Society

Obama Presidential Center To Open In Chicago

| by Simone Stover

Former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama are set to visit Chicago on May 3 to discuss details regarding the opening of the newest presidential library and museum.

On May 1, the Obama Foundation announced that the Obamas will hold a round-table discussion to speak with community leaders about the progress of the Obama Presidential Center, reports The Associated Press. The couple will update leaders on the center's progress and is reportedly open to hearing ideas from members of the community regarding the construction of the center. 

According to the Chicago Tribune, a source close to the foundation has said that, in addition to the discussion, a three-dimensional model of the center is to be shown at the event, which is set to take place at the South Shore Cultural Center. 

This is not the first appearance that Mr. Obama has made in Chicago during the months following the end of his presidency. On April 24, he appeared at the University of Chicago to participate in a civic engagement discussion. 

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In regards to the upcoming May 3 event, a few high-profile names are set to be in attendance. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel -- who served as Mr. Obama's first White House chief of staff -- is one such individual who is set to be present. It is also reported that Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, a married couple of architects from New York, will be present as well. The Obama Foundation has announced that tickets to the event are by invitation only.

The center is set to be constructed in Jackson Park -- which is located in the South Side of Chicago -- and is set to open sometime in 2021. The center is set to cost at least $500 million. It is thought that its construction will have a positive impact on the economy of the surrounding community. 

"More than a building or a museum, the Obama Presidential Center will be a working center for civic engagement and a place to inspire people and communities to create change," the Obama Foundation said in a statement, according to the Chicago Tribune.

According to the AP, the effort to design the exhibits will be led by the New-York based Ralph Appelbaum Associates. The Obama Foundation has also said that businesses owned by women and minorities will be responsible for almost half of the exhibits' design work. 

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The last presidential center to be opened was the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, which -- according to the museum's website -- is located on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Mr. Obama was present at the center's dedication ceremony, which took place in April of 2013. The center opened to the public the following month. 

Sources: AP via The Independent, Chicago Tribune, George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum / Photo credit: Steve Jurvetson/Flickr

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