PRESIDENTIAL MUSEUM. The Presidential Museum, in Odessa, is the only museum devoted to all of the presidents, to a better understanding of the office, and to the responsibilities of the presidency. The museum dramatizes in a nonpartisan manner the background, accomplishments, trials, and human element of the office of the presidency. After the Kennedy assassination in 1963, a committee of community leaders resolved to establish a memorial to the presidency. In February 1965 the Presidential Room was opened in the Ector County Library building. In February 1969 the name was changed from Presidential Room to Presidential Museum. After the entire building became available, the museum opened its expanded quarters, in May 1984. The permanent collection includes the Goldie Dishong collection of thirty-nine dolls costumed in miniature replicas of the First Ladies' Inaugural Ball gowns, presidential campaign artifacts, and other items relating to history, science, and the arts. Temporary exhibits are displayed annually at the Museum; in 1994 the exhibits were Eisenhower the Soldier and 199 Days, an examination of the lives of James Garfield and Chester Arthur. The museum also houses the specialized John Ben Shepperd, Jr., Memorial Library of more than 3,800 volumes. In 1994 the museum employed a full-time director, a curator, and a secretary-librarian. Volunteers conducted tours for schoolchildren and community groups. In 1993 more than 5,000 visitors toured the museum.
Ann Ruff, Amazing Texas Monuments and Museums from the Enchanting to the Bizarre (Houston: Gulf, 1984). Texas Museum Directory (Austin: Texas Historical Foundation and Texas Historical Commission, 1978).