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


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 ( 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 ( 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 ( in Abilene, Kan., John F. Kennedy ( in Boston and Ronald Reagan ( in Simi Valley, Calif.

• J. Sheinman

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