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).


  • 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.


  • 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.


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


  • telkontar

    Lincoln is underestimated as a man. The use of him as a symbol and his deification do go overboard.
    I read a book of Reagan speeches while in Law school. I might have cried.

  • bkdunn

    I really should’ve gone to see him when he came to the Marriott Center. Maybe next life. (Or did he just come to visit the law school…? It’d be nice to have that excuse if so.)

  • HC12

    1. RE: BKD. I appreciate how appropriately he removed his ball cap when we arrived at Reagan’s grave at the end of the tour and how he reminded others to do the same.

    2. I had a spiritual experience next to the Magna Carta as I pondered the world AD.

    3 The recollection of Johnny Rockets on Royal Caribbean is better than its reality on land. Just ask my kids.

    4. My 14 y/o son learned something, became teary eyed and sat silently after watching the assassination attempt video–God bless(es) America.