Carter Library Tour

NOTE: AS OF AUGUST 3, ALL SLOTS FOR THE CARTER LIBRARY TOUR HAVE BEEN FILLED. If you would like to be placed on a wait list, please let Dr. Mary Stuckey know (

On Thursday afternoon, we have organized a chance for a selected number of conference attendees who would like the chance to meet with archivists and tour the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and the Carter Center to do so on a first-reserved basis.  A visit has been arranged, including access to discounted tickets to tour the Museum part of the Library, so that participants can be shuttled free of charge from the Residence Inn Hotel to the Center.  The visit is planned so that you’ll have time to return to the main conference and fully participate in the evening reception and keynote. The Carter Library tour is for the first 20 people who sign up; participants will enjoy a behind the scenes tour, seeing where the documents are stored and where the archivists work (the tour is conducted by an archivist). For those who want to tour the newly renovated Museum, the ticket price will be discounted to $5).

Mary Stuckey is coordinating the visit, has long experience doing work in the archives, and has developed close collaborative relations with the main archival staff.

October 2005. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.


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.

The Carter Center operates on the same campus as the Library and exhibition center.  From the main website of the Center:  The Carter Center, in partnership with Emory University, is guided by a fundamental commitment to human rights and the alleviation of human suffering. It seeks to prevent and resolve conflicts, enhance freedom and democracy, and improve health.

  • The Center emphasizes action and measurable results. Based on careful research and analysis, it is prepared to take timely action on important and pressing issues.
  • The Center seeks to break new ground and not duplicate the effective efforts of others.
  • The Center addresses difficult problems in difficult situations and recognizes the possibility of failure as an acceptable risk.
  • The Center is nonpartisan, actively seeks complementary partnerships and works collaboratively with other organizations from the highest levels of government to local communities.
  • The Center believes that people can improve their own lives when provided with the necessary skills, knowledge, and access to resources.