WITH SO MUCH division today it’s almost a breath of fresh air to put aside your politics for the day and take an objective look at Richard Nixon and his presidency. The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum is a nationally recognized research center that allows students and scholars the opportunity to study, debate and analyze President Nixon’s significant legacy and historic presidency.
The new Nixon Library was recently remodeled last October and gives a great thematic approach to the 37th president instead of a chronological storyboard. Cool interactives about Marine One (including the real helicopter and a mini tour inside) White House social events, and decision making skills. Visitors can enjoy the all-new library featuring nearly 70 new major exhibits, 30 unique multi-media experiences, 11 original films, 12 custom digital interactives, 10 curated archival film sequences, more than 600 photographs, 8,000 square feet of wall murals and more than 300 artifacts.
The space itself is worth a visit- beautiful gardens, a gorgeous ballroom that serves as a venue for weddings, bar & bat mitzvahs–whether you’re hosting a meeting, special event, holiday party, or non-profit fundraiser, The Nixon Library is truly a one-of-a-kind location. Located just 15 minutes from the Anaheim Convention Center, the Nixon Library offers multiple space options to meet your event needs. Choose from their dazzling 4,800 square foot White House East Room, lush outdoor rose garden, private presidential meeting room, or impressive executive board room. To ensure satisfaction and success, all of their events are full service and include the highest level of staffing and resources.
Host a stunning reception in the only replica of the White House East Room. The East Room features three magnificent crystal chandeliers, golden Italian silk draperies, imported marble fireplaces, and a gorgeous wooden terrazzo floor for dancing the night away. Beautiful gold Versailles chairs, banquet tables and cocktail tables come included. And with space to accommodate up to 500 guests, they truly can make it the day you’ve always dreamed of. Beautiful and meticulously landscaped, the First Lady’s Rose Garden is the perfect setting for your special “I Do.” Whether you imagine a small, intimate affair or a large, lavish event, the Nixon Library’s expansive lawn can accommodate up to 400 guests.
Even if you plan on visiting for the day like I did, I had no idea we were right next door to such an incredible window into our history. The staff is incredibly helpful and extremely knowledgeable; I was even greeted by Jan Goldfarb, Jewish Community Liaison, complete with organic pomegranates from her yard! It was a perfect afternoon for my boyfriend and me to catch up with my dad and learn a little about our past.
Here are just a few of the All-New Permanent Exhibits you can explore:
Tour Richard Nixon’s Original Birthplace-Walk through Richard Nixon’s original 1910’s humble farmhouse birthplace – in the same location where Nixon’s father built it over 100 years ago – with its original furnishing.
Climb Aboard Marine One-The glimmering presidential helicopter that took Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Ford to all corners of the globe. A rare glimpse into history unlike any other!
The Ambassador and Mrs. George L. Argyros Oval Office – An exact replica of President Nixon’s Oval Office offers guests an immersive exploration of the most famous office in the world, including an opportunity to take a photo behind the president’s desk. The office is designed in the original 1969 decor of California blue and gold, which was hand-selected by First Lady Pat Nixon.
The Vietnam War – Guests are confronted with the situation in Vietnam, just as President Nixon was on January 20, 1969. Explore the contentious national conversation surrounding the Vietnam War and President Nixon’s actions and decisions. Artifacts and vivid images highlight the
stories of the POWs as well as their celebrated homecomings.
Communism and the Cold War – A Soviet missile replica provides a backdrop for this exhibit that explores the broader global issues of communism and the Cold War and their role in shaping President Nixon’s policy of détente. A large piece from the Berlin Wall highlights this iconic symbol of the split between the Communist and non-Communist worlds.
The Week That Changed the World – Stepping through an iconic moon gate portal, guests relive the historic handshake between Richard Nixon and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai during the 1972 trip to the People’s Republic of China. Images, text, and artifacts explore the relationship between the U.S. and China, Nixon’s China initiative, the diplomacy that culminated in the trip, the events of the Nixons’ time in China, and the legacy of the “week that changed the world.” Guests will be able to pose for a photo on the Great Wall of China with President and Mrs. Nixon.
The Middle East – Guests can explore images and artifacts highlighting Nixon’s goals and achievements in the Middle East – most notably in regard to the Yom Kippur War – as well as how his policies in the region remain relevant today. Statues of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir from the Library’s existing exhibits are displayed here.
Tough Choices – At this interactive station, guests play the role of an unnamed advisor to President Nixon. By consulting actual advisors and examining a multitude of official memos, reports, and news media, visitors advise President Nixon on a course of action for three important decisions — bombing Cambodia, aiding Israel during the Yom Kippur War and implementing an all-volunteer military.
1972 Campaign & Victory – Nixon’s landslide victory in the 1972 campaign
provides a portal into the next gallery. A captured moment in time, scenic
balloons hang frozen mid-fall above the path, and directly ahead guests hear words from Nixon’s second inaugural address.
Watergate – The exhibit explores the personalities, actions and intentions at the heart of the Watergate scandal, chronicles the events beginning in June 1971, with the leak of the Pentagon Papers and ending with President Nixon’s public
explanations of Watergate after he left office. The
content of the Watergate exhibit that opened at the Nixon Library in 2011 remains.
Farewell Speech and Departure – Guests step inside Army One on August 9, 1974, where they find the President and Mrs. Nixon sitting aboard. Footage in the windows and an audioscape immerse guests in the Nixons’ departure from the White House and transitions guests back to Nixon’s beginnings.
Nixon in Culture – From books to film, television, drama, opera, and more, Richard Nixon left a lasting mark on American culture. Guests can explore both Nixon’s own contributions through his 10 books and others’ interpretations of the man and his legacy in popular culture.
As my gracious tour guide for the day, Communications Director Joe Lopez,
poignantly noted with the ushering in of the digital era and nothing actually being written down anymore, this may be our last glimpse at real, tangible artifacts and yellow notepads that a President once scribbled on. Do a mitzvah and take your parents or grandparents– it will make their day and yours, I promise!
Also be sure to mark your calendars on Sunday November 19, 2017 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM (Doors Open at 9:00 AM) for the 25th Anniversary Hanukkah Celebration with Special Guest: Ben Stein! The program will feature Community Menorah Candle Lighting, Curtain Call Orchestra, Voces di Oro, Orange Jews, The Snappy Tappers, and the Children’s Choirs of Temple Beth Tikvah and Temple Beth Ohr. This is a free program but space is limited and registration is required. Please RSVP: www.nixonfoundation.org/events
(Registration Deadline: November 15, 2017)
Questions, contact Nicole Parsons at email@example.com, (714) 364-1184
Tanya Schwied graduated from New York University, studied abroad in Israel, and currently works as the Coordinator of Outreach and Engagement for the NextGen Department at Jewish Federation & Family Services, Orange County.