Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum

Last updated

Richard Nixon Presidential Library
Nixon Library and Gardens.jpg
View from birthplace looking across gardens to the Nixon Library Museum
USA California location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Usa edcp location map.svg
Red pog.svg
General information
Location Yorba Linda, California, United States
Coordinates 33°53′21″N117°49′10″W / 33.88917°N 117.81944°W / 33.88917; -117.81944 (Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum (Orange County, California)) Coordinates: 33°53′21″N117°49′10″W / 33.88917°N 117.81944°W / 33.88917; -117.81944 (Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum (Orange County, California))
Named for Richard Nixon
InauguratedDedicated on July 19, 1990
Rededicated on October 14, 2016
Management NARA
Richard Nixon Foundation
Technical details
Size52,000 sq ft (4,800 m2)
Website
nixon.archives.gov
nixonfoundation.org

The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum is the presidential library and burial site of Richard Milhous Nixon, the 37th President of the United States (1969–1974), and his wife Pat Nixon.

Contents

Located in Yorba Linda, California on land that President Nixon's family once owned, the library is one of 13 administered by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The 9-acre (3.6 ha) campus is located at 18001 Yorba Linda Boulevard in Yorba Linda and incorporates the Richard Nixon Birthplace, a National Historic Landmark where Nixon was born in 1913 and spent his childhood.

From its dedication on July 19, 1990 until July 11, 2007, the library and museum was operated by the private Richard Nixon Foundation and was known as the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace. The facility underwent an extensive renovation in 2016 and now features tech-savvy museum exhibits; the complex is jointly operated by NARA and the Richard Nixon Foundation.

Background prior to dedication

Historically, all presidential papers were considered the personal property of the president. Some took them at the end of their terms while others destroyed them. Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first to make them available to the public when he donated them to the National Archives in 1939, as the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, but did so voluntarily. [1] The Watergate scandal and Richard Nixon's subsequent resignation from office complicated the issue, however.

In September 1974, Richard Nixon made an agreement with the head of the General Services Administration, Arthur F. Sampson, to turn over most materials from his presidency, including tape recordings of conversations he had made in the White House; however, the recordings were to be destroyed after September 1, 1979, if directed by Nixon or by September 1, 1984, or his death otherwise. Alarmed that Nixon's tapes may be lost, Congress abrogated the Nixon–Sampson Agreement by passing the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act, which was signed into law by President Gerald Ford in December 1974. It applied specifically to materials from the Nixon presidency, directing NARA to take ownership of the materials and process them as quickly as possible. Private materials were to be returned to Nixon.

As a result of the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act, President Nixon's White House papers and tapes were held by the National Archives, thus they could not be transferred to a facility in Yorba Linda. Funding to build the Nixon Library came from private sources. The estimated cost to build the institution was $25 million. [2] Ground was broken by Julie Nixon Eisenhower, the youngest daughter of President Nixon and Mrs. Nixon, in December 1988. [2]

Dedication

The original library and birthplace was officially dedicated on July 19, 1990. Former President Nixon and First Lady Pat Nixon were present, as were President George H. W. Bush, former President Gerald Ford, former President Ronald Reagan, and first ladies Barbara Bush, Betty Ford, and Nancy Reagan. A crowd of 50,000 gathered for the ceremony. [3] At the dedication, Nixon said, "Nothing we have ever seen matches this moment–to be welcomed home again." [3]

Facilities

The President's VH-3A "Sea King" helicopter is on permanent display. Sea King VH3A.jpg
The President's VH-3A "Sea King" helicopter is on permanent display.
Richard Nixon's birthplace Nixonhouse.jpg
Richard Nixon's birthplace
The graves of President Richard Nixon and First Lady Pat Nixon located on the library grounds. Gravestones of President Richard and first lady Pat Nixon.jpg
The graves of President Richard Nixon and First Lady Pat Nixon located on the library grounds.

The museum, housed in a 52,000-square-foot (4,800 m2) building, offers a narrative of Nixon's life and career. Behind the museum is the birthplace, which was constructed by Nixon's father using a homebuilding kit, and restored to appear as it was in the 1910s. President Nixon and Pat Nixon are buried on the grounds, just a few feet from the birthplace.

The Nixon Library compound also contains the Katharine B. Loker Center and Annenberg Court, a 38,000-square-foot (3,500 m2) wing constructed in 2004, which includes a special exhibit room and an exact replica of the East Room of the White House that is used as an event space; the Nixon Foundation leases the East Room for events such as weddings and business meetings.

