Column: Remembering President Reagan

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The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, Calif., contains millions of items related to the life of Reagan and his service as governor of California and president of the United States. The most popular item on display required a more than 50 percent increase in the facility’s size.

The Reagan Library and Museum sits on a 100-acre hilltop about 40 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, providing a view of the Pacific Ocean. When it opened in 1991, the building’s 3 1//2 acres of interior space made it the largest presidential library. Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan and Bush 41 attended the dedication, the first time in history five U.S. presidents had all been together. The Reagan Library and Museum lost its title as the largest when President Clinton’s library opened in 2004. It regained the title in 2005 with the opening of a 90,000-square-foot addition to hold the airplane that served as Air Force One for Reagan and six other presidents until it was taken out of service in 2001. The Boeing 707 was disassembled and transported to its new home, where it was reassembled inside.

Visitors to the facility are greeted by life-size statues of President Reagan and Mrs. Reagan. They can then watch one of three holograms of an actor portraying Reagan, accompanied by his words. Visitors can then see a full-size replica of the Oval Office, exactly as it was during Reagan’s term as president, including the famous jar of “Jelly Belly” beans and a reproduction of the Resolute Desk to which Reagan added a 2-inch base to accommodate his height. After a tour of Air Force One, as it was during Reagan’s term, visitors can walk along a recreated White House Rose Garden and end their visit at the burial site of Ronald and Nancy Reagan.


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