This Saturday, The National Archives and its Presidential Libraries will be at the National Air and Space Museum’s annual Space Day.
We’ll be hosting activities including:
- A Mission Checklist hunt for Apollo-related items at the National Archives and the Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
- A Presidential Pop Quiz on U.S. Presidents and the Space Program.
Want a head start on your Mission Checklist? These Moon Tongs were used by Apollo mission astronauts to collect lunar samples.
The tongs are from the holdings of the Nixon Presidential Library and can be seen for a limited time in the “Nixon and the U.S. Space Program” display at the National Archives in D.C.
Close-up view of a set of tongs, an Apollo Lunar Hand Tool, being used by Astronaut Charles Conrad Jr., to pick up lunar samples during the Apollo XII mission, November 19, 1969. Photo courtesy of NASA.
This set of tongs was used to collect lunar samples from the “Ocean of Storms,” the largest dark spot on the Moon’s surface, during the Apollo XII mission. It was presented to President Nixon by astronauts Charles Conrad, Jr., Richard Gordon, Jr., and Alan Bean.
This week marks the birthday of Duke Ellington. The American composer, pianist, and big band maverick was born on April 29, 1899 in Washington, D.C.
This photograph was taken on his seventieth birthday in 1969, when Ellington received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Nixon in the East Room of the White House.
-from the Nixon Library
White House Reunion at the Nixon Library
Although Presidential Library dedications are not the only settings for Presidential camaraderie, the ceremonies offer rare opportunities for the rest of us to see these men interact with each other.
When the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum first opened as a private facility on July 19, 1990, it marked the first time that four Presidents were seen together at a public event. The ceremony featured speeches from then-President George Bush, and former Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald R. Ford, and Ronald Reagan.
Seventeen years later, the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum officially became a part of the Federally operated Presidential libraries system. On July 11, 2007, a ceremony was held to announce the partnership between the Richard Nixon Foundation and the National Archives.
Photo: The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum dedication. July 19, 1990. Courtesy of the Richard Nixon Foundation.
A Quick History of Presidents and Presidential Library Dedications
It’s not often that all the living U.S. Presidents are together at one time, but on April 25, the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum will be dedicated to the American public. Although many dignitaries from around the world will attend, all eyes will likely focus on the gathering of men who have called the White House home.
In addition to George W. Bush, guests of honor will include current Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama, and former Presidents William J. Clinton, George Bush, and Jimmy Carter. Read More
-Gerald R. Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, and Richard Nixon at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library dedication. 11/4/91.
-Dwight D. Eisenhower looks at a key to his Presidential Library at the dedication ceremony. 10/31/59.
-The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.
President Nixon bowling at the White House Bowling Alley. 3/10/70.
The White House Bowling Alley first opened in 1947 while Harry S. Truman was in office. In 1955, it was moved across the street to the Old Executive Building.
Richard and Pat Nixon both enjoyed bowling, and so in 1969 they had a one-lane alley built beneath the North Portico using private funds.
Thomas Paine is selected as NASA’s Administrator on this day in 1969.
At 10:30 a.m. you and the Vice President will be escorted from your office to the Fish Room where you will be met by James M. Murray, President of the National Space club….”
Love it when the Presidential Daily Diary reads like an adventure game. The appendix pictured above is from Richard Nixon’s presentation of the Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy at the White House on March 5, 1969.
The trophy was presented to James Lovell, on behalf of the three Apollo 8 astronauts. After the ceremony, President Nixon announced that Thomas Paine had been selected as NASA’s third Administrator (thanks NASA History Office).
And if you are looking for a daily dose of space awesomeness, be sure to check out @NASAHistory.
-from the Nixon Library