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Volume 41. No. 1.
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#28
Check out a presidential library—or two...

Don’t expect a lot of objectivity in the presentations at the Nixon and Reagan presidential libraries. But both shrines house an array of fascinating artifacts and exhibitions, plus a presidential burial site.

Only half an hour from campus, the Nixon library in Yorba Linda is home to the restored farmhouse Nixon was born in and artifacts such as a presidential limousine, the Watergate tapes and the text of a speech Nixon had prepared in case the astronauts who landed on the moon in 1969 had been left stranded there.

“In each library, they treat the president like he was a god,” says Politics Professor David Menefee-Libey. “But Nixon has a very mixed history. The weird thing about the Nixon Library is that although Nixon is a god, they are still able to have a sense of humor about him. For instance, the Nixon gift shop is priceless. It sells things like T-shirts with the picture of Nixon shaking hands with Elvis.’’

A longer drive from campus, The Reagan Library in Simi Valley includes a chunk of the Berlin Wall, a full-size replica of how the Oval Office looked on the day Reagan left office and a nuclear missile deactivated when the President and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev signed an arms-reduction treaty.

The two libraries are also significant for their speakers, which recently have included National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert.
 
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