Nancy Reagan, members of the Bush family, and distinguished guests. Since its opening, the Bush Library has hosted more than 785,000 visitors, making it one of the most popular tourist attractions of the region.

The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum sits on 90 acres located on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. The Bush Library is the tenth presidential library administered by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and supported in part by the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation, a non-profit organization.

The textural and audiovisual collections of the Library make it the ideal center of study for Bush Administration scholars. Its archives include more than 38,000,000 pages of personal, Vice Presidential, and Presidential papers of George Bush; 2,000,000 photographs, 5,000 video tapes, 7,000 volumes of printed material and 80,000 museum artifacts.

The financial support of the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum is a model of public/private partnership. The Library is supported by the American people through Federal appropriations, fees generated by admission to the Museum, and through the generosity of thousands of individuals and corporations who donate money and in-kind services to the Bush Library Foundation to support the Library's mission.

George Bush Presidential Library and Museum
1000 George Bush Drive West, College Station, Texas 77845
Telephone: (979) 691-4000 | Facsimile: (979) 691-4050 | TTY: (979) 691-4091