Publication Date

July 10, 2007



The Richard Nixon Library is going through changes. Timothy Naftali, the library’s first federally appointed director of just one year, is transforming the library from a privately owned facility that presented questionable history, to a recognized presidential library managed by the National Archives and Records Administration. When the library opened in 1990, it featured a Watergate exhibit that claimed Nixon was the victim of a “coup” by his enemies, and presented a heavily edited version of the June 23, 1972 “smoking gun” tape. Historians’ reactions fluctuated between amusement and horror. Nixon scholar Stanley Kutler compared the library to Disneyland. But beginning with an overhaul of the Watergate exhibit, the library is shifting to present a more strictly factual history that avoids overt analysis. And with Naftali, a former University of Virginia professor, at the helm, the Nixon Library is poised to eventually gain possession of a “vast trove of Nixon’s White House material” that has been protected by the government since 1970, who feared it would otherwise be destroyed.

As reported in an article from this past Sunday in the LA Times.

This post first appeared on AHA Today.

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