Nixon Library and Birthplace Marks Anniversary: 1990-2010

Jul 15, 2010, 05:00 ET from The Richard Nixon Foundation

Three Days of gala celebration events planned July 16-18

YORBA LINDA, Calif., July 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On a hot July 19, 1990, more than 50,000 Nixon friends, family, fans, neighbors, and former administration and campaign officials gathered on the grounds surrounding his modest birthplace, the same site that later became the Richard Nixon Elementary School, to dedicate a $22 million library campus recognizing the life and legacy of America's 37th President.

"The Nixon Library and Birthplace has experienced an extraordinary twenty years of attendance and popular public programming, and we've operated in the black," said Ronald H. Walker, Foundation President and the man who President Nixon put in charge of the grand opening ceremonies for the library bearing his name in 1990.

Twenty years and 3.3 million visitors later, the Nixon Foundation has produced the most active public programming of any of the Presidential Libraries, including a three-day 20th anniversary reunion and celebration this week, featuring:

  • A wreath laying ceremony at the memorials of President and Mrs. Nixon with the President and Mrs. Nixon's daughter, Tricia Nixon Cox, participating. 11:30 am, Friday (7/16)
  • An old-fashioned Yorba Linda BBQ in the Pat Nixon First Lady Gardens. Noon, Friday (7/16)
  • A poolside dinner at La Casa Pacifica, President Nixon's Western White House. 5:00 pm, Friday (7/16)
  • A luncheon in honor of First Lady Pat Nixon, featuring Roger Williams, "Pianist to the Presidents." Noon, Saturday (7/17)
  • A Nixon Legacy Forum on How Richard Nixon Will be Remembered: The Legacy of the 37th President, with panelists who served in senior positions in the Nixon White House. 2:00 pm, Saturday (7/17) Panelists include:
    • Fred Malek, Special Assistant and Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Nixon Administration
    • Barbara Franklin, Staff Assistant to President Nixon and Secretary of Commerce under President George H.W. Bush
    • Larry Higby, Special Assistant and Assistant Chief-of-Staff in the Nixon White House
    • Tod Hullin, a member of the Domestic Council for Urban Affairs in the Nixon Administration
    • Bobby Kilberg, Special Assistant on Native American issues in the Nixon Administration
  • A gala East Room dinner featuring keynote speaker Ben Stein. 6:00 pm, Saturday (7/17)
  • A breakfast cruise in Newport Harbor aboard The Wild Goose, John Wayne's legendary yacht. 9:00 am, Sunday (7/18)

"It's amazing that each of our twenty years seems to be more exciting than the last. This year's Nixon Legacy forums, national policy conference in Washington, campus tour of Nixon Center scholars, the growth of our global online presence, and our continually well received public programming makes it one of the most exciting yet," said Kris Elftmann, Chairman of the Board of the Nixon Foundation.

As one of California's most popular tourist attractions, the Nixon Library and Birthplace has attracted over 3.3 million visitors since 1990, many from around the world.

In 2004, the museum nearly doubled in size with the opening of the Katherine B. Loker Center and Annenberg Court entrance pavilion. The 47,000 square foot expansion included an exact replica of the White House East Room – the largest room in the Executive Mansion – as both a visitor attraction and an event venue. Through the generosity of Ambassador and Mrs. George Argyros, a board room and conference suite was also built. The addition provided generous space for dinner galas, lectures, school programs, conferences, social events and corporate meetings. The East Room, the Presidential Reception Rooms, and the Argyros Suites are Southern California's premier special event venue.

The Library is enriched by a guild of 160 trained volunteer docents who greet and help guide millions of children, adults, grandparents, tourists, and others throughout the museum and its beautifully landscaped grounds. The Docent Guild has volunteered nearly 600,000 service hours. In addition, the Guild conducts several community outreach programs:

Every year the Docent Scholarship Committee awards local high school seniors with college scholarships. In 20 years, 60 students have received $60,000 in scholarships.

The Nixon Foundation Geography Program tests students on their knowledge of geography and docents present them with awards in annual ceremonies in the East Room. More than 30,000 students have participated in the award program's 16 year history.

School tours are common educational opportunities which provide both local and non-local school children with an understanding of the life and times of President Nixon. In twenty years, over 120,000 students have participated in 2,400 school tours, averaging 6,000 students guided on 120 tours annually.

The Nixon Foundation presents free family concerts each week as a cultural benefit for the community. The weekly musical menus include school orchestras, barbershop choruses, classical groups, and solo performances by Southern California's most accomplished musicians.

The Nixon Library and Birthplace has traditionally been the most active of all the Libraries in the arena of public affairs and policy programming. Since 1990, the Nixon Foundation has hosted over 350 distinguished speakers, including Presidents, Vice Presidents, First Ladies, six Governors, many members of Congress, several Cabinet secretaries, United Nations Ambassadors, and many foreign leaders, as well as distinguished authors, from Doris Kearns Goodwin to Bill O'Reilly.

The Nixon Foundation has taken full advantage of the communications opportunities provided by the world wide web and produces constantly updated programming on the life and legacy of the 37th President, and on activities of the Foundation at Reaching a global audience interested in President Nixon, the Foundation offers speaker webcasts and one-on-one interviews with noted officials who served in the Administration, as well as distinguished commentators and authors on today's policy debates.

The Nixon Foundation has hosted 11 national policy conferences and high-level government meetings, and the current series of monthly Nixon Legacy Forums exploring RN's initiatives in foreign and domestic policies. In 2008, the Chinese/American Trade Conference featured high-level meetings on international trade regulations between the U.S. and Chinese governments.

RN created the Nixon Center in 1994, located in Washington, D.C. The nonpartisan institute explores ways of enhancing American security and prosperity with an array of conferences, briefings, seminars, lectures, and other events designed to advance U.S. foreign policy debates on crucial political, economic, and security issues.

The Nixon Foundation built and has operated the Library and Birthplace for 17 years (1990-2007) without any taxpayer dollars. In 2007, the Foundation agreed to become part of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) system of Presidential Libraries. As a result, a new 18,000 square foot storage facility was built and the Presidential papers, artifacts, and audiovisual materials were moved to Yorba Linda, so that the President's birthplace, memorials, galleries, and records are all at one location.

The permanent museum exhibits include several galleries and theaters, which trace the early life, Congressional career, Vice Presidency, Presidency, and retirement years of Richard Nixon. Among the most popular of the exhibits are ten life-sized statues of world leaders who RN thought "made a difference." The Pat Nixon gallery chronicles the First Lady's life with several of her well-known White House gowns displayed. The museum boasts two exact replicas of meaningful rooms to the President, including the Lincoln Sitting Room in the White House and former President Nixon's New Jersey private study. Notable artifacts from President Nixon's life and time in office include the 1969 Lehmann-Peterson presidential limousine; an authentic, 12-foot high piece of the Berlin Wall; and President Nixon's former Marine One, the original Sikorsky VH-3A "Sea King" which flew the President on 181 missions.

The Richard Nixon Foundation, a not-for-profit organization at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, 18001 Yorba Linda Blvd., Yorba Linda. The museum is open daily 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and Sundays 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. For more information about events or exhibits, please call (714) 993-5075 or visit the Foundation online at

SOURCE The Richard Nixon Foundation