Nixon Library Remodel Offers 70 New Exhibits
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The $15 million Nixon Library remodel offers over 70 new, eye-catching and interactive exhibits to better trace the complex career of Nixon’s controversial presidency. It has been run by the National Archives and Records Admin (NARA) since 2007. “The National Archives and Records Administration hired four independent historians to ensure the historical accuracy of the exhibits,” according to the OC Register.
“We have had a few changes to the library externally, but a lot has happened inside,” stated Steven Feith, a resident of Yorba Linda and a docent at the Nixon Library in an interview with the Matador Messenger.
“Why visit? It’s probably the most technologically advanced library in the Presidential Library system. Next to FDR, it has the largest archival collection including his pre-presidential political life and post presidency,” added Feith.
With the new renovations, visitors to the Nixon Library are able to now interact with “hands-on exhibits.” There is much more engagement from a user experience standpoint. What that means is you have choices as to what you’d like to learn about rather than set reader boards,” added Feith.
One of the favorite exhibits of the Nixon Library is a scale replica of the oval office. “There are only a handful (2) of oval offices where the guests can sit in the furniture, sit in the chairs, and enjoy this office. Most exhibits just allow you to walk around the perimeter…” stated William Baribault, the president and CEO of the Nixon Foundation.
While touring the new exhibits, visitors are invited to try touch screens and other interactive displays. In addition to the office, the top 5 new features, according to the OC Register, include the following:
- The Lincoln Sitting Room, where Nixon would spend most of his time. Featured is a life-size photo of the President writing his thoughts of the Vietnam War on one of his famous yellow pads, ,
- A display highlighting China’s role in society, and other issues in and before Nixon’s presidency.
- Pat’s Nook, an area designated to the First Lady. In it, visitors can learn about her travels and visits to China, Vietnam, Peru, Africa, and more. She is the 2nd most traveled First Lady (behind Hillary Clinton)
- Nixon in China displayed as a 15- foot tall picture of the Air Force 1 touching down in Peking, China, and close by, a life-size statue of Nixon shaking hands with the Premier Zhou En-Lia. It was the first ever trip to China by a president.
- In Nixon’s first day in office, he found a safe within the bathroom of the White House residence. In the exhibit, view untouched reports by him as a stark reminder of the Vietnam war. Also displayed are life-size statues of soldiers who sacrificed their life for this country.
The “new” Nixon Library still includes some old favorites for visitors, such as the restored 1960 6-ton Sikorsky VH 3A “Sea King” model helicopter, on loan, courtesy of the National Museum of the Marine Corps. Visitors can step aboard the 16-seater, which Nixon used for more than 180 trips.
Another favorite still open to the public, “the Birthplace,” was built by father Frank Nixon in 1912, and can be toured by visitors, accompanied by a docent. “Visitors will see artifacts that belonged to the Nixon Family and other contemporaneous artifacts as they look through the 1.5 story building,” according to nixonlibrary.gov.
Visitors from far and wide can also take a virtual tour of the library at nixonlibrary.gov. “The Nixon Library makes available almost 50 million pages of documents, over 300,000 photographs, thousands of motion pictures and videos, and the Nixon White House Tapes,” states the website.
Museum hours are Monday-Saturday, from 10:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m., and, Sunday, from 11:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m. The Research Room hours are, Monday-Friday, 9:30 a.m.- 5:00 p.m., and closed all Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays. The museum is closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.
Admission prices are as follows:
- Adults: $16
- Seniors (62+): $12
- College/Student: $10
- Military Retired: $10
- Military Active: Free
- Youth: $10
- Children: $6 (ages 5-11)
- Children under 4 yrs: Free