As America enjoys another presidential inauguration, in the Southland there remains no shortage of opportunities to gain a deeper patriotic understanding. Two presidential libraries, an art exhibit, public debates and even a comedy show give occasion for celebration in Los Angeles as the 44th president renews his vows to the United States.
Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum
40 Presidential Drive
Simi Valley, CA 93065
Price: $21 adults/$18 seniors 62 and older/$15 youth 11 to 17 years/$6 children
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum celebrates the life of the country’s 40th president as you honor its 44th. Born in 1911, Reagan served in the White House from 1981 to 1989. The former Governor of California was well known for his acting career before politics. From Air Force One to the Presidential Library, visitors will be steeped in memorabilia and exhibits covering the life and times of a man who lived the American dream, just like President Barack Obama. Tours are self-directed in several buildings and extensive gardens beckon visitors to reflect.
Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Birthplace
18001 Yorba Linda Blvd.
Yorba Linda, CA 92886
Price: $11.95 adults/$8.50 seniors 62 and older/$6.95 students and military/$4.75 children
The 37th President of the United States, Richard Milhous Nixon, served from 1969 to 1974. His term was controversial, but visitors will learn how this president earned his place in history. The library and exhibits are located at his birthplace. On nine acres, between the presidential helicopter that brought Nixon back to California after the resignation and rotating exhibits, guests come away with a deep appreciation of that transitional period of America’s story and a better understanding of this presidency.
Related: 5 Reasons To Visit The Nixon Library
MOCA’s First Thirty Years – Political Art
The Geffen Contemporary at the MOCA
152 N. Central Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Price: $12 general admission/$7 students/$7 seniors 65 and older/free for children under 12
This curators’ collected works have a strong political theme. Art as social commentary is the exhibit’s driving force. Part of the permanent collection, political art takes front stage here, giving viewers artistic interpretations of the American experience, interpretations that go beyond words to the soul. The collection reflects the last three decades since the MOCA was founded in 1979 for a true historical review of contemporary political art.
Capitol Steps in Long Beach
Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center
6200 Atherton St.
Long Beach, CA 90815
Hours: Jan. 12, 8 to 10 p.m.
For a less-than-serious celebration, there is no better known comedic review of current events in Los Angeles, and all political persuasions are a target. Every performance is unique and over the top, taking in the latest Washington D.C. antics. Sketches and songs collide with business-as-usual national politics in a non-stop festival of laughter. More than just fun, it’s serious political satire with a punch.
Freedom of the Press
Democracy Matters: Soapbox Series at the Skirball Cultural Center
2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90049
Price: $10 general/$7 seniors/$5 students/$5 children 2 to 12 years/children under 2 free
Hours: Jan. 13, 2 p.m.
This special event, part of a series, celebrates the country’s diversity and freedoms. Guest speakers take to their soapboxes expounding on the issues facing a modern America and what a second term means for those issues. Through moderated debate, Pulitzer Prize-winning Professor Geneva Overholser interacts with others in the full exercise of the First Amendment. The renowned Jewish cultural center continues its tradition of embracing contemporary democracy drawing together the broad community.
Robert Cuthbert is a freelance writer covering all things Los Angeles. His work can be found on Examiner.com.