Simi Valley’s “Must-See” DestinationBrandon Goudey
Simi Valley is home to The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum, one of thirteen Presidential Libraries in the United States, and certainly one of Southern California’s “must-see” destinations.
Perched on a mountaintop in Simi Valley with sweeping views of the surrounding mountains, valleys and the Pacific Ocean, the Reagan Library’s 300 acre site is one of the largest presidential libraries in the United States and also has the unique distinction of being the current home of Air Force One. Just 45 minutes from downtown Los Angeles, The Reagan Library, is located at 40 Presidential Drive, Simi Valley, numbered in honor of Reagan’s place as the 40th President.
Visitors to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library have the opportunity to step into a full scale replica of the Oval Office and as well as recreated White House state dinner, view the many permanent and changing exhibits, touch a piece of the Berlin wall, and actually walk onboard the Air Force One aircraft which flew seven U.S. presidents.
Sometimes called the “Flying White House,” from 1973 to 2001 Presidents Nixon, Carter, Ford, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton and George W. Bush all flew on Air Force One, tail number 27000. The huge Air Force One Pavilion houses Air Force One along with a presidential motorcade display with one of Ronald Reagan’s presidential limousines and secret service Suburban, and an actual Marine One helicopter.
Presidential Libraries are not traditional libraries, but rather repositories for preserving and making accessible the papers, records, and other historical materials of U.S. Presidents. Presidential Libraries and Museums bring history to millions of visitors from around the world for study and discussion without regard for political considerations or affiliations. Presidential Libraries and Museums, like their holdings, belong to the American people.
Before the beginning of the Presidential Library system, Presidents or their heirs often dispersed Presidential papers at the end of the administration. Though many pre-Hoover collections now reside in the Library of Congress, others are split among other libraries, historical societies, and private collections. Sadly, many materials have been lost or deliberately destroyed.
The Presidential Library system formally began in 1939, when President Franklin Roosevelt sought a better alternative. On the advice of noted historians and scholars, he established a public repository to preserve the evidence of the Presidency for future generations. Beginning a tradition that continues to this day, he raised private funds for the new facility and then turned it over to the United States government for operation through the National Archives.
The Office of Presidential Libraries administers a nationwide network of Presidential libraries beginning with the 31st President of the United States, Herbert Hoover.
Currently, the 13 U.S. Presidential Libraries include:
Herbert Hoover Library, West Branch, Iowa
Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, New York
Harry S. Truman Library, Independence, Missouri
Dwight D. Eisenhower Library, Abilene, Kansas
John F. Kennedy Library, Columbia Point, Boston Massachusetts
Lyndon B. Johnson Library, Austin, Texas
Richard Nixon Library, Yorba Linda, California
Gerald R. Ford Library, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Jimmy Carter Library, Atlanta, Georgia
Ronald Reagan Library, Simi Valley, California
George H. W. Bush Library, College Station, Texas
William J. Clinton Library, Little Rock, Arkansas
George W. Bush Library, Dallas, Texas