In May, the Obama Foundation announced that Chicago will be the future location of the Barack Obama Presidential Center, which will include a library and museum. The center will become the 14th institution in the National Archives and Records Administration’s presidential library system, which includes centers dedicated to all presidents from Herbert Hoover onwards.
Over the years, millions of public and private dollars and ostensibly, man hours, have been spent curating these institutions. Which begs the question: why?
Franklin D. Roosevelt began this tradition when, in 1939, he decided to hand over his personal and presidential records to the federal government when leaving office. Two years later, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum was built in Hyde Park, New York to house these records. READ MORE: Why Do Presidents Get Their Own Libraries? | Atlas Obscura.