LOS ANGELES - Admission will be free today at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library & Museum in Yorba Linda for Presidents Day, while the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley will mark the holiday with a set of free family-oriented activities.
The Nixon Library will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the first 100 guests receiving a free slice of cherry pie.
Actors portraying the presidents depicted on Mount Rushmore -- Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and George Washington -- will be available for pictures throughout the day.
Educational and "kid-friendly presidential programming" will be presented in the White House East Room at 1 p.m., the library's Anne Brown said.
Former presidential speechwriter James Humes will discuss Nixon's 1972 trip to China at 2:30 p.m.
An exhibit celebrating the centennial of the Nixon's birth opened Friday. "Patriot. President. Peacemaker." depicts Nixon's life from its humble beginnings to becoming the 37th president, encompassing five main themes of his life:
-- "RN: How American" deals with his early life, upbringing, education and service in the U.S. Navy during World War II. The bench he sat on while a member of the Whittier College football team, letters he sent his wife Pat when they were separated during the war, and the desk he built with his father for use in his Whittier law office are displayed.
-- "RN: In The Arena" begins with Nixon's first run for Congress in 1946 and continues through the 1960 presidential campaign. It includes the Checkers Speech, the first television broadcast to appeal directly to the American voters, and a re-creation of the 1950s-era American kitchen exhibited in Moscow where Nixon debated Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev on the merits of freedom versus communism.
-- "RN: Creating a More Just Society" includes previously unseen interviews with Nixon as he explains the decision behind his domestic policies ranging from the New Federalism programs designed to "return power to the people," along with groundbreaking environmental legislation, desegregation of Southern schools and returning to native Americans much of their former lands.
-- "RN: Peacemaker" recounts Nixon's ending U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, opening relations with China and detente with the Soviet Union, averting a U.S.-Soviet clash in the Middle East while providing vital aid to Israel during the Yom Kippur War, and diplomatic efforts with the Arab world.
-- "RN: Elder Statesman" covers the time following Nixon's 1974 resignation as president, when he made 13 international trips to more than 20 nations from 1976 to 1994 and was consulted by all his successors. The exhibit includes newly declassed national security documents revealing how Nixon advised then-President Bill Clinton on the shaping of the post-Cold War world.
The Reagan Library will conduct its 21st annual Presidents Day Celebration from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., including:
-- storytelling by presidential and first lady lookalikes portraying Lincoln, Washington, Theodore Roosevelt and Abigail Adams;
-- musical performances by The Pete Jacobs Swingtet at 10 a.m. and noon; and
-- crafts and activities including presidential bingo, making tri-corner colonial hats and Lincoln penny necklaces, Lincoln Log activities and Presidents Day coloring and activity sheets.
Admission is free, with food available for purchase.
The library will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with its regular admission rates -- $21 for adults, $15 for children ages 11 to 17 years old, $6 for children ages 3 to 10, and $18 for ages 62 and older. Children 2 and under are admitted free.
More information on the Reagan Library is available by calling (805) 522- 2977 or online at reaganfoundation.org.
Although commonly known as Presidents Day, the Monday holiday is still legally Washington's Birthday.
The holiday was shifted from Feb. 22 to the third Monday in February 1971 under the terms of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968. Because the holiday falls between Feb. 15 and 21 it can never fall on the actual anniversary of Washington's birth in 1732.
The term Presidents Day began being popularized in the 1980s, when retailers combined sales formerly held in conjunction with Washington and Lincoln's birthdays.