The life and career of Ronald Reagan come alive at the Reagan Presidential Library & Museum. In addition to state-of-the-art exhibits on the 40th president, the Southern California attraction draws groups with enlightening temporary exhibitions on subjects ranging from sports to religious art.
Dedicated in 1991, the Reagan Presidential Library & Museum in Simi Valley is the largest of the 13 official presidential libraries. It not only acts as the repository of presidential records for Reagan’s administration (holding some 50 million documents and over one million photos), but also has intriguing exhibits on Ronald Reagan and his presidency that draw thousands of visitors every year and make this museum one of the top California attractions for groups.
Permanent Exhibits at the Reagan Library
Among the permanent exhibits are the many interactive options that pay tribute to Ronald Reagan and chronicle his life. Tour groups can view various artifacts from his time as president, act in a movie with the former Hollywood actor, set the table for a state dinner and deliver Reagan’s inaugural address. A must-see is the full-scale replica of the Oval Office, decorated as it was during Reagan’s presidency.
One of the can’t-miss attractions at the museum—and in California—is the Air Force One Pavilion. Reagan spent a great amount of time flying to foreign countries to conduct face-to-face diplomacy. Step aboard the same plane where Reagan signed important legislation, hand-wrote speeches and officially announced the Daytona Beach, Florida NASCAR race. The pavilion also holds presidential limousines and Secret Service Suburbans. Groups can also explore an actual pub from Ireland that Reagan visited on a diplomatic trip and even grab a snack to tide them over as they continue to explore the museum.
On the grounds outside the museum, groups can see a 9 ½-foot-tall piece of the Berlin Wall, with colorful graffiti on the west side and dreary gray concrete on the east side. Visitors should take time to reflect on what the wall meant to history, as well as Reagan’s role in ending the Cold War and the wall coming down. Nearby the wall fragment is Reagan’s tomb, where the former president was laid to rest on June 11, 2004.
What kinds of temporary exhibits are at the Reagan Library?
Something fun and educational for groups of all ages is Football! The Exhibition (ending Jan. 17, 2016). The in-depth exhibit displays more than 500 artifacts, such as game-worn jerseys, signed Lombardi Trophies and some of the first football gear.
The Reagan Library will be the exclusive West Coast destination for the Vatican Splendors: A Journey Through Faith and Art. The 12,000-square-foot exhibition (March 6-Aug. 28, 2016) includes a collection of historical and religious objects, some which date back to the first century. Groups will get the chance to see one of the largest Vatican collections ever to tour the U.S, with works from Michelangelo, Bernini and Guercino, among others.
Planning a visit to the Reagan Library
The Reagan Presidential Library & Museum is a great place for groups to visit. The museum is open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 5pm. If you have a group of 15 or more, a tour guide is available to lead them through the exhibits. Guided group tours cost $19 for adults ages 18-61, $16 for seniors 62+, and $12 for youth ages 11-17 years.
If your tour group is planning a trip to Southern California, a visit to the Reagan Library should be on the itinerary.