April 1 to May 29, 2017 -
Amending America: The Bill of Rights
On April 1, 2017, the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum opens a new exhibition from the National Archives, Amending America: The Bill of Rights, commemorating the 225th anniversary of the ratification of this landmark document.
Amending America: The Bill of Rights spotlights one of the most remarkable periods in American history, explores the origins of the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution (collectively known as the Bill of Rights), and illustrates how each amendment protects U.S. citizens. Featuring facsimile documents, reproduction artifacts, and interactives, Amending America invites visitors to connect directly with the people, places, and events that mark this historic document’s evolution. The exhibition is supplemented with images of President Nixon signing the Voting Rights Act extension that gave the vote to 18-year-olds (the 26th Amendment). Also, a look at his amending the Selective Service Regulations by Executive Order 11497.
Amending America co-curator Jennifer Johnson states “the exhibition explores how Americans have continually tried to renegotiate our fundamental governing charter.”
Amending America is divided into three themes:
- Origins of the first ten amendments
- Closer looks at each of the ten
- Overview of how these 18th century protections were expanded in the 20th century
Exhibition Highlights include:
- Records showing how each of the first 10 amendments affect Americans
- "How We Amend,” an engaging and fun animation outlining this process
- Reproductions of the Bill of Rights and 14th amendment
- Interactives that invite visitors to vote for the next amendment, and guess at how many times others were proposed
The Permanent Museum Galleries
The galleries reopened on October 14, 2016 after a $15 million renovation project funded entirely by private donations raised by the Nixon Foundation through the Richard Nixon Centennial Legacy Campaign.
Visitors will begin their tour of the new museum by viewing a multi-media presentation that introduces Richard Nixon and his 50-year career in public
The Wave of Change
Vivid supergraphics stretch along curving walls as a barrage of sights and
sounds brings to life some of the landmark events, people, and images of the years immediately
preceding Richard Nixon’s election to the presidency. A large “Nixon’s the One” banner stretches
overhead, pulling guests toward Nixon’s victory in the fall of 1968.
The Oval Office
A replica of President Nixon’s
Oval Office offers guests an immersive exploration of the most famous office in the world,
including an opportunity to sit behind the president’s desk and take a photo or selfie.
The Vietnam War
Guests are confronted with the situation in Vietnam, just as President Nixon was on January 20, 1969. Explore the contentious national conversation surrounding the Vietnam War and President Nixon’s actions and decisions. Artifacts and vivid images highlight the stories of
the POWs as well as their celebrated homecomings.
Domestic Policy Vision
Discover the key ideas of Nixon’s overall domestic policy, including
empowering state and local governments, reorganization of the federal government, and fiscal
• The focus on the environment, creation of the EPA and passage of the Clean Air and Clean
Water acts. Guests might be surprised to discover the remarkable legacy of environmental
preservation that can be traced to Nixon's presidency.
• The declaration of a "War on Cancer," and a collection of graphics, images, text, and
artifacts invite guests to explore Nixon's domestic policies in the field of healthcare.
• The relationship with the youth of America, in particular through legislation relating to
Vietnam, the voting age, and the War on Drugs.
• Explore Nixon’s role in desegregating southern schools and forwarding the cause of civil
Communism and the Cold War
A Soviet missile replica will provide a backdrop for this exhibit
that explores the broader global issues of communism and the Cold War and their role in shaping
President Nixon’s policy of détente. A large piece from the Berlin Wall highlights this iconic symbol
of the split between the Communist and non-Communist worlds.
First Lady Pat Nixon Guests will step into a space that explores Pat Nixon as an influential First Lady and America’s Ambassador of Goodwill. From her world travels to domestic initiatives, Pat Nixon
shaped the ongoing progression of the role of the First Lady as an active, welcoming, and vital
presence in the White House and throughout the world.
The Week That Changed the World Stepping through an iconic moon gate portal, guests relive
the historic handshake between Richard Nixon and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai during the 1972
trip to the People’s Republic of China. Images, text, and artifacts explore the relationship between
the U.S. and China, Nixon’s China initiative, the diplomacy that culminated in the trip, the events of
the Nixons’ time in China, and the legacy of the “week that changed the world.” Guests will be able
to pose for a photo on the Great Wall of China with President and Mrs. Nixon.
Life in the White House An elegant space designed like a room in the White House highlights
the First Family’s daily lives. An interactive experience invites guests to explore some of the events
and entertaining that occurred in the Nixon White House, as well information on the Nixon family.
The Western White House A re-creation of President Nixon’s study at La Casa Pacifica
immerses guests in the life of the working Western White House in San Clemente.
The Middle East Guests can explore images and artifacts highlighting Nixon's goals and
achievements in the Middle East – most notably in regard to the Yom Kippur War – as well as how
his policies in the region remain relevant today. Statues of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and
Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir from the Library’s existing exhibits are displayed here.
1972 Campaign & Victory Nixon’s landslide victory in the 1972 campaign provides a portal into
the next gallery. A captured moment in time, scenic balloons hang frozen mid-fall above the path,
and directly ahead guests see words from Nixon’s second inaugural address.
The gallery helps guests make sense of the web of personalities, actions, and intentions at the heart of the Watergate scandal as it chronicles the events beginning in June 1971 with the leak of the Pentagon Papers and the formation of a clandestine White House group known as the Plumbers and ending with former President Richard Nixon’s public explanations of Watergate after he left office. The exhibition was originally created in 2011. Cosmetic updates integrate the exhibit into the design scheme of the new museum and technology upgrades enhance the visitor experience.
Farewell Speech and Departure Guests step inside Army One on August 9, 1974, where they
find the President and Mrs. Nixon sitting aboard. Media in the windows and an audioscape immerse
guests in the Nixons' departure from the White House and transition guests back to Nixon's
Back to the Beginning and
Early Years Looking through the windows offers guests a serene
view of the humble farmhouse where Richard Nixon was born and spent his earliest years. A gallery
of displays and photos tells the story of Nixon’s family and childhood and service in World War II.
Man in the Arena As guests leave behind Nixon’s early years and the story of how they prepared
him for the many challenges that lay ahead, they step into a dynamic series of galleries capturing
some of the peak moments of the future president’s ambitious career, including his time in
Congress, the Fund Crisis of 1952, and the Vice Presidency.
The 1960 Campaign Guests find themselves on a re-creation of the set for the Nixon/Kennedy
debates. An old-fashioned television camera hulks in its place, and lights and microphones hang from above.
The Lincoln Sitting Room Guests step out of the triumph of
1968 and into a replica of President Nixon’s favorite room in the White House.
The Eagle’s Nest In a realistic re-creation of Nixon's New Jersey study, guests begin their
exploration of Nixon's work as America’s Elder Statesman from 1974 to 1994.
Nixon in Culture From books to film, television, drama, opera, and more, Richard Nixon left a
lasting mark on American culture. In this fun display, guests can explore both Nixon's own
contributions through his 10 books and others' interpretations of the man and his legacy in popular
Saying Goodbye A moving passageway offers displays on the deaths and funerals of Pat and
Richard Nixon including video excerpts.
Epilogue President Nixon’s own voice provides sparing words of inspiration to send guests
The new museum also features:
● 70 new family-friendly exhibits with more than 300 original artifacts
● 30 unique multi-media experiences
● 11 original films
● 12 custom digital interactives
● 10 curated archival film sequences
● More than 600 photographs
● 8,000 square feet of wall murals
Beyond the Galleries
The campus also includes the President's Birthplace, the memorial sites of President and Mrs. Nixon, the presidential helicopter, the First Lady's Gardens, and a replica of the White House East Room.