Presidential Museum

There is an extensive collection of memorabilia, artifacts, formal clothing, and photographs of the Nixons and their children. This collection includes an assortment of bronze figures of world leaders who had important relations with Nixon as president or during his service as vice president under President Dwight D. Eisenhower from 1953 to 1961. The leaders have been accurately recreated in lightweight bronze over a papier-mâché frame, and they are dressed in their actual clothing. The U.S. government limousine used by President Nixon throughout his presidency, a customized 1969 Lincoln Continental, is on display in the domestic affairs gallery. A 12-foot-high (3.7 m) piece of the Berlin Wall is exhibited in the expansive foreign affairs gallery, which also includes a replica of a modest Midwest home from where American soldiers originated, statues of Nixon and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai and pages of the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty I signed by Nixon and Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev in 1972.

Lieutenant Colonel Gene Boyer, President Nixon's chief helicopter pilot, secured the President's VH-3A "Sea King" helicopter, tail number 150617, to be on permanent display on the library grounds. The helicopter was in the presidential fleet from 1961 to 1976, transporting Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford, and many foreign heads of state and government. Boyer flew President Nixon dozens of times to Camp David, over the pyramids in Egypt, and on his final flight from the White House in this aircraft.

The entire facility underwent a $15 million renovation in 2016, and reopened on October 14 of that year with appearances from Dr. Henry Kissinger, former California Governor Pete Wilson and Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai. The new museum includes nearly 70 exhibits, including a replica of President Nixon's Oval Office. [4] Much of the media surrounding the reopening referred to the museum's appeals to the Millennial generation; USA Today called it "a video-centric, cutting-edge experience" in which "guests are constantly invited to try touch screens or other interactive displays." [5] The money was raised entirely from private sources.

Joint Operation with the National Archives

In January 2004, the United States Congress passed legislation that provided for the establishment of a federally operated Nixon Presidential Library. Specifically, the legislation amended the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act of 1974, which mandated that Nixon's presidential materials were to remain in National Archives II facility in College Park, Maryland. Under this new legislation, over 30,000 presidential gifts as well as millions of presidential records were moved from College Park to Yorba Linda. [6]

The Nixon Library has a full-scale, exact replica of President Nixon's Oval Office that guests can enter and interact within. It was created as part of a $15 million renovation of the entire facility in 2016. Nixon Presidential Library & Museum (30608035520) (cropped1).jpg
The Nixon Library has a full-scale, exact replica of President Nixon's Oval Office that guests can enter and interact within. It was created as part of a $15 million renovation of the entire facility in 2016.

In March 2005, the Nixon Foundation invited the National Archives to jointly operate the Nixon Library, and then-Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein allowed for the Nixon Library to become the twelfth federally funded presidential library, operated and staffed by NARA, in conjunction with the Nixon Foundation. In April 2006, Weinstein appointed Timothy Naftali director of the NARA Library activities. On July 11, 2007, the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum was officially welcomed into the federal presidential library system.

Before the National Archives took over its management, the Nixon Library had been accused by several media outlets of glossing over Nixon's 1974 resignation with "whitewashed" exhibits. [7] In 2007, the National Archives removed the Watergate exhibit that had been in place for 17 years and, after three years of empty exhibit space, announced that the new exhibit was scheduled to open in July 2010. The Nixon Foundation objected to the proposed exhibit, specifically the process by which the proposed exhibit was crafted due to the fact that the Nixon Foundation was not consulted in the way that other presidential foundations are in similar situations. The foundation filed a 158-page memorandum to the assistant archivist for presidential libraries expressing its dissatisfaction [8] [9] and NARA stated a committee would review the objection but gave no timeline for when that process would be concluded. [10] The exhibit opened on March 31, 2011. [11]

In November 2011, the director of the library, Tim Naftali, resigned his position. [12] Michael Ellzey was appointed as Director by the Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero, on December 12, 2014. Mr. Ellzey officially began serving as Director on January 12, 2015. [13]

Library collections

The archives, which opened in March 1994 (a month before Nixon's death), house approximately 46 million pages of official White House records from the Nixon Administration. The Nixon Library now holds all of President Nixon's presidential as well as his pre- and post-presidential papers.

As of 2012, all processed Nixon presidential materials are available for research use at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, California.

Related Research Articles

Watergate scandal Political scandal that occurred in the United States in the 1970s

The Watergate scandal was a major federal political scandal in the United States involving the administration of United States President Richard Nixon from 1972 to 1974 that resulted in the end of Nixon's presidency. The scandal stemmed from the June 17, 1972, break-in of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate Office Building in Washington, D.C., by five men and the Nixon administration's subsequent attempts to cover up its involvement in the crime. Soon after the perpetrators were arrested, the press and the Justice Department discovered a connection between cash found on them at the time and a slush fund used by the Nixon re-election campaign committee.

