Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Nixon Library & Birthplace turns 20

This past weekend, the Nixon Presidential Library & Museum (originally called the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace) in Yorba Linda began a year-long celebration of its 20th year. Was it really that long ago?
The image above and the image immediately below show the house Nixon was born and raised in as it appeared during his vice presidency. The latter appeared in the 6-15-1959 issue of the Yorba Linda Star.
The Nixon Library's dedication took place on July 19, 1990, with a crowd of 50,000, sweltering heat, and super-tight security. Presidents Bush (Sr.), Ford, Reagan, Nixon and their wives were there, along with a host of other dignitaries and celebrities.
My friends John and Ross and I all volunteered to help at the event. This meant we had to be vetted by the Secret Service and attend a series of training sessions. (The photo below shows us at the Library's fountain after one of the training meetings.) At the end of one such meeting, Nixon and his entire family came out and thanked the volunteers in person. That was the highlight of the whole thing for me -- Getting to see a President and First Lady in person.
Dedication day itself was a crazy swirl of activity, and I ended up bussing tables and pouring soft drinks for a cordoned-off area full of second-tier bigwigs. (At one point, I nearly literally ran into Gene Autry.) I could barely see the speakers, but I was still glad I volunteered. How often do you get to be in the midst of a historic event? Besides, they let us keep the cool "RN" neckties they gave us to wear that day.
(Yes, I will stop working photos of myself into my posts now. Sorry.)
This past Monday, (two days after President Nixon's birthday,) the Nixon Library made about 280,000 more pages of textural materials available to the public, along with a variety of audio-visual materials.
Free admission will be offered to their museum on Feb. 15 for Presidents Day.


walterworld said...

What a great experience that must have been...

I've enjoyed my regular sojourns to the Nixon Library and Birthplace since my first visit in 1997; glad to see that you were there from the start!


Let's Talk Knott's said...

No Jimmy Carter? Are the openings of the libraries partisan events or was the peanut man just busy that day?

Chris Jepsen said...

Some say he was out in the crowd giving away Panama hats. But in truth, he simply did not attend.

outsidetheberm said...

Nice post.

My eldest daughter took part in the opening ceremony that day. Girl Scouts. Ah, memories...

Pasadena Adjacent said...

somewhere I have a post card of a Yorba Linda float with the description "from our house to the white house" or something to that effect