Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Ronald Reagan Presidential Museum

While driving up a mountain to the museum yesterday we noticed many cars parked alongside the road. To our surprise we soon discovered that it was the over-flow parking for the museum.  Had we known that Reagan's museum was so popular we certainly would not have chosen a holiday week to tour it! But then we would not have had the opportunity to see the Christmas tree display which is in the museum now. Each tree depicts an entire decade of American history from the 1770s to the present and features defining moments of  each. Below is the tree for the decade from 1950-60, which recalls the polio epidemic and Dr.Seuss.
We spent a almost a good four hours in the museum. Ronald Reagan's life is explored in 24 fascinating galleries. It was the best history lesson I could have ever gotten concerning our 40th president and his accomplishments. In learning about Reagan's early years it was easy for me to see to see how circumstances in his personal life took him on the path to the White House. In his high school years he was president of his drama class, and in his college years and beyond he continued to shine as a great leader and speaker. He became known as The Great Communicator. Pictured below is the file he kept through out his life of famous quotations. He always had a few of the file cards in his briefcase should he ever need them.
 Equally amazing to me was to see Reagan's five volume set of handwritten personal diaries, and to read excerpts from them. I could see some parallels with his experiences as president with what is happening today. Reagan had his issues also with tax reform and, like Obama, he had to deal with a legislature not of his party. His nemesis was Tip O'Neill as Obama's is John Boehner. In frustration he once said: " Look, enough of this". "Lets work for a change that will help the people."  He kept a couple of small signs on his desk which
defined him as a person who learned to negotiate. As a great negotiator one of his crowning achievements while in office was the tearing down of the Berlin wall. He had a great friendship with the Soviet leader Gorbachev which also helped to end five decades of the Cold War and the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
The museum has a beautiful setting in the Simi Valley of California. It sits atop a mountain and has sweeping views of the mountains surrounding it and of the valley below. Unfortunately I had become so engrossed in touring the museum that I did not get a picture of the amazing panorama outside until the sun was setting.

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