Reclaiming American History
The Richard Nixon Foundation has exciting plans to build a modern educational institution boasting unmatched immersive experiences and virtual programs that will enable the next generation of America’s students to understand the rights and duties of citizenship and how the U.S. government works. This is urgent as the American education system continues to leave civics on the sidelines, undermining the very fabric of our republic.
We’ll embark on major capital improvements to expand our educational footprint; quadruple our educational exhibition space; preserve the President’s iconic Marine One helicopter and “The Beast” presidential limousine; and create an immersive, hands-on civics education center for students, scholars and researchers from around the world, bringing together nonpartisan educational collaborators to play a leading role in tackling one of our country’s most pressing and glaring challenges.
This planned completion of the Nixon Library’s campus follows the reimagination of the 20,000 sq. ft. permanent gallery space into a modern presidential museum in 2017; this was followed by a renovation of the beautiful White House East Room and creation of a digital broadcast studio in 2020. After Covid-19 exposed detrimental misunderstandings of civics and citizenship, the work of the Nixon Foundation to expand its educational offerings, reach and influence –locally and nationally— couldn’t come at a more urgent time.
America is at a crossroads.
In 2020 our country was confronted with challenges not seen for 20 years or more, perhaps even dating back to the unrest and challenges of the Vietnam War period. Curriculums changed as the country began to redefine what it means to be an American in the 21st century.
Such national conversations proved difficult, divisive, and unresolved. The mistrust and distrust from across all political spectrums has, unfortunately, infected our educational curriculum. And we are losing civics education in the process.
Civics —an age-old term now unfamiliar to younger Americans— is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “the study of the rights and duties of citizenship.”
Today, most middle and high school-aged students lack any basic understanding of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, or the roles of the various levels of federal, state, and local government — essentially, those basic understandings which ensure America remains “the last best hope of man on earth.”
To address this, the Richard Nixon Foundation has plans to expand its educational efforts through the American Civics Campaign, to truly become a center for civics education where students engage in immersive experiences, exhibits and virtual programs to understand the rights and duties of citizenship in America.
The American Civics Campaign will enable:
- Construction of a hall for special exhibitions, ensuring that the Nixon Library becomes a destination for visitors from all around the world.
- Construction of a pavilion to permanently house the Marine One helicopter that flew Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Ford, as well as “The Beast” presidential limousine.
- Construction of a hands-on, civics education center, using simulations to teach history and apply the principles of the U.S. Constitution to events today, championing and preserving the American system of government.
- Research and scholarship of the Nixon presidency, as a roadmap toward America’s future.
New Exhibition Hall
There is the ever-present possibility that the Nixon Library’s attendance will steadily diminish unless we take bold steps to use the resources at our disposal to keep the Nixon Library fresh, interesting and attractive to visitors.
A new, 15,000 sq. ft. special exhibition hall will quadruple our educational exhibition space and allow far more versatility for active programming and rotating, creative, colorful, technologically-advanced educational content.
Regularly rotating special exhibits are key to jolting admissions and ensuring long-term sustainability of campus operations.
We do not have space within the existing buildings at the Nixon Library to house larger educational exhibitions; but we do have land on which to build a pavilion that will ensure that the Nixon Library is among the top educational destinations not only in the county, but in the country. These exhibits expose visitors to the Nixon story and legacy.
This initiative is fully funded.
American Civics Center
The Richard Nixon Foundation has conceived of a way for middle and high school-aged students to gain a real and deeper understanding of the history and politics of the United States, based on the truly unique resources and opportunities that a Presidential Library can provide.
The American Civics Center will offer hands-on scenario-based learning experiences that mimic decision-making at all levels of government — from school boards to the White House —- demonstrating how the American system functions and why it needs to be preserved.
By role-playing as members of the President’s senior White House staff and Cabinet, students will translate those experiences into an understanding of how the American Constitution and systems of government work, and learn from history to navigate our modern, complex world.
