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Carter presidential library moves birthday plans amid shutdown threat

Mike Esterl, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in News & Features

ATLANTA — The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum planned to celebrate the former president’s birthday on Sunday, when he turns 99.

Now it’s moving its public festivities to Saturday, just to be sure.

The reason? The Atlanta-based library and museum, like many other federally funded sites, will be shuttered starting Sunday if Congress doesn’t reach a deal this week to avert a federal government shutdown.

“We want to make sure we are celebrating regardless of what Congress does,” said Tony Clark, the site’s public affairs director.

Instead of Sunday, the library and museum is inviting visitors to come Saturday to eat birthday cake, sign a birthday card and participate in other activities, including painting and trivia games. The film “All The President’s Men” also will be shown.

The price of admission? Ninety-nine cents, in a nod to the former president’s birthday.

If a federal government shutdown is averted, the library and museum will repeat festivities for visitors on Sunday, according to Clark.

The possible government shutdown also has thrown into flux birthday celebration plans in Carter’s hometown of Plains, about three hours south of Atlanta. Sites at the Jimmy Carter National Historical Park — including the former president’s boyhood farm — could be closed beginning Sunday.


Carter entered home hospice in Plains in February. He and his wife Rosalynn have lived in the same ranch house since 1961, except for when he was governor and president.

Carter’s library in Atlanta is administered by the National Archives and Records Administration, a federal agency, and is the official repository of Carter’s presidential papers. The accompanying museum houses everything from gifts given to the Carters by world leaders to photos and videos from their time as the nation’s first couple.

One event is going ahead as planned on Sunday, when a naturalization ceremony will be held for 99 new U.S. citizens to coincide with Carter’s birthday. It will be held at 10 a.m. in Atlanta in a space the library and museum share with the neighboring Carter Center, a nonprofit that wouldn’t affected by a shutdown. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that are fee-based also wouldn’t be affected by a shutdown, Clark said.

But new citizens won’t be able to visit the museum after their ceremony if a funding deal isn’t reached.

And if there’s a shutdown, the naturalization ceremony won’t be livestreamed on the government’s Facebook page, Clark added.

More information about the library and museum’s plans and opening hours can be found at


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