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Similarly, Mr. Carter said he admired Mr. Bush for helping “the neediest people on Earth.”

A few protesters stood outside the security perimeter. They included a group holding signs that said, “Obama and Bush commit war crimes” and “What about Begazi?”

Mr. Ryan, who pitched for the Texas Rangers when Mr. Bush was co-owner of the team, said it was “a very special day” for the former president.

“I’m very proud of what he’s been able to accomplish,” Mr. Ryan said.

The $250 million presidential library and museum opens to the public Wednesday.

The museum includes interactive displays such as “Decision Points Theater,” which presents visitors with crises such as Hurricane Katrina and the Wall Street meltdown, and allows visitors to choose a solution to each problem. Video displays then explain which decisions Mr. Bush made — and why.

An exhibit on 9/11 includes the bullhorn that Mr. Bush used to address rescue workers at the World Trade Center site three days after the attacks.