May 01, 2001
Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts May 2001 Current Issue
May 2001
Short Cuts:
Presidential settings

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America’s presidential libraries do more than enshrine the documents of our past chief executives. These facilities offer elegant, full-service meeting spaces. And, whatever the politics of the participants, presidential libraries somehow seem to elicit a spirit of bipartisanship.

“We host companies such as Delta, Home Depot and The Research Board,” says Lisa C.W. Wiley, manager of conference and events services at The Carter Center (www.cartercenter.org) in Atlanta. Founded by Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter in 1982, the center’s meeting facilities feature Internet access and videoconferencing. Various spaces host groups of 10 to 1,200. The on-site Jimmy Carter Library & Museum displays memorabilia from the 1976 presidential campaign.

Perhaps the liveliest presidential venue is The Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace (www.nixonlibrary.org) in Yorba Linda, Calif. Here visitors can listen to Watergate tapes (peppered with “strong language”), and the gift shop has campy items such as a coffee mug imprinted with a photo of Nixon shaking hands with Elvis Presley and labeled “The President and the King.” A theater seats 400, while the main lobby holds banquets for 400.

Other presidential libraries include those of Dwight Eisenhower (www.eisenhower.utexas.edu) in Abilene, Kan., John F. Kennedy (www.jfklibrary.org) in Boston and Ronald Reagan (www.reagan.utexas.edu) in Simi Valley, Calif.

• J. Sheinman


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