Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum
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History of the Jimmy Carter Library

Shortly after taking office as President, Jimmy Carter indicated his interest in a Presidential Library to be built "someplace in Georgia." The National Archives was invited to establish an office in the Old Executive Building and to staff it with archivists who could advise the White House staff on the preservation and arrangement of materials prior to their movement to Georgia.

In December 1980, a search was undertaken for a suitable site for building the Jimmy Carter Library. After surveying a number of sites, one close to downtown Atlanta was selected. The land was owned by the state of Georgia, originally acquired to build an interstate highway. The highway project had been stopped by then Governor Carter. Approximately thirty acres of that land was acquired for the library's site.

The Carter Presidential Library, Inc. was incorporated in the State of Georgia to raise the funds to build the building. An Atlanta architectural firm, Jova/Daniels/Busby, in cooperation with Lawton/Umemura/Yamamoto of Hawaii was selected to design the structure. The facility design included not only the presidential library, donated to the federal government (approximately 70,000 square feet), but also privately maintained space, including President Carter's office, offices for foundations he supports, and the Carter Center of Emory University (approximately 60,000 sq.ft.)

Temporary quarters were selected in the former post office building in downtown Atlanta for the twenty-seven million pages of paper and other historical materials from the Carter presidency. A small staff of archivists began processing these materials, preparing them for eventual use by researchers, and working with the architects in designing the facility.

Ground breaking for the entire facility was held on October 2, 1984. Construction costs for the entire facility were $26 million, raised by donations from friends of President Carter from around the world. The building was dedicated and the museum opened to the public October 1, 1986. The research room was opened January 28, 1987.

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