A place to celebrate the president’s seat


The Presidential Museum and Leadership Library in Odessa continues to celebrate the lives of all 45 presidents. 

It all started after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. 

A committee of Odessa citizens created a display for the fallen president. 

After receiving a surplus of memorabilia, the display quickly turned into a collection for all 45 presidents. 

Clay Finley, the Director of the JBS Leadership Institute, says this is a gem in the Permian Basin. “We are far away from Washington D.C., far away from places like Mount Vernon.”

In the library, Gary Edmiston is spending the week organizing several boxes full of campaign buttons.

The Odessa resident has spent a total of 17 years working at the museum, several of those volunteering. 

“Give tours, get people started on the right foot,” said Edmiston.

Along with historic knick knacks, the museum is filled with documents signed by past presidents, note-worthy newspaper clippings, and the famous Bush home set outside the museum. 

Finley says being able to see many of these items humanizes each Commander in Chief. 

“They aren’t a different class. They aren’t gods or even nobility, like some other country might have,” said Finley. 

The museum is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Admission is free but donations are accepted. 

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