Scouting, Volume 82, Number 2, March-April 1994 Page: 52
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Hail to the Chiefs (from page 25)
paintings, photographs, political car-
toons, movies, videotapes, and unusu-
al objects related to each President
and First Lady. And most of the li-
braries feature a model of the Oval
Office as furnished during its Presi-
The museums provide a vivid, often
stark view of the history of the past
65 years. Included are graphic depic-
tions of the Great Depression; World
War II and the Holocaust; the drop-
ping of the atom bomb and advent of
nuclear energy; the establishment of
Israel and conflict in the Middle East;
the cold war against Communism and
hot wars in Korea and Vietnam.
the most of the latest audiovisual
technology. For example, at the Rich-
ard Nixon Library in Yorba Linda,
Calif., history buffs listen to excerpts
of the celebrated Watergate tapes. In
Atlanta, visitors at the Jimmy Carter
Library ask questions about impor-
tant decisions during the Carter ad-
ministration, and the 39th President
explains the reasons for his actions on
a TV monitor. At his library in Simi
Valley, Calif., Ronald Reagan also
"chats" electronically with visitors.
"The libraries are not monuments
to one person alone," said Richard
Norton Smith, director of the Her-
bert Hoover Library at West Branch,
Iowa. "In recent years they have be-
come popular places for Americans of
every age to examine their past and
man who was President, but they tell
about the way our laws are made, and
how we have been able to govern our-
selves," said Donald Schewe, director
of the Jimmy Carter Library. "One
can learn a tremendous amount about
citizenship, about patriotism, and
about our nation."
Official Presidential libraries are a
fairly recent phenomenon. Earlier
Presidents, from George Washington
into the 1920s, took their official pa-
pers with them upon leaving office,
assuming such documents were per-
sonal property. When a former Presi-
dent died, however, many priceless
documents were scattered or discard-
ed by family members not grasping
The modern tradition of official li-
GET TO KNOW A PRESIDENT
Each year, nearly two million visitors come from all parts of the United States to absorb the history and nostalgia
that abounds at these unique places. In all, nearly 40 million people have seen at least one Presidential library.
Many of those have been Scouts. "If Scouting groups call or write in advance, the group will be admitted free,"
said Donald Schewe, director of the Jimmy Carter Library in Atlanta. "Many of the Presidential libraries have edu-
cation coordinators who will be happy to work with the Scout leader to make the visit more rewarding and educa-
Most libraries are open every day except New Year's, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
Rutherford B. Hayes Library
Fremont, Ohio 43420-2796
Herbert Hoover Library
West Branch, Iowa 52358
Franklin D. Roosevelt Library
511 Albany Post Rd.
Hyde Park, N.Y. 12538
Harry S. Truman Library
1200 North McCoy
Independence, Mo. 64050
Dwight D. Eisenhower
200 S.E. 4th St.
Abilene, Kan. 67410
John F. Kennedy Library
Lyndon Baines Johnson
2313 Red River St.
Austin, Tex. 78705
Richard Nixon Library
18001 Yorba Linda Blvd.
Yorba Linda, Calif. 92686
Gerald R. Ford Library
1000 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, Mich. 48109
Gerald R. Ford Museum
303 Pearl Street NW
Grand Rapids, Mich. 49504
Jimmy Carter Library
One Copenhill Ave.
Atlanta, Ga. 30307
Ronald Reagan Library
40 Presidential Dr.
Simi Valley, Calif. 93065
Exhibits also portray the beginning
of space exploration and first moon
walk (by Eagle Scout Neil Arm-
strong); the civil rights movement
and slaying of Dr. Martin Luther
King Jr.; the assassinations of Presi-
dent John F. Kennedy in 1963, and
his brother Robert while running for
President in 1968; the energy crisis
and increased awareness of the im-
portance of conservation; the Wa-
tergate scandal which forced Richard
Nixon out of office in 1973; and the
Iran-Contra affair during the Reagan
The more recent museums make
explore a history not always learned
"It's all here, the history of our
time—with all the bark off," former
President Lyndon Johnson said when
his library and museum opened on the
campus of the University of Texas in
Austin. "I hope that visitors who
come here will achieve a closer under-
standing of the Presidency and that
young people will get a clearer com-
prehension of what this nation tried
to do in an eventful period of its his-
"The museums in the Presidential
libraries not only tell the story of the
braries was started by President
Franklin Roosevelt, who was con-
cerned that there was no provision
for safeguarding Presidential papers.
After consulting with archivists and
historians, FDR decided to deed his
estate in Hyde Park, N.Y., to the
National Archives to house his pa-
pers. A collector as well as a histori-
an, he also raised the money to add a
museum for his prized mementos.
Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt are
buried in their library's courtyard.
While FDR is credited with start-
ing the modern tradition of Presi-
dential libraries, his library-museum
Scouting March-April 1994
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Boy Scouts of America. Scouting, Volume 82, Number 2, March-April 1994, periodical, March 1994; Irving, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth353616/m1/52/: accessed January 19, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Boy Scouts of America National Scouting Museum.