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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Exploring terror in US history

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Photo by Photo by Meredith Seaver

“Spies, Traitors, Saboteurs: Fear and Freedom in America” will be on display until May 20.

The interactive exhibit “Spies, Traitors, Saboteurs: Fear and Freedom in America” will be on display at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum until May 20.
Created by the International Spy Museum and transported by Evergreen Exhibitions, the exhibit explores themes of terrorism, hate, radicalism and subversion through its artifacts, replicas, photographs and films. The burning of the White House, WWI sabotage, the Ku Klux Klan, WWII internment camps, McCarthyism and 9/11 are all addressed in the exhibit.
Aliza Bran, media relations manager at the International Spy Museum, said the content is intended to illuminate how intelligence and espionage has changed the course of history and continues to play a significant role in people’s lives today.
“In this particular traveling exhibit, we explore the balance between national security and ensuring vital American civil liberties — and the ongoing challenge this country faces in toeing that line,” Bran said. “We also identify times in history in which attacks have inspired public panic and government responses and ask visitors whether resulting actions have led to positive change or not.”
David Anaya, director of marketing and communications for the Bush library, said that since George H.W. Bush once served as the director of the CIA, the exhibit has a connection to the late president’s professional life and public service.
“In this specific exhibit, [there are] stories of domestic terrorists and terrorism, foreign agents, militant radicals, saboteurs over the last 200 years,” Anaya said. “And it also looks at the question of how do we identify who the enemy is and how do we keep our country safe.”
Exhibit visitor Calvin Harris said the displays raised old memories — both bad and good.
“Most of it was like deja vu, because a lot of this is something I experienced growing up,” Harris said. “I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, during the time the Ku Klux Klan and the hate crimes, and it brought back old memories. … I knew President Bush; I’ve met him before. I have a letter he wrote to me when I was back in Iraq during the first Gulf War. It’s a fabulous museum. It’s brought back a lot of good memories, a lot of old memories, a lot of bad memories, but still, it’s a fabulous museum.”
Harris said the exhibit is good for younger generations who may not have lived through the time periods that are on display.
“Every school child should have an opportunity to come here and see what it was like, what it was really like back in the past,” Harris said. “They need to actually see the history, they need to actually feel the history, and going through this museum, you have a chance to actually feel and see what it was all about.”

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