The scenario-based learning settings will include sessions in a replica White House Situation Room and a large press briefing room. Such programming is, amazingly, largely absent from public schools. Topics will include the basics of America’s founding, core tenants of the Constitution with an emphasis on the Presidency and the executive branch, and an understanding of Capitalism, entrepreneurship, and risk-taking.
By assigning interesting and important roles to these students, student participants can think critically about what decisions they would make — and why. Through such experiences, students will live the history they are studying. And only by living this history can they come to appreciate the brilliance of our American system of government.
Utilizing the unique resources and ambiance of a presidential library, the civic and leadership educational modules will draw on the life and administration of President Nixon, to tell the American story and the key role that he played in it. For example, a study on Richard Nixon’s opening to China in 1972 will allow students to draw comparisons between the American democratic and Chinese communist systems, which segues into a larger discussion on the unique nature of the American constitution and system of representative government.
Similarly, a focus on President Nixon’s four Supreme Court appointments and his landmark initiatives in environmental reforms and desegregation, allow for a thorough study of the equal branches of government and the American constitutional system of checks and balances.
The focus on these most concrete – but widely misunderstood – of our democratic institutions addresses a deep and unfilled lack of civics education in the school systems.
By teaching this successful model of representative government, we will be enlightening the next generation of citizens who are not exposed to civics education in their classrooms.
Hardware and technologies for the operation of the facility will be required as part of a capital budget, while materials for teachers and students will be necessary for the success of the experience.
Richard Nixon was ahead of his time. His administration’s record in both foreign and domestic affairs was inventive, creative and achieved lasting results.
Now, as America’s role in the world is hotly debated, the Nixon Foundation is arming our policymakers with thoughtful, reasoned, strategic options based in history —by telling the Nixon story.
In a thorough twist of irony, the world saw despotism and violence in spades in 2022, on what was the 50th anniversary of President Nixon’s historic trip to China, as the forces of tyranny turned hot; Russia invaded Ukraine and the Western world united with an aggressive response.
Multipolarity —a word not uttered since the fall of the Soviet Union— once again entered the geopolitical lexicon. And America’s role as the world’s superpower comes under examination from forces outside and in.
Grand Strategy Summit: America’s Role in the 21st Century
The Nixon Foundation convenes top foreign policy, economic, technological, and defense experts along with senior White House and Congressional officials to review and reassert America’s leadership responsibilities amid a rapidly changing, multipolar global landscape.
Nixon National Cancer Conference
The Nixon administration conceived of the 1971 National Cancer Act –one of the most important and consequential pieces of healthcare legislation of the 20th century– which allocated the first federal funds to cancer research and treatment options. The annual NNCC is a patient-focused conference that has featured Nobel laureates, physicians, specialists, and cancer center directors from across the country.
Pat Nixon Service Initiative
As First Lady, Pat Nixon promoted volunteerism and encouraged acts of service, once remarking, “people are my project.” She led or chaired dozens of well-known national organizations, including the Girl Scouts, the American Red Cross, and 4H.
The Pat Nixon Service Initiative will prioritize giving back to one’s community by supporting and advancing causes that she championed as first lady.
It is important to ensure that the American Civics Center is open and accessible to people of all walks of life and backgrounds. Growing up, President Nixon was offered scholarships that rewarded his hard work and increased his interest in attaining a quality education. The Nixon Foundation intends to offer scholarship and school bus support to high school and college students to participate in the American Civics Center learning modules.,
The Foundation intends to fund and offer fellowships to connect history to our 21st-century challenges.
Fellows will be expected to publish works in their area of expertise; teach classes and speak at conferences and conventions; and glean the Nixon Library’s archives –so vast, so rich and diverse in subject matter.
Join the American Civics Campaign
We invite you to join our efforts to empower the next generation of Americans.
We’re grateful for gifts of Cash, Stock, Donor Advised Funds and Planned Gifts.
All or part of your gift may be tax-deductible.
The Richard Nixon Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, Tax ID: 52-1278303. Please consult your tax advisor for further details.