Shutdown closes most of the presidential libraries — but not all. Here’s why

A hologram of President Ronald Reagan greets visitors at his presidential library in Yorba Linda.
(Frederic J. Brown / AFP/ Getty Images)

Travelers who like to visit presidential libraries will find only two of 13 sites open during the partial government shutdown: Ronald Reagan’s in Simi Valley and George W. Bush’s in Austin, Texas. The others overseen by the National Archives and Records Administration have been shuttered since the funding lapse started Dec. 22.

The Reagan library-museum remains open because it’s staffed and run by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute, a nonprofit organization, not a governmental entity.

At the Simi Valley site, where Reagan and his wife, Nancy, are buried, the archives and research area are closed but the museum and its two cafes remain open. (An exhibition about the ancient Roman city of Pompeii is on display through April.)

The George W. Bush library, which also houses a museum, is open because its operated by and on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Also, the document research area overseen by the National Archives is closed.


The website for the Richard Nixon library in Yorba Linda says the site is closed. But a foundation that operates part of the library-museum announced in a Dec. 22 statement that the White House East Room, a visitor orientation film, a holiday trains exhibit, the graves of Nixon and his wife, Pat, and other parts of the site are open.

Research and documents rooms are closed. (During the shutdown, tickets for adults cost $10 instead of $21.) Admission will be free Jan. 9 on what would have been Nixon’s 106th birthday; events are planned 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., according to the foundation’s website.

The George H.W. Bush library and museum at College Station, Texas, is closed. But visitors who want to pay their respects at the graves of the 41st president, who died Nov. 18, and his wife, Barbara, may do so from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Bush Library Rotunda, where visitors can tour a memorial exhibit, also is open.

The libraries honoring these presidents are closed until the end of the shutdown:


Herbert Hoover, West Branch, Iowa

Franklin Roosevelt, Hyde Park, N.Y.

Harry Truman, Independence, Mo.

Dwight Eisenhower, Abilene, Kan.


John F. Kennedy, Boston

Lyndon Johnson, Austin, Texas. (The LBJ Ranch, a historic site overseen by the National Park Service, near Stonewall, Texas, also is closed.)

Gerald Ford, Ann Arbor, Mich. Also, the Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids is closed; both are overseen by the National Archives.

Jimmy Carter, Atlanta


Bill Clinton, Little Rock, Ark.

Barack Obama’s will be the 14th presidential museum. His papers and documents overseen by the National Archive will be an all-digital collection. A separate Obama Presidential Center planned for Chicago’s South Side is being funded by the Obama Foundation.