Alternative Models for Presidential Libraries

October 5, 2009

The National Archives and Records Administration has released a report on alternatives to the current system for housing presidential papers at libraries throughout the country The report was requested by Congress, amid concerns about the growing cost of the system in which foundations set up by recent presidents donate the records and affiliated museums to the National Archives. One possibility raised in the report (which does not draw a conclusion on the best option) would be to keep the museums under the control of the foundations, not the government. Other possibilities include a central depository for the papers, with museums dispersed or a central museum devoted to the presidency. While the various museums are popular tourist destinations, the libraries themselves -- some of them located at universities -- are key resources for scholars. A summary of the report and a link to it may be found on the Web site of the National Coalition for History.

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