(defeo.biz) — While the passing of the baton from one president to the next signals a historic, not to mention a peaceful, shift of power, it signals something else: A new presidential library is on the horizon.
There are currently 13 presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). When it opens in Chicago’s Jackson Park in 2021, the Barack Obama Presidential Library will be the 14th.
However, those who do not want to wait can head to ObamaLibrary.gov and immediately access some archived content, including the Obama Administration’s WhiteHouse.gov websites and social media posts.
The libraries of presidents since Herbert Hoover are governed by NARA, though there are presidential libraries — such as the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Ill. — that operate outside the jurisdiction of NARA. The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, which opened in 2013 on the campus of Southern Methodist University (SMU), is the most recent addition to the system.
The current NARA presidential library system traces its origins to 1939, when then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt donated his personal and presidential papers to the federal government. Previously, presidents distributed their papers after their tenure in office.
Congress in 1955 passed the Presidential Libraries Act, and over the years, presidents have opened their libraries amid great fanfare. The libraries serve as a way for presidents to preserve their legacy and offer their perspective on their tenure in the White House.