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The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California is considered the largest of all the presidential libraries operated by the National Archives and Records Administration. In addition to being the presidential library dedicated to the nation’s 40th president, Ronald Wilson Reagan, it is also his and Nancy Reagan’s final resting place. The Reagan Library was designed by The Stubbins Associates and construction began in 1988, just before Reagan left office after two terms. The 150,000 square foot facility was dedicated on November 4, 1991, and it is located about 40 miles south of Los Angeles and approximately 15 miles west of Chatsworth. 

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum

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Overhead View of the Reagan Library and Museum

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The Ronald Reagan Library and Museum in Simi Valley

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Lady Bird Johnson, Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter, Gerald & Betty Ford, Richard & Pat Nixon, Ronald & Nancy Reagan, and George & Barbara Bush Attend the 1991 Dedication of the Reagan Library

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The Air Force One Pavillion at the Reagan Library

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A Portion of the Berlin Wall on Display at the Reagan Library

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Statues of Ronald and Nancy Reagan Inside of the Reagan Library

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The Peace Through Strength Exhibit at the Reagan Library

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A Quote at the Memorial Site of Ronald and Nancy Reagan

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The Ronald Reagan Library and Museum is located in Simi Valley, California, about 40 miles from Los Angeles. Groundbreaking for the Spanish mission style building took place on November 21, 1988, two months before Ronald Reagan left office after serving two terms. Designed by the Stubbins Associates of Boston, it cost a total of $57 million to construct and comes in at 150,00 square feet. The Reagan Library was dedicated on November 4, 1991, with former President Reagan and Mrs. Reagan in attendance, as well as former presidents Nixon, Ford, and Carter, and then President George H.W. Bush.

Ronald Wilson Reagan was born on February 6, 1911, in Tampico, Illinois. He spent much of his life after college in the entertainment industry, becoming an actor and a member of the Board of Directors of the Screen Actors Guild, even acting as their president from 1947-1952 and again from 1959-1960. He also served in the Army Enlisted Reserve and became a second lieutenant in the Officers’ Reserve Corps of the Calvary. Reagan was a Hollywood Democrat who supported Franklin D. Roosevelt and made the switch to the Republican Party in the 1950s.

He went on to become a two-term Governor of California, holding office from 1967-1975. Reagan made a bid for the Republican nomination for president against Gerald Ford in 1976, but he narrowly lost at the convention. He ran again in 1980, won his party’s nomination, and defeated President Jimmy Carter in a massive landslide. In 1984, Reagan defeated Walter Mondale in 1984 and served another four years.

The Reagan Library and its exhibits follow Reagan through his film career to his tenure in politics and highlights his accomplishments as president. Visitors have the opportunity to interact through exhibits and can stand on a podium and read Reagan’s 1980 inaugural address from a teleprompter. The Reagan Library has a full-scale size of the Oval Office along with replicas of the things Reagan had in his office during his presidency. One of the most notable exhibits is a piece of the Berlin Wall. Another famous exhibit is the Air Force One Pavilion, holding the Boeing 707 airplane that was used as Air Force One during Reagan’s presidency.

The Reagan Library played host to the first and last Republican presidential primary debates in 2008, the first Republican debate of the 2012 primary cycle, and one of the 2016 Republican presidential primary debates. They also feature rotating special exhibits and special programs and events. In total, the Reagan Library holds over 55 million professional and personal papers pertaining to the Reagans and more than 60,000 gifts and artifacts. Ronald Reagan was laid to rest on the property in 2004, and Nancy Reagan was buried alongside her husband in 2016.

The nonprofit Ronald Reagan Foundation and Institute was created by Reagan to fundraise for the creation of his presidential library. Now, it sustains the Reagan Library and Museum, the Presidential Learning Center, the Reagan Center for Public Affairs, The Air Force One Pavilion, and the Reagan Institute and Reagan Leadership Academy in Washington, D.C. The Reagan Library, which offers pristine views of the deep California valleys, is considered the largest of the presidential libraries operated by the National Archives and Records Administration. 

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Facts, Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum. Accessed April 29th, 2023.

About Us, Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute. Accessed April 30th, 2023.

Politico Staff. Republican Debate 2011: Reagan Library hosts GOP Presidential Candidates (Live Updates), Politico. September 8th, 2011. Accessed May 6th, 2021.

ABC News. 2016 Republican Presidential Debate: Reagan Library Edition, ABC News. September 16th, 2015. Accessed May 6th, 2021.

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Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum

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