Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

Today it just happened to coincide that I went to the Ronald Reagan museum on the 4th of July. I was hoping that there wouldn't be school tours and most people would be home with family enjoying their vacation day, but I was wrong. There was a big celebration with bands, face painting, hot dogs and water balloon tosses, dressed up presidents for pictures and other festivities. Since I had other plans that evening I got there within the first half hour of opening and boy was I glad I did. The cars were parked all the way down the long winding street that leads to the library by the time I left.

Once again a sunny day in southern California, I enjoyed the band for a small bit outside in the courtyard wishing I had a swing partner to dance with me. Then it was on to the tour of the library itself.

I've been to a couple other presidential libraries and this was indeed a very nice one. I think had I not been getting a blister on my toe and also been worried about the time I would have enjoyed it more. There was much to see and read.

This library is well known for it's inclusion of Air Force One, the actual plane that Reagan flew across the world with numerous times in his time as president. They have the plane set up so you can walk in the front just behind the pilot and controls and then wander back and exit at the rear where the press would have entered. Because it was a walk-through it seemed a little bizarre. Walls and doors were missing, a wax figure sat stiffly in a seat, curtains were drawn, and ropes were up with signs forbidding entry. There was no photography allowed, although I watched as two people snapped pictures on their phones before the third was reprimanded. If you're in my circles on google+, new photos will be added there eventually....still working on my last trips pictures first.

All in all, there was a nice flow with good definition between the rooms. Plenty of hands on fun for the kids (and adults), and numerous videos of varying lengths. So far this is in the top two of my favorite libraries. Can't decide yet between the Reagan and Bush library in College Station. Both had pros and cons that I really enjoyed or disliked. I'll have to weigh them all for a few days before declaring my verdict of favorite.

So glad I went. Not sure I should have spent the money at this point in time, but I was here, had the opportunity, had the motivation, and the interest. I couldn't say no. Next library to visit, LBJ in Austin. Slowly working my way through, learning of history, learning of people, learning of places, learning of myself.