How interesting is Reagan's presidential library?
November 5, 2004 1:26 PM   Subscribe

Someone in my office organized a trip to the Ronald Reagen Presidential Library. My political disagreements with the man aside, should I go?

"Reagan", wtf
posted by lbergstr to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (25 answers total)
who's paying?
posted by andrew cooke at 1:29 PM on November 5, 2004

Go if you want to
Don't go if you don't want to
posted by crunchburger at 1:35 PM on November 5, 2004

I don't know about the Regan library but I had to go to the Truman library for a paper once. It was mildly interesting. It painted, obviously, a good picture of the president but didn't try to create a personality cult or anything. I didn't feel as if I was going through and listening to "Truman did this! Look at what he did here!" but more of a general overview of the political atmosphere in the post-War era.

I cannot speak for the Reagan library but I doubt it'll try to present him as a god. You may see a lot of cool memorabilia there. Remember that the libraries have to accomodate grade school kids on tours, and generally American museums do not spew propoganda.
posted by geoff. at 1:41 PM on November 5, 2004

What crunchburger said. What a question.
posted by luser at 1:48 PM on November 5, 2004

I think it's sad that you have to ask this question.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:50 PM on November 5, 2004

(you might actually discover that, whatever you think of his politics, Reagan was quite intellectual)
posted by ParisParamus at 1:56 PM on November 5, 2004

I think what lbergstr's asking is "Would it be of interest to a non-Reagan fan?" Not "make every decision for me." I think he's asking for personal experiences of anyone who's been there. Just my guess.
posted by boomchicka at 2:09 PM on November 5, 2004

I've been to Grover Cleveland's birthplace. Not only was he a Republican, but it was in New Jersey.
posted by PrinceValium at 2:10 PM on November 5, 2004

ok, umm, I'm stupid
posted by PrinceValium at 2:14 PM on November 5, 2004

You have an opportunity to go somewhere you haven't been before. Assuming it's not going to cost you a stupid amount of money or something, it seems like a no-brainer to me.
posted by kindall at 2:18 PM on November 5, 2004

Response by poster: boomchicka's right on.

so: they're paying, there's some sort of "private tour", but who knows. this will technically be a break from work, but since i'll have to finish my work anyway, it basically comes out of my scarce free time.

not sure if i'm interested enough in ronald reagan to justify that, but there was the chance that someone would come out of the woodwork and say "the jimmy carter memorial library was fascinating." looks like a no.
posted by lbergstr at 2:26 PM on November 5, 2004

Your trip's off, lbergstr. The library is closed until further notice.

Someone spilled a Diet Coke on it.
posted by britain at 3:01 PM on November 5, 2004

I went to the Nixon library because they had a Johnny Cash exhibit.

It was kinda nifty, but I really should've spent my time going to the MoChA instead (or however it's capitalized).

if the ronald reagan library is anything like the Nixon library, be prepared to see a bunch of fairly uninteresting memorabilia, surrounded by displays that are "History-Lite" (tm)
posted by fishfucker at 3:12 PM on November 5, 2004

I loved the Nixon library though I thought the man was a jerk. I'd go if I were you. About the only museum I've ever had a bad experience at probably ever, was the Gene Autry Museum in LA. It's so ridiculously racist in a subtle 1950s way. Very much thinking it was helping "redskins" but totally out of touch.
posted by mathowie at 3:15 PM on November 5, 2004

Carter is still very much alive, last I heard, and the Carter Center (not memorial) in Atlanta is an interesting afternoon (but my best friend works there, so I might be biased). To answer the question, I'd go to the the Reagan Library if I had the chance, even though I didn't like his politics.
posted by Alylex at 3:37 PM on November 5, 2004

When I was in college, Carter was guest lecturer at large. He would teach 2 or 3 days a month in History or Poli Sci or Religion classes, among others. His style was to speak for about 1/3 of his time and then take questions, which was the only chance I have ever had to ask a question of a man who has been POTUS. It was excellent [/Georgia boy] .
posted by crunchburger at 6:32 PM on November 5, 2004

O, by all means go!

I can't wait until I visit the Nixon with by conservative Cuban father in law, and I swear to got it's not to laugh at either Nixon or my beloved relative's beliefs.

An important part of being a citizen in a democracy is being able to recognize propaganda when you see it. I bet you a dollar that you will see some pro-stem-cell propaganda while there, as well as some of a more predictable variety.

Go, and write about it! Doing so validates what Reagan thought he was protecting, although I certainly feel he did not defend freedom, but rather limited it drastically. But make up your own mind, and do so in spite of the hagiography!
posted by mwhybark at 6:47 PM on November 5, 2004

I've been to the Carter Library, and it was interesting. Some exhibits on Carter's life and Presidency, a replica of the Oval Office (it was cool to get a sense of the proportions), and huge amounts of unbelievably ostentatious gifts given to him by foreign heads of state. (Some were enjoyably tasteless.)

Not the single best couple of hours I've ever spent, but yeah, it was interesting and I'm glad I went.
posted by Vidiot at 7:32 PM on November 5, 2004

I've been. I lived in the general area and had a friend whose father was a Reagan ApPointee (NTSB) and I accompanied him. It was sort of interesting to see actual documents and artifacts. Really the best part, though, was a 1:12 scale model of the White House in incredible detail that was some couple's lifelong project. It was huge and incredibly detailed and had things like working lights. It was on tour and just happened to be at the Reagan library at the time.

The Reagan library probably isn't worth a long trip to see but if isn't too far it's a decent way to kill an afternoon.
posted by TimeFactor at 7:52 PM on November 5, 2004

A short blurb and photo of the model I mentioned. It seems it's at the Nixon library at the moment. So if you're lucky to be in "The OC" then you could check it out. Nixon gives it a thumbs up, way up.
posted by TimeFactor at 7:58 PM on November 5, 2004

Go. This might be your last chance to visit a library.
posted by krisjohn at 8:30 PM on November 5, 2004

I've been to the LBJ Library, and I was suitably impressed.

Was it the National Lampoon who predicted the Reagan Library would consist of "Readers Digest Condensed Books and boxed sets of TV Guide"?
posted by gimonca at 9:01 PM on November 5, 2004

The jimmy carter memorial library was fascinating!

Sorry, I just wanted to be the second person to ever put those 7 words together.

Really though, if you like history, it's a no brainer.
posted by justgary at 9:20 PM on November 5, 2004

Doesn't the Reagan Library have a mock Oval Office in it, with reproductions of actual furniture/art/etc. in it? I think that would be kinda cool to see. I think it's Reagan's, because I seem to remember that there's a jar of jellybeans on the desk.
posted by obloquy at 10:10 PM on November 6, 2004

why yes, it does. It also has some of the crazy gifts that the Reagans were sent by heads of State, as well as average(?) Americans. Now I want to go!
posted by obloquy at 10:18 PM on November 6, 2004

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