Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum
The Life The Times Virtual Library The Museum For Kids For Teachers For Researchers Plan Your Visit News & Events About Us Plan Your Event
The Week That Changed The World

Current Exhibitions


Permanent Galleries

The Birthplace

The Helicopter

Upcoming Exhibitions

Past Exhibitions

When President Nixon announced his intention to visit China in a television address at NBC's Burbank, California studios on July 15, 1971, the public learned about one of the most significant diplomatic initiatives of the 20th Century.  This initiative surprised many who believed the President to be too rigidly anti-Communist to improve relations with the People’s Republic of China.  The resulting establishment of formal diplomatic relations between the United States and China is no less important today than in 1972.


President and Mrs. Nixon, along with his advisers, advance team and the press corps arrived in China on February 21, 1972 to spend a week getting to know the Chinese leaders and their people.  In observance of the 40th anniversary of the President’s visit to China this exhibition “The Handshake that Changed the World” illustrates the President’s early planning to bring together rapprochement with the Chinese, the actual visit, and the joint communiqué that the two countries issued at the end of the visit.  With artifacts, documents, and a historical film presentation, a clearer picture emerges of the issues and problems surrounding this momentous undertaking of opening the door to China.


Photograph album from President Nixon’s visit to the People’s Republic of China in February of 1972.  The album was a gift from the Government of the People’s Republic of China to President Nixon.   The album is opened to two photographs showing President and Mrs. Nixon attending a state dinner and acrobatic performance on February 27, 1972. 
HS 1972.30

On occasion of President Nixon’s visit to China in February of 1972, the President and Mrs. Nixon received this glass artwork of a magnolia branch and bird mounted on velvet from the government of the People’s Republic of China.

Light brown, double-breasted coat with dark brown shearling collar made by F. R. Tripler and Company, New York.  The coat was worn by President Nixon on his trip to China, February 1972.


More videos relating to this subject can be seen here

For more information, contact us at 714-983-9120 or

Home Contact Us FAQs Sitemap

The Nixon Library and Museum is part of the Presidential Libraries system administered by the National Archives
and Records Administration
, a Federal agency. View our Privacy Statement. View our Accessibility Statement.