Southeast Professor to Have Hand in Redesign of Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum

A Southeast Missouri State University faculty member will play a significant role in the expansion and update of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum during the coming year.

Dr. Pam Parry, chair of the Department of Mass Media, has been selected to serve on the Historians Review Board for the library and museum in Abilene, Kansas.

Parry is one of five academic scholars nationwide providing advice about displays, exhibits, films and corresponding interpretative language as the museum undergoes a complete redesign and expansion. The project began May 14, and the museum will not available during the renovation.

“I am thrilled, honored and a bit awestruck that I am one voice in this massive and significant project,” Parry said. “We will be historical advisors to the museum updates.”

The comprehensive redesign will create engaging exhibits bringing the Eisenhower story to life for a 21st century audience with new scholarship and technology. The project is expected to take a year and will encompass the museum’s entire 25,000-square-foot exhibit space. The work is made possible by the Eisenhower Foundation.

Exhibitions last about 15-20 years before needing a redesign. The Presidential Gallery, the most recently updated, was completed 15 years ago. A comprehensive redesign provides an opportunity to reexamine the story of Dwight D. Eisenhower in light of recent scholarship. New technology also will be incorporated to enhance the visitor experience.

The museum, a nonpartisan federal institution part of the Presidential Libraries network operated by the National Archives and Records Administration, is dedicated to the preservation of and accessibility to historical materials, support research, and interactive programs and exhibits that educate and inspire.

“We invited Pam to join the board because of her extensive research experience in the records of the Eisenhower Administration and her own growing record as an Eisenhower scholar,” said Timothy Rives, deputy director of the library and museum. “We are fortunate to have her advice and counsel during this important and exciting time in our institution’s history.”

The author of “Eisenhower: The Public Relations President,” Parry began visiting the museum in 2008 as a researcher. She is currently writing a second book on Eisenhower, titled “Eisenhower and Gender: Changing the Face of Politics.”

Parry hopes to provide knowledgeable insights that positively contribute to the integrity of the museum’s mission and honor the president’s life.

“As an historical advisor, I will be offering suggestions, insights and ideas for the scripts and displays the design company creates for the new exhibits,” she said. “The importance of being a part of this project is very humbling.”

The museum is scheduled to reopen for the 75th anniversary of D-Day on June 6, 2019.

She is looking forward to the museum’s reopening and with helping bring a new creative, educational experience that inspires its visitors.

“I simply love the place,” she said. “Visitors can expect a remarkable, modern retelling of the Eisenhower story.”

Parry holds a doctoral degree in mass communication with an emphasis in media history from The University of Southern Mississippi and a master’s degree in communication from the American University. She holds a Bachelor of Journalism in magazine editing and writing from the University of Missouri-Columbia and has interests in history and politics.