Nixon Presidential Library Opens New Watergate Exhibit

Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero recently opened “The Watergate Gallery” a permanent exhibition at the National Archives Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.

This new exhibition, designed to help visitor make sense of the web of personalities, actions and intentions at the heart of the Watergate scandal, chronicles the events beginning in June 1971, with the leak of the Pentagon Papers and the formation of a clandestine White House group known as the Plumbers, and ending with former President Richard Nixon’s public explanations of Watergate after he left office.

The Gallery, through documents, White House tape recordings, and oral histories, addresses issues such as abuses of governmental power, secret Presidential taping, and the role of the three branches of government and the media in this constitutional crisis. The exhibition features a timeline of Watergate events with eight interactive screens that draw from the White House tapes and 131 oral history interviews done by the Library with key players like G. Gordon Liddy, Bob Woodward and Charles Colson. The Gallery includes Watergate’s legislative legacy and an interactive resource center of documents, oral histories, excerpts from the White House tapes, and television coverage from the era.

The Watergate Gallery includes a timeline that is organized around six themes: Abuse of Power; Dirty Tricks and Political Espionage; The Cover-Up; Investigations; The Fight Over the Tapes; and Why Watergate Mattered. These topics are explored in the timeline through 46 segments from the Library’s new oral histories, the White House tapes and news coverage from the era.

The Gallery also includes thematic exhibits on presidential taping, on the 18 ½ minute gap, the Supreme Court and U.S. v. Nixon, Watergate’s Legislative Legacy, and the Frost/Nixon interview. In addition, the Gallery offers visitors the Watergate Resource Center, an archival resource, where they can examine much of the historical background, listen to news media coverage and oral histories from significant individuals of the era, The Gallery, which draws upon Watergate-related materials released by the Nixon Library in recent years, provides new insights into the affair.

Visitors to the Gallery are encouraged to add their reactions and reflections to a digital guest book.