Ike’s memorial in Abilene to get major remodeling


March 2, 2011 - 12:00 AM

The Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene will get a re-do. Museum officials told the Associated Press that the renovation will take several years and will include major architectural, lighting and technology upgrades in each of the galleries to make them more “interactive and viewer-friendly.”
These plans have a particular relevance to Iolans. John Brink had his office in the second floor of the Register building when he was named state architect by Gov. George Docking. Brink began work on the Eisenhower Presidential Li-brary in 1957 by collecting all of the information he could find on the presidential libraries that had been built to memorialize Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry Truman.
He added his own ideas and came up with an outstanding complex worthy of an outstanding Kansan.
Brink spent much of his time on the Eisenhower library and other state building projects while he held the office but came back to Iola to design and oversee construction of the Bowlus Fine Arts Center and to do smaller building projects.
Through him, Iolans have a vicarious connection with the Abilene tribute to the man most connected to Kansas in the minds of many adult Americans even though he is now long dead.
A refurbished and enhanced Eisenhower Presidential Library will give Kansas tourism a welcome, much-needed, boost.


— Emerson Lynn, jr.

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