The Reagan Library in Simi Valley

Went there in early February with HC12 and allotted kids, thereby concluding my series of visits to local presidential libraries.

The Old Air Force One at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley

Never again to slip the surly bonds of earth (probably).

Pros:

  • Air Force One on permanent display (the *old* Air Force One).
  • It’s like a museum of my life from 1981-88. And I kind of liked being nine years old.
  • Well, plus it seemed like there was an unusual number of momentous events that transpired during those eight years (although it may just be that those were the years of my life where I first started becoming aware of Everything).
  • One of four surviving copies of the Magna Charta was on display!
  • I get teary-eyed at Reagan’s speeches.
  • Fantastic opportunities to discuss the question of which is more important: the reality of an individual or the idea of an individual. Although I don’t think the two are quite as separate from each other in Reagan’s case as they may be in the case of, say, Nixon or Lincoln. But maybe I’m just romanticizing the 80s. And romanticizing being nine years old. Plus Nixon and Lincoln are extreme cases. IMHO.
  • Reagan is much more well-liked than Nixon and nothing at their respective libraries lets you forget that.

Cons

  • Clear out in Simi Valley.
  • Per the docents, the most interesting thing about the Magna Charta is the humidity inside the case that stores it.
  • I felt bad for Old Air Force One. It’s like they’re trying to tease it by showing it the outside world even though they’re never going to let it get out there and fly again.
  • The fudge they sell at the in-library pub was merely okay.

And not really a knock on the Reagan Library, but the Johnny Rockets in Agoura Hills left a lot to be desired. I think even my nephews would say as much.

Comparing the Nixon and Reagan libraries, obviously Reagan was much more impressive (Nixon has one of three helicopters he at some point used, while Reagan has freakin’ Air Force One, for example). Nixon comes across as a politician, while Reagan comes across as an icon who would’ve been an icon even if he’d never been president of the United States.

bkd

(Happy St. Patrick’s Day — fortunately, my blog is already green.)

The Nixon Library in Yorba Linda

A few (several?) weeks ago, I went out to Yorba Linda to check out the Nixon Library, seeing as it’s not that far away and I hadn’t ever been to a presidential library before. Ate lunch in Placentia at Carl’s Jr., among whose customers that day I believe I was the only one who hadn’t wrestled a badger for food at some point in the previous 24 hours.

Nixon Library, though. Was mostly about his life and times, with strong focus on his political career. I came away from the career retrospective thinking he was a tragic figure, betrayed by his own ambition that repeatedly overruled principles (I think his downfall came when he defied his mother and joined the Navy). Otherwise, it’s a pretty good humble beginnings-to-ultimate power story up until the whole Watergate thing.

The library doesn’t actually bring up Watergate. And anyway, I’m guessing Lincoln did worse than Watergate to John Breckinridge and we just don’t know about it b/c the MSM was all deferential and stuff back then.

Nixon’s birth house (the library is located on the land that used to be the family farm) was neat, but then I sort of just like old houses. Seems like it used space more efficiently than a modern house would, although I supposed there might be reasons why homes don’t have master bedrooms coming off the entry way any more.

Here’s a photo:

Reflecting Pool at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda

Reflecting pool with old farm house in the background!

And the docents were friendly.

bkd