Family friendly adventure oftentimes is intertwined with learning. We explore museums and parks along the way, learning about the area or the historical events that happened during a time period. When we moved to California, we discovered that two presidential libraries are located in Southern California. The Nixon and Reagan Presidential Libraries and museum in Yorba Linda and Simi Valley respectively offer the ability to walk through the lives of the presidents, sit in their White Houses and offer seasonal programming and rotating exhibits. A budget-friendly way to see these is through NARA.
NARA, or National Archives and Records Administration, holds the records for the US government, including the Presidential Libraries around the US. There are two notable acts in regards to what access is allowed to the public. The 1978 Presidential Records Act (PRA)which noted that any records created by a President during their term as part of their duties to the government would be managed by NARA. In addition, paperwork and materials utilized, written and notated on during that president’s tenure are available at the libraries. Use of presidential materials at the libraries is not always accessible. Through the Freedom of Information Act, after 5 years has passed since the end of the administration, the public may submit requests to view the records.
In addition to the libraries, the museums are full of history. The Ronald Reagan Museum offers a walk-through of what the Berlin Wall would looked, sounded and felt like. It makes something that is only read about in history books into a real life something for myself, and our children. At the Richard Nixon Presidental Library and Museum, you can visit Nixon’s childhood home with the original kitchen and bedrooms. For the older children and adults who understand it, you can listen to audio tape from the Watergate Scandal at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.
Both the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum and the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum offer annual memberships. With these memberships, you can pay one price to see all 13 Presidential Libraries. Once the Obama Presidential Library opens in Chicago in 2020, there will be 14 Presidential Libraries. If you are traveling across the country, especially on the southern route, you could potentially see 4 of 5! Spend one cost for the family and know there will fun, air-conditioned, and educational stops along the way.
The current Libraries and Museums:
~ Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum
Neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him.
-Dwight D. Eisenhower
Learning about history, our history, and the history of the world around us, shapes us. It engages our thinking, and provides context for our world. While PCSing, or living in a new area, consider checking out a Presidential Library as a way to get an intimate look at some of American’s leaders and the role of the U.S. since 1929.
Will you go to a presidential library? Have you been to one or two, or more?