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GOOD NEWS: The Reagan Museum

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Center for Public Affairs is the official title of the presidential library of Ronald Wilson Reagan, the 40th President of the United States. Located in Simi Valley, California, about 40 miles (64 km) northwest of Downtown Los Angeles, the library may be accessed by driving to the Olsen Road exit of State Route 23, which connects to the nearby Ronald Reagan Freeway, State Route 118. Finding it can be a wee bit difficult because of the California Highway signage system. A GPS certainly helps.

The dedication ceremonies on November 4, 1991 were the first time in United States history that five United States Presidents gathered together in the same place. They were Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, four former presidents, and the sitting president, George H. W. Bush.

Six First Ladies also attended: Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon, Betty Ford, Rosalynn Carter, Nancy Reagan, and Barbara Bush.

(In 2013, at the George W. Bush dedication ceremony in Texas, the five Presidents gathering occurred again.)

A full scale replica of the Oval Office - a feature of most presidential libraries - is a prominent element of this museum as shown in the picture above. It's really fun to stand in "the President's office".

The desk is a copy of the Resolute Desk which was made from the timbers of HMS Resolute, an abandoned British ship discovered by an American vessel and returned to the Queen of England as a token of friendship and goodwill. When the ship was retired, Queen Victoria commissioned the desk from William Evenden, Royal Naval Dockyard at Chatham, England, and presented it to President Rutherford Hayes in 1880. The desk is used as a prominent plot device in the motion picture, "National Treasure: Book of Secrets".

And here is the Presidential Seal woven into the Oval Office carpet. No, you can't walk on but you are very close to it.

Each Presidential replica differs in decor and especially in photos and mementos. The left most sign on the desk says, "THERE'S NO LIMIT to what a man can do, if he doesn't care who gets the credit." The larger sign to the right of it says, "It CAN Be Done." Both were favorite sayings of President Reagan.

Shown here is the famous V. I. P. door into the President's oval office which you have seen in so many films and television shows.

A 90,000-square-foot (8,400 mi) exhibit "hangar" serves as the setting for the permanent display of the Boeing 707 aircraft utilized as Air Force One during Reagan's administration. The aircraft, SAM 27000, was also used by six other presidents in its active service life from 1973-2001, including Richard Nixon during his second term, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.

Here is the ramp leading up to the plane walkthrough. The is not the Boeing 747 familiar to many from the Harrison Ford film, "Air Force One." The plane here is very impressive from the outside, and of course, any jet designated AF1 is exciting, but the interior is narrow (like a 707's is) and doesn't lend itself to interesting photography.

One of the Presidential helicopters, a Johnson-era Sikorsky VH-3 "Sea King," call sign Marine One. These usually took off in threes to confuse possible terrorists.

Here is Ronald Reagan's 1984 Cadillac presidential parade limousine.

In this closeup you can see the license plate which bears a head shot of Ronald Reagan in a cowboy hat and the plate name "Gipper" after the character Reagan played in "Knute Rockne" which became his respectful nickname.

One of the most popular temporary exhibits, titled "Nancy Reagan: A First Lady's Style" features over 80 designer dresses belonging to Nancy Reagan. The famous Bill Blass red dress Mrs. Reagan wore to the second inaugural ball is on the right.

A table set with the Nancy Reagan White House China for the President, the First Lady and six lucky guests.

The note in Ronald Reagan's handwriting announcing to the world that he was suffering from the beginning stages of Alzheimer's Disease.

Reagan's tomb and memorial site are on the Library grounds. The inscription says,

"I know in my heart that man is good

That what is right will always eventually triumph

And there is purpose and worth to each and every life

Many thanks to Wikipedia

All photographs are from TheCOOLpix Archive.


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