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Ronald Reagan Presidential Library In Ventura County Reopens After 14 Month Shutdown Caused By Pandemic

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(KCLU photo)
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The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley reopened to the public March 26th for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

Will initially operate Wednesdays through Sundays

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library is once again open to the public, after the pandemic caused the longest shutdown since it first opened in 1991.

Yolada Yolie and her friend, Luz Duta are among the very first visitors to set foot in the reopened Simi Valley library. They had never been to it before, and were thrilled to be among the first visitors during its reopening.

Staff members, and docents have been looking forward to this day for months.

Melissa Giller is Chief Marketing Officer for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. She talks about how COVID-19 safety protocols are impacting visitors. People who are fully vaccinated, and have met time guidelines following their shots don't have to wear masks. Those who don't meet the guidelines, or who are unvaccinated will need to wear masks.

There are also a number of safety protocols in place ranging from a plexiglass shield around the ticket center to more frequent cleaning of the library.

Giller says the Simi Valley library is reopening with limited days and hours of operation, but the hope is to expand soon. It's initially open 10-4 Wednesdays through Sundays. The goal is that in a few weeks that it can return to seven days a week with expanded hours

Visitors are excited about the chance to see exhibits ranging from some of President Reagan’s personal items to one of the plane’s which served as Air Force One when he was president.

Don Manuel and Kathy Weber are from Florida. They are first time visitors to the 200,000 square foot museum, and say they are thrilled to see a slice of history.

The Library tried to make the most of the shutdown by doing some work like remodeling its café, and expanding an outdoor seating area which has spectacular views from the hilltop facility.

There’s also a major new addition to outdoor displays which already included a former Air Force stealth fighter, and a piece of the infamous Berlin Wall. It's an M-1 tank which was added to the library's collection in December.

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(KCLU photo)
The Reagan Library added an M-1 tank to its outdoor exhibition area during the pandemic.

Giller says they are also very excited about a major new exhibition they will open in July. It's a look at the history of the FBI, featuring artifacts from famous cases like bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde's car, the manifesto written by the Unibomber, and a jet engine from one of the planes which crashed into the World Trade Center on 9/11.