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Venues with Presidential Prestige

For a venue that’s as prestigious as it is historic, planners should consider a presidential library for their next meeting destination.

First established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939, these libraries serve as important national archives and museums dedicated to documenting the administrations and displaying the legacies of great American leaders. In addition to housing important information and artifacts from chapters of American history, they can serve as elegant, distinguished backdrops for a range of meetings and events. 

Planners can make history come alive at their next meeting by choosing any of these presidential libraries.

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

Simi Valley, California

Opened in 1991, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and museum chronicles the life and political career of the 40th president. The 300-acre campus is renowned for its picturesque views of Simi Valley and the Pacific Ocean. It serves as the final resting place for President Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan. In addition to its vast collection of documents, photographs and footage from the Reagan administration, this library features an array of notable artifacts related to his presidency, including the Boeing 707 that Reagan used as Air Force One and a piece of the Berlin Wall. 

Those interested in military history will be impressed by the museum’s collection of military artifacts, including a Nighthawk stealth fighter jet. Guests of the library can even check out the museum’s hologram of Reagan to hear the president’s words for themselves.

“Reagan Library is one of California’s most unique venues,” said Deanna Baker, director of the event group at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute.  

Meeting attendees can enjoy a self-guided tour of the library and museum’s exhibits and artifacts. The library offers distinct spaces for meetings and events of all sizes. The Air Force One Pavilion can accommodate groups as large as 2,000 for reception-style events and can seat up to 1,400. For smaller meetings, planners can reserve the Air Force One Board Room, which offers theater seating for 130. For an outdoor space, attendees can enjoy the manicured lawns of the White House Rose Garden or the Air Force One Overlook. The museum’s exclusive on-site caterer provides food and beverages for every event, from plated dinners to cocktail receptions.

George H.W. Bush Presidential Library

College Station, Texas

The George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, on the campus of Texas A&M University, opened in 1997  and tells the story of the 41st president’s life while promoting his values of civic literacy and community.

The library and museum are home to numerous exhibits and artifacts that detail the lives of the president and his family, including family photos and letters. The museum also displays a restored 1944 TBM Avenger exactly like the aircraft Bush flew during World War II during his time in the U.S. Navy. Other exhibits and artifacts, such as a piece of the Berlin Wall, a replica of the Oval Office and a replica of the White House Situation Room, document Bush’s political career from his time as director of the CIA to his time in office. Library guests can also pay their respects at the Bush family gravesite, the final resting place of the former president and first lady. 

“It’s such a unique experience and unique venue,” said Tracy Paine, programs and events director at the library. “It has a certain status about it.” 

The library’s unusual location in a college town and on a college campus makes a vibrant setting for meetings. Attendees can enjoy a guided tour of the museum to learn about the rich life and history of Bush and his administration. The museum’s rotunda offers an elegant setting for receptions and dinners and can seat up to 150. An auditorium can seat 150 theater style and has audiovisual capabilities for presentations or lectures, and the library’s classroom can seat up to 50. Because it is part of the Bush school, planners may be able to secure prominent keynote speakers, such as former ambassadors or CIA agents, to speak at their events. The library is also open to most outside caterers for events.

Abraham Lincoln  Presidential Library and Museum

Springfield, Illinois

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum opened in 2005 to educate the public on the life and legacy of one of the nation’s most famous presidents. Its exhibits examine the life of Abraham Lincoln while displaying artifacts from his administration and the Civil War. In addition to the archival collections, the museum also offers a variety of interactive programming and exhibits for guests, such as theater productions. 

“The fact that they have the ability to learn more about Lincoln’s life and legacy is a terrific opportunity,” said Britta Brackney, venue rental manager at the library.

Both the library and the museum buildings offer a variety of award-winning venues from which planners can choose. In the library, the multipurpose room can seat 100 classroom or banquet style and includes a reception room for catering. The Lincoln Reception Room in the library’s picturesque rotunda is great for up to 100 guests reception style and can accommodate up to 60 attendees for a banquet. For smaller meetings or events, conference rooms and classrooms are available. The museum’s notable rental spaces include its plaza, which can seat 300, and the Union Theater, which can seat 250. 

The library offers a choice between its in-house catering service and other local catering companies. Add-ons, such as scavenger hunts, history lessons and actor performances can add an exciting and entertaining twist to any event.

Clinton Presidential Library

Little Rock, Arkansas

Featuring gorgeous west-facing views of Little Rock and the Arkansas River, the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum opened in 2004 and houses the largest number of artifacts and archival holdings of any presidential library. President Clinton’s political career and presidency are documented with over 100,000 artifacts for library guests to view, including Clinton’s presidential limousine and thousands of gifts sent to Clinton during his time in office. Exhibits that detail the Clintons’ early years and the president’s political campaigns allow guests to learn about the Clinton administration and the world surrounding it. 

“A presidential center is already a spectacular building, is already a historic site,” said Paige Thurmond, catering manager at the Clinton Foundation, “and ours is exceptionally beautiful with its placement on the river and convenience to downtown Little Rock.”

The library offers several spaces for meetings and events, including its Great Hall. This 5,000-square-foot space offers attendees spectacular sunset views for evening events. It can accommodate 500 for a reception-style event, 250 seated at tables and over 350 theater style. Classroom space is available in a second building on the Clinton Foundation’s campus. The library’s on-site restaurant, 42 Barn Table, also provides space for events, including two outdoor spaces well suited to evening happy hours and small receptions. This restaurant provides exclusive on-site catering for events.

Franklin D. Roosevelt  Presidential Library and Museum

Hyde Park, New York

Dedicated in 1941, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum was the first presidential library to be created. Its purpose of preserving and documenting a president’s time in office set a precedent of transparency by allowing the public access to the documents and artifacts from FDR’s administration. 

In addition to appreciating the library’s historic significance, visitors are also sure to enjoy the vast collection of letters, documents and personal possessions of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. History enthusiasts will be fascinated by the exhibits detailing American life and presidential leadership during the pivotal 1930s and 1940s. 

“Because Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt lived and often worked here, the visitor center facility offers a unique place for today’s corporate and nonprofit leaders to meet and learn about these influential Americans,” said Clifford Laube, public programs specialist at the library. 

The library offers several venues for meetings and events, including its multipurpose room, which accommodates up to 175 people; an auditorium that seats 150; and a conference room that holds 24. Catering is available on-site or through local vendors. Attendees can also enjoy free admission to the library and museum, and planners can arrange for staff experts to speak to groups on a variety of historical topics.