Richard Milhouse Nixon was the 37th President of the United States. He served between 1969 and 1974, and is the only U.S. President to have resigned the office.
The Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, California is the repository of the documents and records of the 37th President, and as such preserves an important, troubled legacy of Nixon’s tenure as the Commander-in-Chief and the highest public office in the nation.
The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum is part of a federal government agency known as the Office of Presidential Libraries, which is part of the National Archives. There are not as many Presidential Libraries as there are Presidents; the list includes (but is not limited to) the following:
- Harry S. Truman Library
- Dwight D. Eisenhower Library
- John F. Kennedy Library
- Lyndon B. Johnson Library
- Richard Nixon Library
- Gerald R. Ford Library
- Jimmy Carter Library
- Ronald Reagan Library
- William J. Clinton Library
- George W. Bush Library
- Barack Obama Library
The origin story of Presidential Libraries goes back to 1939 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt urged better preservation of Presidential artifacts and documents. But it would take a few years to codify; the Presidential Libraries Act of 1955 made such preservation a government effort.
The museum features an impressive collection of permanent galleries. These break down various phases of Nixon’s life and at times get very specific, depending on the era. Most visitors begin their tour in the theater in the complex with a brief orientation film. Museum walk-throughs typically start in the Wave Of Change gallery which documents time between 1960 and Nixon’s election.
The Back To The Beginning Gallery presents a timeline of the President’s time in the Oval Office, his resignation, and his return to private life. Another exhibit explores Nixon’s life post-presidency and a short film, Epilogue, at the end of the tour.
There have been many surprises over the years for those visiting the Library. In the Domestic Affairs Gallery, a customized 1969 Lincoln Continental used as the President’s limousine during his tenure. Visitors have also been treated to a 12-foot chunk of the Berlin Wall, and the President’s VH-3A helicopter used to ferry Nixon to Camp David and back. That is the same helicopter he departed the White House in on the day of his official resignation from office.
Nixon Library Hours & Information
The information presented here is current at press time, but hours may change due to public health issues, policy changes, holidays, and special events.
Address: 18001 Yorba Linda Blvd, Yorba Linda, CA 92886
Phone: (714) 983-9120
Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday 10:00am-5:00pm
The 37th President of the United States was born in 1913. He attended Whittier College, graduated from Duke University Law School, and became a Navy Lieutenant Commander during World War Two.
After the war, Nixon ran for a California congressional seat, and became a senator in 1950. In 1952, General Dwight Eisenhower asked Nixon to be his running mate and served as Vice President of the United States. In 1968, after a failed attempt to run against John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon ran for President and won, defeating Hubert Humphrey and George Wallace, who ran as a third party candidate.
Nixon made several important moves as President; he visited China which was a first for any American President in the 20th century. He also ended the American involvement in Vietnam, and reached a nuclear agreement with the now-former U.S.S.R. But trouble was on the horizon thanks to a scandal 20th and 21st century historians have come to call Watergate.
During the 1972 Presidential campaign, operatives working under the auspices of the Committee To Reelect The President broke into the offices of the Democratic National Committee. There was an attempted coverup, there were resignations, and in court the office of the President could not produce complete, untampered-with tape recordings of White House phone calls required by the investigators.
The tape recordings did reveal Nixon’s lies about not being involved with the Watergate break-in, and many Americans saw the “writing on the wall”, especially after the dedicated efforts of a pair of Washington Post reporters named Woodward and Berstein, who submitted breaking news story after breaking news story about the Watergate cover up.
A move to impeach the President was thwarted by Nixon’s subsequent resignation. Gerald Ford, Nixon’s Vice President, pardoned Nixon and allowed him to retreat into private life.
Post-pardon, Richard Nixon wrote several books about politics and what it means to live a public life. He died on April 22, 1994. Nixon is buried at the site of the Nixon Library.
The Presidential Museum provides historical context for Nixon’s life and career, and features the kit home Nixon was born in, restored to look the way it did in the early 1900s. The President and the First Lady, Pat Nixon, are buried only a few feet away from this restored home.
The facility is situated on land once owned by Nixon. The facility was built on nine acres that includes Nixon’s birthplace, which is on the National Historic Landmark register. The library was dedicated in 1990, and operated by the Richard Nixon Foundation independently between 1994 and 2007. Post 2007, the Library became a joint operation with the National Archives.
The Nixon Library and Museum is home to the Annenberg Court and the Katharine B. Loker Center, located in a more recent wing (built in 2004). This area contains a recreation of the East Room in the White House which can be rented out for special events at the museum.
The complex saw a major renovation in 2016, and when it reopened there were new exhibits such as the recreation of the Nixon Oval Office. The facility was fitted with touchscreen displays and other interactive options, and these new features got rave reviews at the time.
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Joe Wallace has been covering real estate, mortgage and financial topics since 1995. His work has appeared on ABC, The Pentagon Channel, Veteran.com plus a variety of print and online publications. He is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News.