The National Archives celebrates two presidential centennials

Richard Nixon telephone
Photo courtesy of the National Archives.

WASHINGTON — This year marks the 100th anniversary of the births of two presidents of the United States: Richard Nixon (Jan. 9, 1913-April 22, 1994) and Gerald Ford (July 14, 1913-Dec. 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 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.

Richard Nixon telephone
Photo courtesy of the National Archives.

Highlights of the Nixon display include:

♦ The telephone used by 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)
♦ A contingency statement drafted by speechwriter William Safire in case of disaster during the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission (1969)

The materials on exhibit are courtesy of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, Calif., 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 Ford. The case display is located within the Public Vaults exhibit in the National Archives Building in Washington located on Constitution Avenue, between Seventh and Ninth streets, NW.

Admission to the museum is free.

Winter hours (through 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.

Online teaching

Educators across the country now have access to special online teaching activities and primary source documents exploring pivotal decisions made during Nixon and Ford’s presidencies, 1969-1977.

To access the online activities, visit:


Throughout 2013, the National Archives will commemorate the centennials of both Nixon and Ford with teacher/student outreach, social media initiatives, and special programs and exhibits at the National Archives in Washington, as well as both the Richard Nixon and Gerald R. Ford Presidential Libraries and Museums.

Richard Nixon Centennial web page at

Gerald R. Ford Centennial web page at


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