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Many Hands Come Together at Obama Presidential Center

By Todd R. Berger

Obama Presidential Center
The Obama Presidential Center is slated for completion in 2025. || Courtesy of the Obama Foundation

The Obama Presidential Center in Chicago’s Jackson Park will be a celebrated site when completed in 2025. However, it’s not only a celebration of America’s 44th and first Black president—it will also honor the remarkable citizens of the South Side, where First Lady Michelle Obama grew up and President Barack Obama got his start as a community organizer in the 1990s. The Obama Foundation is overseeing the construction of the presidential center.

“The center is being built with intentionality to ensure the space is welcoming, inclusive, and incorporates both indoor and outdoor spaces for visitors and community members to enjoy,” says a spokesperson for the Obama Foundation. “The center will be more than a library—it will be an experience that inspires visitors to learn and empowers them to take action in their communities.”

Designed by New York City-based architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, the form of the eight-story museum will suggest upward movement, inspired by the spirit of creating remarkable things from the grassroots. The design of the building also symbolizes four hands coming together—an acknowledgment that the hands of many people shape a place.

The 225,000-square-foot Obama Presidential Center also will host a variety of events. “The Obama Presidential Center will be a space for everyone and for everything,” says the foundation’s spokesperson. “Events will be a big part of convening folks at this site.”