Presidential library Research library with the collection of a U.S. presidents papers

In the United States, the presidential library system is a nationwide network of 13 libraries administered by the Office of Presidential Libraries, which is part of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). These are repositories for preserving and making available the papers, records, collections and other historical materials of every president of the United States from Herbert Hoover to George W. Bush. In addition to the library services, museum exhibitions concerning the presidency are displayed.

Julie Nixon Eisenhower author

Julie Nixon Eisenhower is an American author who is the younger daughter of Richard Nixon, 37th President of the United States, and Pat Nixon, First Lady of the United States, and is the wife of David Eisenhower, grandson of President Eisenhower.

Rose Mary Woods Personal secretary to the President Richard Nixon

Rose Mary Woods was Richard Nixon's secretary from his days in Congress in 1951, through the end of his political career. Before H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman became the operators of Nixon's presidential campaign, Woods was Nixon's gatekeeper.

Hugh W. Sloan Jr. was treasurer of the Committee to Re-elect the President, Richard M. Nixon's 1972 campaign committee. Previously, he was an aide to White House Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman.

Birthplace of Richard Nixon United States historic place

The Richard Nixon Birthplace is the birthplace and early childhood home of Richard Nixon (1913-1994), the 37th President of the United States. It is located on the grounds of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum at 18001 Yorba Linda Boulevard in Yorba Linda, California, and now serves as a historic house museum. Built in 1912 on family ranchland, it was home to the Nixon family until 1922. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1973, and is also a California Historical Landmark.

Timeline of the Watergate scandal chronology of the 1970s Watergate scandal

The Watergate Scandal refers to the burglary and illegal wiretapping of the Washington, D.C. headquarters of the Democratic National Committee, in the Watergate complex, by members of President of the United States Richard Nixon's re-election committee and subsequent abuse of powers by the president and administration officials to halt or hinder the investigation into same.

The Nixon White House tapes are audio recordings of conversations between U.S. President Richard Nixon and Nixon administration officials, Nixon family members, and White House staff, produced between 1971 and 1973.

John Harvey Taylor is the Bishop Los Angeles in the Diocese of Los Angeles of The Episcopal Church. He is a former post-Chief of Staff to former U.S. President Richard Nixon, and served as the Executive Director of the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace Foundation. Taylor had served as director of the privately owned and funded Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace prior to it joining the federal presidential libraries system, and becoming the Richard Nixon Presidential Library. Taylor was ordained as an Episcopal priest, and served as the Vicar of St. John's Episcopal Church and School, located in Rancho Santa Margarita, Orange County, California. Until being elected Bishop Coadjutor. In December 2016, he was elected to serve as Bishop Coadjutor of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles. In 2017 he succeeded J. Jon Bruno as bishop upon his retirement.

Death and state funeral of Richard Nixon state funeral

On April 22, 1994, Richard Milhous Nixon, the 37th President of the United States, died after suffering a stroke four days earlier, at the age of 81. His state funeral followed five days later at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in his hometown of Yorba Linda, California. His death was the first Presidential death in 21 years, when President Lyndon B. Johnson died in 1973.

Ronald H. Walker Director of the US National Park Service

Ronald H. Walker is an American executive. Walker served in the administration of President Richard Nixon, first as the first Director of the White House Office of Presidential Advance, and later as Director of the National Park Service (1972–1975). Walker went on to become a senior partner at Korn/Ferry International, President of the Richard Nixon Foundation, and is currently the Chairman of the Board of the Nixon Foundation.

Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act

The Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act (PRMPA) of 1974 is an act of Congress enacted in the wake of the August 1974 resignation of President Richard M. Nixon. It placed Nixon's presidential records into federal custody to prevent their destruction. The legislative action was intended to reduce secrecy, while allowing historians to fulfill their responsibilities.

Events from the year 1974 in the United States.

Richard Nixon Foundation non-profit organisation in the USA

The Richard Nixon Foundation is a not-for-profit organization based at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California. It was founded in August 1983 by Richard Nixon, 37th President of the United States, and served as the governing body of the Nixon Library for nearly twenty years. Today it operates the Nixon Library in conjunction with the National Archives and Records Administration, which is an entity of the federal government of the United States, in addition to undertaking charitable and education-based activities.

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum Presidential museum for U.S. President Gerald Ford in Grand Rapids, Michigan

The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum is the presidential museum and burial site of Gerald Ford, the 38th President of the United States (1974–1977), and his wife Betty Ford. It is located near the Pew Campus of Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Ford's presidential museum is the only such facility under the auspices of the National Archives and Records Administration to be separate from the presidential library, which is located approximately 130 miles (210 km) to the east in Ann Arbor. Despite the separation, the library and museum are a single institution with one director.

