A Piece of History

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Gabi Curry writes, See history in action at the American Presidential Experience…

See history in action at the American Presidential Experience, this exhibit takes visitors through the lives of the presidents from George Washington to George W. Bush. It is the largest traveling exhibit of presidential artifacts. As you walk in you feel overwhelmed by the 150,000 square feet of presidential history. It is located in Parking Lot D at Invesco Field at Mile High. Memorabilia from President Abraham Lincoln to present day presidents is on display. This exhibit features both democratic and republican artifacts including some from first ladies and even losing candidates. There are thousands upon thousands of presidential campaign buttons, clothing, shoes, furniture, a limousine and even the original Air Force One. As you are gazing at all the merchandise from old campaign buttons to the newest Obama sportswear, towards the back of the exhibit, you can’t help but notice a replica of the oval office. Guiding you in are pictures of rooms in the White House. Finally, you walk through a doorway and you are in the oval office. This particular replica lets you see how Ronald Reagan decorated the office during his presidency. One of the first things you notice is a large jar of Jelly Belly jelly beans on the corner of the President’s desk. From what I understand this might have been President Reagan’s favorite food and maybe his largest contribution to the decoration of the office. His wife, Nancy, did most of the decorating. The most impressive exhibit was definitely the mock up of Air Force One. Before you board the plane volunteers are there to take a picture of you waving like the President. Once you enter the plane you are able to see the cockpit up close and personal. Considering that the plane was built in 1959, the technology is impressive. As you travel down the hall you come to the President’s office. I was lucky enough to spend some time with Daron Clinesmith who handled security on Air Force One during President Reagan’s term. “Reagan was always playing jokes on people, he liked to go around and take a picture of someone who was asleep” says Clinesmith. Daron served 3 1/2 years as presidential support security on Air Force One. Clinesmith says that his favorite part of working on Air Force One was being around the President. According to Daron, “He (President Reagan) always got a lot of work done aboard the plane then he spent the rest of his time relaxing.” The original version of Air Force One served America’s presidents from Dwight D. Eisenhower through George W. Bush, who retired the plane in 2001. If you want to experience a part of America’s history, take time to visit the American Presidential Experience.