Past Matters Summer 2023; posted on 06/19/2023
The Bush Family Home State Historic Site in Midland became part of the Texas Historical Commission on May 23. This unique site and house museum tells the stories of two governors, two presidents, and a First Lady. It provides a glimpse into the life of the Bush family as they moved to West Texas after WWII and began a life of public service. Visitors to the site will hear stories of George W. Bush, or little George, growing up as a regular five-year-old boy who liked cultural icons of the time such as Elvis Presley and Roy Rogers, loved biking with his friends, and participated in civic clubs such as the Cub Scouts. Visitors will also hear of Robin, the Bush’s second born child and her struggle with leukemia, and how that struggle affected the family. Stories of other Bush family members, neighbors, and friends abound as visitors step back in time, moving through rooms outfitted with furniture, appliances, and other items from the 1950s.
The future for the site holds great promise. New programs, such as a youth advisory council, a Bush Bus tour, a junior docent program and more are already being created. The existing reading programs will be refreshed and expanded to include book clubs for adults and Spanish speakers. Thanks to a generous gift from THC Chairman John Nau III, the Friends of the Texas Historical Commission was able to acquire the two properties adjacent to the Bush house so that more space for educational programming, exhibits, and offices can be created. Plans for relocation and expansion of the museum store are underway, and enhanced collaboration with partner organizations is already being developed.
All of these exciting efforts are being led by new site manager Troy Gray. Troy comes to the Texas Historical Commission with over 15 years of experience in the museum field and 11 years of teaching experience. He has worked in museums across Texas, including the Mayborn Museum on the Baylor University campus, the Dr Pepper Museum, the Waco Mammoth National Monument, the Bell County Museum, and Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum. However, his love has always been American presidential history. This love began when, as a young boy, he visited his uncle in Washington D.C., where his uncle worked as a guard at the White House. After this visit, Troy came home a presidential nerd, as he describes himself. He memorized all the presidents and has always loved reading about their lives and histories. While studying at Baylor University, his dream was to one day work at a presidential museum or library, so working as the site manager of the Bush Family Home is very much a dream come true for Troy.
The Bush Family Home is visited by people from all over the world and from all walks of life. Staff members hear many anecdotes from visitors about their memories of the Bush family, which helps enliven the site in fascinating ways. The more stories that are shared, the more it becomes clear that the Bush Family Home holds a special place in the telling of the Bush family story.