Hungary has a Trump Library Blueprint
There have been a lot of jokes about a Trump Presidential Library and what it would contain. This is not one of them.
According to the National Archives “Presidential Libraries and Museums promote understanding of the presidency and the American experience.” These libraries contain historical materials to educate visitors as well as support historical research. The first library was founded by Franklin D. Roosevelt when he donated his personal papers and a portion of his estate to fund construction. The system was further codified in 1955 when the Presidential Libraries Act specified how future libraries would be funded and maintained. Two decades later the Presidential Records Act of 1978 was passed to prevent the Nixon administration from destroying records (and those secretly recorded tapes) by making Presidential records the property of the United States Government.
There are 14 Presidential Libraries starting with Herbert Hoover and ending currently with Barak Obama. Will there be another in this series? Of course; the library is for the people of this nation to retain an important aspect of their history and learn from the past. It is imperative that the past four years be documented and not erased. The building of a library for the 45th administration will be very difficult to assemble as Trump has been hostile to the whole idea of records, often leaving staffers to tape together documents pulled from trash cans.
What form should this library take? The design of libraries and museums is a high architectural art that strives to reflect the gravity of the office while creating an inviting facade. I must give a tip of the hat to the virtual Donald J. Trump Presidential Library website for envisioning the types of exhibits that should be presented — all with a splash of wit.
History has judged the former President to be criminally negligent in the death of thousands of American citizens…
I envision something much more serious. The near death of democracy, the shattered lives and countless dead deserves a monument in the scope and style of Hungary’s House of Terror.
I almost did not go to the House of Terror while visiting Budapest in 2009 mistakenly thinking it might be related to gothic horror movies. The horrors it turned out were very real and related to the immense suffering of the Hungarian people under Nazi occupation followed by year of fascist, communist regime.The museum is housed in the building that was used as the headquarters for the Nazi occupation and the Hungarian Arrow Cross.
A tour of the museum starts with being confronted and overwhelmed in the narrow courtyard by a Soviet T-54 tank above eye level. The walls papered with portraits of the victims. Escape is an elevator to the top floor where the tour winds through several floors of exhibits ending in the basement.
All of the exhibits are art installations that educate and immerse the visitor in the moment, whether it be the the threat of being detained, displaced, starved, or tortured. The tour ends in the basement where “enemies of the state” were held and interrogated. Photos of the exhibits by visitors are not permitted but the museum website provides excellent documentation.
A Terror Háza Múzeum a 20. századi diktatúrák áldozatainak emlékére létrehozott múzeum Budapesten, az Andrássy út 60…
Like holocaust museums, the House of Terror stands to remember and study the past as a way of preventing past crimes to become future policy. Similarly, we must never forget the American destruction that has occurred — children taken from their parents, reversals of human rights, hate crimes, policies of bigotry, and endless cruelty for its own sake.