Thursday, August 26, 2010

Reagan Presidential Library

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The big thing to do here in Simi Valley is to visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum. We knew that, of course, and that's why we stopped in Simi Valley. The other reason is that there is a Costco store with a gas station, and we were nearly out of gas after driving 679 miles through the LA freeways Tuesday.

The Reagan library sits atop a lovely hill overlooking gorgeous residential and agricultural areas, with a view to the Pacific Ocean on those seldom days that the ocean can be seen. Because it was a mid-week day, there were no overwhelming crowds, just enough people to make it interesting.

Throughout the museum, flash photography is prohibited, and in many areas the ambient light is only moderate, making successful photography a challenge -- a challenge that we gladly took on. Of course, there were the usual idiots who went ahead and took flash pictures anyway, blaming it on the fact that their cameras were automatic, so they had no choice. Duh! Stop taking pictures!

The major attractions here were the replica of the Oval Office, complete with President Reagan's actual desk (the same one that Presidents Hayes, FDR, and JFK used), and much of the other furniture and furnishings that were in the room the day President Reagan took office; Air Force One, the Boeing 707 that served seven US Presidents (from Richard Nixon to the second George Bush); Marine One (the Presidential Helicopter); the Rose Garden; an immense but miniature White House model; the Berlin Wall segment; and the Burial Site. The rest of the library is being renovated and was unavailable for our visit.


You've seen pictures of John-John Kennedy crawling around under this desk. The "modesty panel" was added by FDR who didn't want anyone to see the wheelchair he was forced to sit in.


This version of Air Force One, the one used by the seven Presidents, is 152 feet 11 inches long, with a wingspan of 145 feet 9 inches. No pictures were allowed inside. This picture was "stitched" together for your viewing convenience.

And of course, there was the required "photo op" of us boarding Air Force One!

The folks that take and sell these pictures told us they liked our shot and asked permission to display it in their booth! Of course we said yes (and they gave us two free 5X7 copies of the picture -- whoopee!)

Marine One is the name of the helicopter that shuttles the President from the White House to  Andrews Air Force Base. On occasion it goes other places. One time President Reagan actually had it with him on a visit to Mexico City.

The ROSE GARDEN -- slightly underwhelming at 3/4 scale; we had always heard that President Whoever made the major statements from THE ROSE GARDEN, and this was not what we expected to see:

The WHITE HOUSE in MINIATURE: this is a temporary feature at the Reagan Library. It has been decades in the making, is updated for every new President, and has visited all 50 states. Scale is about 1 inch to 1 foot.

The BERLIN WALL Segment: this is a section of the Berlin Wall that was donated to the Reagan Library. Carl Kartcher of Carl's, Jr donated $150,000 to have it shipped to the Library!

This is a view of the western side of the wall. The graphics are as they were in the day (just refreshed from time to time). The eastern side was painted white so that those attempting escape would be easier for the sharpshooters to target!

The BURIAL SITE: the quote on the wall reads, "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."

Although this is a long post, I have to add that there was a special feature this month -- a display of classic motorcycles. Several dozen of them, including a few created especially for movies.

From one of the "Back to the Future" flicks.

Back to the Bat Cave, Holey Moley!

And of course, the Reagan presidential limousine.

Last but certainly not least, the "Jelly Belly" portraits!

If you are still with us, bless you! We have many more photos (mostly disorganized) in our web album 2010 Reagan Library. See you next time in ... Our Life on Wheels!


  1. We toured this library way back in the mid-90's and have wanted to make a return visit. It is a beautiful place. Hey, now you 2 are celebrities with your photo op. :)

    RE your previous post: I was sorry to read about the wind damage to your park in Benson. Hope everything will be OK for you and all the folks that live there.

  2. I enjoyed your tour of the Reagan library and museum. Your shirts were very appropriate for your visit--no wonder they wanted to use your photos. Good job getting the photo for free!

    We've been to the Reagan library but it was quite a few years ago, so we didn't see some of the things you wrote about.

  3. Looks like a great place to visit, it is on our list.

    Thanks for the tour.

  4. Thank you for the recognition. Lynn and I visited the Reagan Library last October. It is a beautiful Library. While you are in the area and if you haven't yet visited, the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda is also very interesting.

  5. What a great post. How's the knee doing?

  6. Thanks for the great tour and pictures of the President Reagan Museum. Your pictures turned out extremely well and the no-flash edict didn't seem to matter at all.

    I just might have to make a stop in Simi Valley next year just to get a pic of us going onto Air Force 1!

  7. Wow, what an awesome experience. We now have to put the Reagan Library and Museum on our list of "To Do's". Great pictures.

  8. What a nice tour of the library! I've never made it there, and may not since I hate California traffic, after living there and suffering it for so many years. Loved the Jelly Belly art!

  9. Thanks Jerry! Sandy and I enjoyed every word and photo. President Reagan was one of our favorite Presidents. The likelihood of our getting tovisit his library is slim. We thank you for the tour.

  10. Top of our Bucket List for sure. Thanks for sharing all your great pictures. Love the one with Air Force 1.

  11. I seem to recall President Regan's funeral being broadcast from there years ago. Not likely we'll ever see the Library but I'm sure I would find it interesting if we did. Only Air Force 1 plane I've been aboard is the one sitting at the Davis Monthan Airbase in Tucson. It was one of President Kennedy's planes & I was surprised at how old the technology all looked.

  12. Top site, I hadn't come across previously during my searches!
    Continue the superb work!

  13. Hi Jerry & Suzy - thanks for the mention. I enjoyed reading your post about the Reagan Museum. Have you been to the Nixon museum in Yorba Linda - its not quite as grandiose as the Reagan Library but its def worth a visit.

    ~ Dave


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