Richard Nixon Library Renovation and Reopening

shows a shaking hands statue of Nixon and Chinas former Premier Zhou Enlai in the Richard Nixon Presidential Library.

photo courtesy of xinhuanet

shows a shaking hands statue of Nixon and China’s former Premier Zhou Enlai in the Richard Nixon Presidential Library.

Neil Bondoc, Photojournalist

The Nixon Library and Museum, located in Yorba Linda, Southern California, was reopened to public on Saturday with new galleries, after the biggest ever renovations since its establishment.

The more-than-one-year renovation cost 15 million U.S. dollars. The new galleries include nearly 70 new major exhibits, including an exact replica of former President Richard Nixon’s Oval Office and an extensive exhibit on Nixon’s historic trip to China. “It features 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 and more than 300 artifacts,” according to the Nixon library. After upgrading work, the Nixon Library will be the newest presidential museum in the United States.

A newly-built Chinese pavilion was also open to the public and showed details of Nixon’s trip to China in 1972, which ushered in a new era of engagement with the superpower. A shaking hands statue of Nixon and China’s former Premier Zhou Enlai restored the moment that Nixon stepped out of plane in his 1972 visit to China. A formal banquet in the Great Hall of the People was held the Feb. 21, 1972, the first evening of Nixon’s visit, following his meeting with Chairman Mao and his first plenary session with Zhou Enlai. “A journey through the library is a journey through the history. That history includes orchestrating a bold journey of peace across 16,000 miles and two decades of non-communication, that became known as the week that changed the world,” said Nixon’s daughter Tricia.

Cui Tiankai, Chinese Ambassador to the United States, Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State, former California Gov. Pete Wilson, as well as Nixon’s family members were present in the opening ceremony. “Your wonderful work is deeply appreciated in carrying forward President Nixon’s legacy to promote mutual understanding and cooperation between our two great countries over the decades,” Chinese ambassador Cui Tiankai said. “Forty-four years ago, China and the U.S. started to look at each other in a new way when President Nixon paid a world-shaking visit to China and leaders of the two Countries jointly reopened the door of China-U.S. contacts. This is the result of great vision from the two sides, transcending the limitations of the Cold War era.”

In the new Nixon library, a new mobile-first website and app will allow millions of students, historians, academics and other people around the world to experience the library and access volumes of customized images, documents, video and audio tapes directly from their mobile devices or computers.