Timothy Naftali Leaving Post as Nixon Presidential Library Director

According to a recent article in History News Network, Timothy Naftali, the director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, is stepping down on November 19 after over four years at the helm.

The Nixon Library was established by the Nixon family in 1990, without the benefit of Nixon’s presidential documents, recordings, and other records held by the National Archives and Records Administration. NARA refused to turn their documents over to the private Nixon Foundation for fear that they would be misused, and indeed the private library developed a reputation for zealously safeguarding the president’s legacy to the point of distortion. After considerable legal wrangling that spanned the course of a decade and a half, the library fell under NARA’s authority in 2007, when Naftali, already director of the governmental Nixon Presidential Materials Project since 2006, was put in charge of the library in Yorba Linda, California.

Among Naftali’s greatest challenges, and achievements, was revamping the Library’s Watergate Exhibit which had been assembled by the Nixon Library Foundation and told the story from a decidedly pro-Nixon viewpoint. After being closed down for several years, the exhibit finally re-opened last April to great acclaim as Naftali and his staff brought a more balanced view to the Watergate era.