Cindy, Arora, the OC Register:
YORBA LINDA – Cold War historian Timothy Naftali was officially appointed as the first federal director to lead the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace into its new role as a national presidential library.
U.S. Archivist Allen Weinstein announced Monday that Naftali, now director of the Presidential Recordings Program at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center for Public Affairs, will take over duties in Yorba Linda as of Oct. 16.
Naftali’s designation means a significant role change for the Nixon Foundation that has led the museum since it opened as a private institution 16 years ago.
“Our operational role will dramatically recede,” said John H. Taylor, executive director of the library. “The lead actor will be Dr. Naftali.”
Naftali, 44, was the top choice for the Nixon Foundation and family members; Taylor said his focus on the Cold War and work on the presidential tape project made him an ideal choice.
“He is the perfect person for the substance of Nixon’s legacy, which is much taken up with the Cold War,” Taylor said. “And with 4,000 hours of White House tapes about to be stored here, it is vital to have a director who understands how to work these materials.”
In 2004, the library opened the Katherine B. Loker Center, a $13.4 million expansion that included a replica of the White House East Room and nearly doubled the library’s size.
The library is now renovating the center’s basement to add archival quality shelving.
A new, $8.9 million archive building is also in the works for the bulk of Nixon’s documents, recordings and many gifts and materials.
The letter of offer formalizing the foundation’s transfer of archival duties was sent to the House and Senate on Thursday and must remain before Congress for 60 legislative days before becoming complete, according to a statement released by the National Archives and Records Administration.
Once the hand-over is complete, which could happen in the summer or early fall, the library will become the 12th library in the federally managed system. Its name will officially be changed to the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.
Naftali said Monday that he has ideas for public programming, conferences and a fellowship program for scholars.
“I am honored to be entrusted with bringing together the vast historical records of the Nixon administration in Yorba Linda and ensuring that they are open and accessible for current and future generations,” Naftali said in a statement.
Historian Stanley Kutler, who along with the Public Citizens group successfully sued NARA to make hundreds of hours of Nixon tapes open to the public, said Naftali appeared to be a good choice.
“I am delighted to know that the Nixon library will now have professional leadership,” he said.