Remarks at the Dedication of the Newly Designed Richard Nixon Presidential Library Museum
Richard Nixon Presidential LIbrary and Museum, Yorba Linda, CA
October 14, 2016
Greetings from Washington. I’m honored to be with you this morning to celebrate the opening of the newly re-designed museum here at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.
On June 19, 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the bill into law which established the National Archives and the position of Archivist of the United States. The mission of the National Archives is to collect, protect, and preserve the records of the U.S. Government and make them available so that the American public can hold its government accountable for its actions and learn from our past. We are the final destination of the most important records of the United States Government.
We also administer the network of Presidential Libraries from Herbert Hoover to George W. Bush--now 13 libraries with more than 780 million pages of textual materials and 625,000 museum objects. As you know, Presidential Libraries are not libraries in the usual sense. They are archives and museums, bringing together the documents and artifacts of a President, his administration, and his family and presenting them to the public for study and discussion without regard for political considerations or affiliations.
The intent from the beginning was to have the Presidential Libraries located throughout the country where scholars and school children could learn about their government, the Presidency, and service in government. In dedicating his library, Franklin D. Roosevelt, captured the essence of the mission:
“To bring together the records of the past and to house them in buildings where they will be preserved for the use of men and women in the future, a Nation must believe in three things. It must believe in the past. It must believe in the future. It must, above all, believe in the capacity of its own people so to learn from the past that they can gain in judgment in creating their own future.”
The Nixon Presidential Library joined the National Archives in 2007 and today houses Richard Nixon’s Presidential materials.
And this collection has lived up to the President’s vision of the library as a place of discovery and rediscovery, investigation, debate and analysis. Since 1990 more than 1 million visitors have experienced the life and times of the Nixon years. And several thousand researchers have mined the collections in the generation of new scholarship on the man and his impact on our country.
I wish to thank all of the Library staff here in Yorba Linda whose tireless efforts, day in and day out, help to maximize our value to the nation; improve the experience of our researchers and visitors; and allow access to––and ensure the protection of––our valued holdings. And special thanks to those who worked directly on the new galleries being dedicated today.
I would also like to express my appreciation to the Richard Nixon Foundation for their leadership in overseeing the successful capital campaign for this effort and for the expertise they contributed to this unique public-private partnership.
Without strong partnerships with the presidential foundations, the National Archives and the presidential libraries would be unable to deliver the rich programming and museum experiences now being enjoyed by millions of visitors across the country each year.
I’d like to thank the family of President Nixon––especially those who are here with us today––and express my sincere appreciation for their support of the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.
And lastly I thank all of you for coming this morning and recognize the support this Library receives from this wonderful southern Californian community. It is deeply appreciated.
On the 16th of July in 1990 when dedicating the Library and Museum, the President provided a preview of the new facility to the audience. He said that inside you will learn about a personal life, a political life, and the life of a great nation. He continued, “I hope you will remember that while the past is interesting, it is important only in so far that it points the way to a better future.” Words as relevant today as they were then.
I know all of you will enjoy these new exhibits which offer a fresh and compelling look into the life and times of our 37th President. And as we do so, all of us can be proud to know that we played a role in sharing these pivotal moments in our nation’s history with future generations of Americans for centuries to come.
It is now my pleasure to introduce Mr. Fred Malek, Chairman of the Richard Nixon Centennial Legacy Campaign, who was charged with raising $25 million to create the New Nixon Library and educational initiatives.
A West Point graduate and Army Ranger in Vietnam, Fred served in the Nixon and Bush 41 administrations in a variety of important roles, before becoming President and CEO of Marriott Hotels, President and CEO of Northwest Airlines, and Co-Chairman of CBRE Group.
He is the Founder of Thayer Lodging Group––which he still chairs.
Ladies and gentlemen, Fred Malek.