Wilson desk

The Wilson desk is a large mahogany desk used by Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford in the Oval Office as their Oval Office desk. One of only six desks used by a President in the Oval office, it was purchased between 1897 and 1899 by Garret Augustus Hobart, the 24th Vice President of the United States, for the Vice President's Room in the United States Capitol.

Nixon v. General Services Administration, 433 U.S 425 (1977), is a landmark court case concerning the principle of presidential privilege and whether the public is allowed to view a President's “confidential documents”. The Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act, signed into law by President Gerald Ford in 1974, ordered that the Administrator of General Services obtain President Richard Nixon’s presidential papers and tape recordings. In addition, the Act further ordered that government archivists seize these materials. These archivists would preserve the material deemed historic and return to former President Nixon the materials deemed private. Furthermore, this Act stated that material that was preserved could be used in judicial hearings and proceedings. Immediately after this Act was enacted, Richard Nixon filed a lawsuit in a federal district court claiming that the Act violated the principle of separation of powers, the principle of presidential privilege, Nixon's personal privacy, his First Amendment right of association, and further asserted that it amounted to a constitutionally prohibited Bill of Attainder.

Harry J. Middleton American journalist

Harry Joseph Middleton Jr. was an American journalist, author, and library director who served as Lyndon B. Johnson's Presidential speech writer and staff assistant from 1967 to 1969. Middleton was also director of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum from 1971 until 2002, and led the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation from 1993 until 2004.

Impeachment process against Richard Nixon 1970s preliminary process to remove the President of the United States

The impeachment process against Richard Nixon began in the United States House of Representatives on October 30, 1973, following the "Saturday Night Massacre" episode of the Watergate scandal. The House Committee on the Judiciary set up an impeachment inquiry staff and began investigations into possible impeachable offenses by Richard Nixon, the 37th president of the United States. The process was formally initiated on February 6, 1974, when the House granted the Judiciary Committee authority to investigate whether sufficient grounds existed to impeach President Nixon of high crimes and misdemeanors under Article II, Section 4, of the United States Constitution. This investigation was undertaken one year after the United States Senate established the Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities to investigate the 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C., and the Republican Nixon administration's attempted cover-up of its involvement; during those hearings the scope of the scandal became apparent and the existence of the Nixon White House tapes was revealed.

Pardon of Richard Nixon 1974 invocation of the United States Presidential pardon

The pardon of Richard Nixon was a presidential proclamation issued by President of the United States Gerald Ford on September 8, 1974. By it, Ford granted to Richard Nixon, his predecessor, a full and unconditional pardon for any crimes that he might have committed against the United States as president. In particular, the pardon covered Nixon's actions during the Watergate scandal. In a televised broadcast to the nation, Ford, who had succeeded to the presidency upon Nixon's resignation, explained that he felt the pardon was in the best interests of the country and that the Nixon family's situation was "a tragedy in which we all have played a part. It could go on and on and on, or someone must write the end to it. I have concluded that only I can do that, and if I can, I must."

References

  1. Gunther, John (1950). Roosevelt in Retrospect. Harper & Brothers. pp. 99–100.
  2. 1 2 Neumann, Janette (December 8, 1988). "Ground Broken for Nixon Library". The Yorba Linda Star.
  3. 1 2 Needham, John & Lesher, Dave (July 20, 1990). "Nixon Library Opens with Pomp, Tributes". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved August 28, 2009.
  4. Salazar, Denise (October 13, 2016). "Five Must See Features at the Renovated Nixon Library". The Orange County Register.
  5. Woodyard, Chris (November 11, 2016). "Nixon Library reboots for a new generation". USA Today.
  6. "Nixon Library Updates". Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  7. "Richard Nixon Library Offers Candid New Take on Watergate". The Post-Standard. Syracuse, NY. Associated Press. March 31, 2011. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  8. Walker, Ronald H. (August 2, 2010). "Response to Draft Watergate Exhibit" (PDF). Letter to Sharon Fawcett. Richard Nixon Foundation. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
  9. Nagrouney, Adam (August 7, 2010). "Watergate Becomes Sore Point at Nixon Library". The New York Times (New York ed.). p. A1. Retrieved August 16, 2010.
  10. Terrell, Jessica (August 11, 2010). "Editorial Weighs in on Nixon Exhibit Controversy". The Orange County Register .
  11. Nagourney, Adam (April 1, 2011). "Nixon Library Opens a Door Some Would Prefer Left Closed". The New York Times (New York ed.). p. A19. Retrieved April 1, 2011.
  12. Whiting, David (November 17, 2011). "Nixon Library Director Leaves Mixed Legacy". The Orange County Register. Retrieved March 22, 2012.
  13. "Archivist of the United States Appoints Director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum". December 15, 2014.

Further reading