Former President Barack Obama promised Wednesday that his planned museum and library in Chicago’s Jackson Park won’t be an “ego trip.” But it will still show the people what they want to see – including former First Lady Michelle Obama‘s dresses, posters from Obama’s presidential campaign and other artifacts from his historic White House tenure.
After the Obamas unveiled the design of the Obama Presidential Center on Wednesday, the former president shared even more inside details during a roundtable discussion in his adopted hometown of Chicago.
“There are a lot of presidential libraries and I think there is a tendency to think of this as a monument to the past, to think of it as something that is backwards-looking … And … a little bit of an ego trip,” he said. “When Michelle and I started talking about the Presidential Center, we were really firm that what we want to do was create something for the future.”
“We are interested in having displays and exhibits that can teach young people about, not just my presidency, but all the people who led to my presidency. The process of struggle and the process of overcoming that I stand on top of.”
RELATED VIDEO: Barack Obama To Young Leaders: It’s Time To ‘Take Up The Baton’
“And let’s face it, you all want to see Michelle’s dresses and some of the campaign posters,” he added. “And maybe there’ll be, you know, some artifacts from the White House and the presidency.”
Noting that the “best things that have happened to me in my life happened in this community,” Obama reminisced about the first home he and his wife bought, in Chicago’s East View Park, the start of his political career, and the birth of daughters Sasha and Malia at the University of Chicago Hospital. “I owe it all to this community,” he said.
He also spoke about plans to transform and improve Jackson Park, including adding children’s play centers and a sledding hill. Because “Michelle always told me she was mad that during the winter she couldn’t sled because there was no hill down here,” he said of the former first lady, who grew up on Chicago’s South Side.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Obamas shared a first look at the design of the Obama Presidential Center, a campus of three buildings. The museum is the tallest and easily the most eye-catching of the three buildings.
The former first lady expressed her enthusiasm about the center on Wednesday in two tweets — one of which included a subtle dig at President Trump, after it was reported that his administration is planning to end her signature girls’ education program. (A White House spokesman has denied the reports.)
“Excited by the potential of the Obama Pres. Center. Barack & I will continue to champion the issues close to our hearts, including girls ed,” she wrote.