After undergoing a major reinterpretation, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum & Boyhood Home balances historical seriousness with self-celebration.
The Presidential Library is a peculiar institution uniting archives with advocacy and designed, from the start, to burnish a reputation. There are now 14 libraries in the system (including President Barack Obama’s planned institution), primarily built with private funds, and then operated and maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration, each shaping history according to the quirks of an individual in the Oval Office. These institutions might be modest and contemplative ( Harry S. Truman), self-important and self-involved ( William J. Clinton), or genially populist yet grandiose ( Ronald Reagan ). History is treated as a reflection of personality.