I'd heard of the presidential libraries that were created for each president of the U.S. after they left office. I thought libraries were a great idea to commemorate past presidents, and envisioned beautiful monumental buildings in each past president's home town, dedicated to education and free knowledge. I figured they'd be, well, libraries; special branches indeed, but part of a library system where you could sign out your copy of Goodnight Moon, or the Gipper's autobiography, or whatever.
Ha! Not exactly. For one thing, visiting this "library" costs $21 admission. Also, I don't think I saw a single book! But, I did enjoy my visit to the Ronald Reagan Presidential "Library" and Museum.
Here are some photos from the drive there:
Winding up the long driveway to the library. Each president (democrats too!) gets his own banner on a pole:
I don't think they let most of them keep their own Air Force One plane when they leave office. This was definitely the coolest exhibit there:
Motorcade frozen in time on the tarmac:
You get to go inside the plane! Fun! No photos allowed inside though. It's not as luxurious as you might imagine, maybe the newer ones are. Ronnie and Nancy each had their own small cabins at the front of the plane, and their own galley and bathroom. Then various sections of seating as you move back the plane for various levels of big-shots down to littler-shots. Seating is mostly set up train-style, with tables for working as they fly. Seats get skinnier and more numerous as you move back, just like in real life.
He even got to keep a decommissioned helicopter! Actually, I think all this aviation stuff was installed in 2005, and added on to the existing "library".
There's a full-scale replica of the oval office:
This was one of my favourite artifacts- the Gipper in Jellybeans!
You get to take one of the decommissioned horses out for a spin on Ronnie's ranch... it's no fair though, they make you ride the one with no legs.
Most interesting part of the exhibit- the suit Reagan was wearing during the assassination attempt. You can see the bullet holes, and how they had cut it off him at the hospital. It was a brand new suit, too!
View from the back yard of the "library", it really is in a beautiful setting.
I couldn't resist this little souvenir of the trip. Now I can honestly say, Ronald Reagan is my ruler! I may be ungovernable, but everybody needs a ruler.