YORBA LINDA, CA (KTVI) – Yorba Linda, California Is the home of California’s native son.
‘For me it’s very special because I’ve always known the back story of my great uncle Dick,’ says Devon Nixon, Great Nephew. ‘But coming to the library you really have the opportunity to read everything wall to wall and truly appreciate what he did not only for the United States but also for the whole world.’
Step inside the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum And your visit starts in the White House.
From there you’ll make your way back through time.
‘This is to scale,’ says Dr. Gregory Cumming, Staff Historian Richard Nixon Presidential Library. ‘It’s an exact replica of the oval office during the Nixon administration. In fact, Pat Nixon was the one who chose the colors representing the state of California. This is the first oval office that had the insignia in the carpeting. It’s always been on the ceiling; this is the first time in the carpeting as well.’
When first opened as a private library and museum in 1990, Nixon was heavily involved in this space.
Here you can walk in his footsteps and what he wrote along the way.
‘Loved to write,’ says Cumming. ‘Sometimes it was just his speeches. Other times it was goals he wanted to achieve, things he wanted to do. He was a constant writer. He loved to sit down and put his thoughts on paper and we have all those notes here in the exhibit as well. You get to see what the president was actually thinking and trying to achieve.’
Through Nixon`s notepads you can get an idea of what he was thinking for the entire five years and six months while in the White House.
‘There are 3,700 hours of taped conversations from the Nixon years, some more notorious than others and those are on display here at the Nixon library,’ says Joe Lopez, Communications Director Richard Nixon Foundation.
‘We have about 30,000 items, three dimensional items,’ says Cumming. ‘We have about 50-million pages of presidential records, thousands of hours of White House recordings.’
The interactive display called “Listening In” allows you to hear the 37th president’s conversations to aides, family and friends.
‘The Nixon presidency is one of the most well documented presidencies in history because of this fact,’ says Lopez. ‘Because you can actually go in and listen to the president on a day to day basis.’
As you make your way through the museum remember to look up to see a couple of astronauts defying gravity, honoring Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, and the first people to walk on the moon.
You can size yourself up to the man who created the EPA and opened relations with China in 1972.
‘It’s important and tells the story that United States is no longer going to ignore China and no longer is China going to ignore the United States,’ says Cumming. ‘It’s truly the handshake that reaches across the Pacific Ocean.’
In July 2007, this site opened as an official presidential library.
Most recently in October 14th, 2016 it reopened after remodeling.
Here you can see Nixon’s military uniform he wore as a Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy during World War II.
Before that he wore this letterman jacket while playing football as a teenager.
‘So, he and his Father built this desk,’ says Lopez. ‘It was the first desk he used coming out of law school at Duke University. The sides are old orange crates and the top of it is a door that they smoothed out.’
Nixon used this desk his first few years as an attorney in Southern California.
‘He was born in a society that still wasn’t a car culture in the state of California,’ says Cumming.
‘He was born in a society that didn’t really have the telephone. Yes, it was invented but not used as post presidential. America and Los Angeles in particular was still semi-rural.’
Just 37 miles from downtown Los Angeles, it’s here on the West Coast that you can walk into the East room.
‘The only difference between ours and the White House East Room is that it`s the same chandeliers and the same paintings and everything else,’ says Cumming. ‘It’s just slightly larger.’
In the White House East Room Nixon’s daughter Tricia held her wedding reception.
It was also where he gave his last speech.
The Watergate Scandal led to the only presidential resignation.
Outside you’ll find the Marine One Helicopter that once carried Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Ford and Richard Milhous Nixon when he left the oval office.
‘I’m 79 and lived through a number of different presidential periods and it’s always nice to be able to recall the events of their lives, families and the accomplishments and failures of these people,’ says David Brauch, visiting the museum for the first time.
In Orange County, Nixon’s Presidential Library, birthplace and resting place are all in one location just steps away from one another.
‘The last thing he said when leaving the White House, he turned to Henry Kissinger and said, ‘It will be 50 years before history begins to view me favorably, `’ says Devon Nixon, Great Nephew of Richard Nixon. ‘I think that time is coming to fruition right now. And I think it would be wonderful for the younger generation to come to the library and take some time and read about the man and what he’s done for all of us.’