Archives Spotlight: The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum

Today’s post comes from Nikita Buley, an intern in the National Archives Office of Strategy and Communications.

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum is located in Simi Valley, California—about 40 miles northwest of Los Angeles—and holds over 60 million pages of documents, 1.6 million photographs, hundreds of thousands of feet of audiovisual material, and 40,000 artifacts.

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California (Reagan Library)

In the Air Force One Pavilion, you can tour Air Force One (tail number 27000). This airplane carried Presidents Nixon, Carter, Ford, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush all over the world and the United States. This “Flying White House” was integral to Reagan’s presidency: he wrote many speeches, signed legislation, and relaxed while traveling in Air Force One.

Reagan putts a golf ball on Air Force One, November 16, 1985 (ARC 198571)

You can also visit an exhibit on Presidential motorcades. Vehicles include one of Reagan’s presidential limousines, Secret Service suburbans, and a Marine One helicopter that flew President Johnson.

Air Force One Pavilion (Reagan Library)

The Museum also features a reconstructed Oval Office, showing how President Reagan decorated using warm, earthy colors. He even displayed a collection of bronzed saddles.

The Oval Office in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum (Reagan Library)

One of President Reagan’s greatest goals while in office was to end the Cold War. He held many diplomatic talks with Mikhail Gorbachev. He  addressed Berlin in 1982 and in 1987, when he spoke in front of the Brandenburg Gate—an ornate 18th-century entrance gate that served as a symbol of European division. The museum features a piece of the Berlin Wall, which stands outside the building. Inside the museum, a permanent exhibit addresses the political issues surrounding the Berlin Wall and Reagan’s involvement in bringing it down.

Ronald Reagan speaks in the Federal Republic of Germany in front of the Brandenburg Gate, which is blocked by the Berlin Wall, June 12, 1987 (ARC 198585)

The museum’s current temporary exhibit, on display from July 2012 to April 2013, features over 500 Disney artifacts from almost 90 years of Disney history, 50 percent of which have never been seen by the public. Artifacts include original scripts, props, artworks, models, and costumes, as well as a reconstruction of Walt Disney’s formal office from the Walt Disney Studios. The exhibit also addresses Reagan and Disney’s long personal friendship and professional relationship.

Visitors may also want to pay respects to President Reagan’s final resting place, which is located at the library.

The inscription on President Reagan’s memorial 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.”  (Reagan Library)


There’s something to fascinate everyone at the Ronald Reagan Library and Museum. Visit them, follow them on Twitter, and like them on Facebook!

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