Washington, DC… This year marks the 100th anniversary of the births of two Presidents of the United States: Richard Nixon (January 9, 1913–April 22, 1994) and Gerald Ford (July 14, 1913–December 26, 2006).
To mark the occasions, the National Archives will debut a special display and online teaching activities as part of a year-long commemoration.
“Nixon and the U.S. Space Program” will feature rarely seen documents, photographs, and objects that represent milestones in manned spaceflight during President Nixon’s administration. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) successfully put man on the Moon with the Apollo 11 mission in July 1969 and followed with five more Apollo missions over the next three years. Visitors will learn about Nixon’s support for the lunar program and his efforts to improve adversarial Cold War relations through a cooperative space exploration program.
The new “Nixon and the U.S. Space Program” display will be officially opened to the public with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. on Monday, January 7, 2013. The ribbon-cutting will be hosted by the Archivist of the United States, David S. Ferriero, who will be joined by Jim Gardner, Executive for Legislative Archives, Presidential Libraries, and Museum Services.
Highlights of the Nixon display include:
- the telephone used by President Nixon to talk to the Apollo 11 astronauts after the moon landing (1969);
- tongs used by Apollo 12 astronauts to collect moon rock samples (1969); and
- a contingency statement drafted by speechwriter William Safire in case of disaster during the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission (1969) [Safire would later earn a Pulitzer Prize as a columnist with the New York Times.];
- The materials on exhibit are courtesy of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, CA, one of 13 Presidential Libraries administered by the National Archives.
“Nixon and the U.S. Space Program” will be on exhibit through June 2013, when the display will feature items from the administration of President Ford.
The case display is located within the Public Vaults exhibit in the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, located on Constitution Avenue, between 7th and 9th Streets, NW. Admission to the museum is free. Winter hours (though March 14) are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Summer hours (March 15 through Labor Day) are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.