Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Reagan Presidential Library


Since friends Don and Dorothy told me about visiting presidential libraries in their travels, I decided I'd do the same. There are two in California, so this is where I'll start my tour of these museums.

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum is in Simi Valley, California. The view from the patio out back is beautiful. We were fortunate to have a clear day.


Inside, there's a replica of the Oval Office as it appeared when Reagan was president. Somehow, it seemed smaller than I expected.


In the Air Force One Pavillion there are various transportation vehicles like this Secret Service Suburban. There was a small exhibit about the Secret Service too.


Here's the big exhibit, a Boeing 707 that was Air Force One for seven presidents. It's smaller than the Boeing 747 that's now used for presidential transport. We did get to go inside this aircraft, but taking pictures isn't allowed.


Here's a helicopter that was used as Marine One with the 707 in the background. We were allowed to go in the helicopter too.


There was a special exhibit called "Spy: The Secret World of Espionage." There were documents and gadgets on display, like this cipher machine, called Enigma, from Germany which was used during WWII.


There were also various concealment gadgets like this shoe and a tooth used to carry information by spies.



There was this nice display of lock-picking tools. I've always been fascinated by lock-picking and safe-cracking.


Outside is an actual piece of the Berlin Wall. I snagged this picture from the presidential library website. The lighting wasn't good for my own picture.


Personal note: While in the Air Force, I was most fortunate in having the opportunity to tour the Berlin Wall as few others have done - in an Army helicopter all the way around the whole wall. It was both scary and fascinating and one of my most memorable experiences.

Of course, there was much more in this museum, including many documents, videos, movies, sculptures, paintings, gifts from foreign nations, etc., presenting much opportunity to learn some history. Had I thought of this before last summer, I could have visited a few more presidential libraries during my trek back east. I may need to return so that I can check them out in future travels. Click here to read more about presidential libraries and see where they are located.