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Reagan Library Opens New “Star Wars and SDI: Defending America and the Galaxy” Exhibit

Posted by Chris on March 15, 2024 at 03:27 PM CST


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 15, 2024

Reagan Library Opens New Exhibit:
“Star Wars and SDI: Defending America and the Galaxy”

Special exhibit at the Reagan Library will feature original artifacts from Star Wars and
real-world technology of President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative




SIMI VALLEY, CA – The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute (RRPFI) today announces the public opening of its new exhibit: Star Wars and SDI: Defending America and the Galaxy. The exhibit explores President Reagan’s pivotal role in shaping the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) and its intersection with the Star Wars movie phenomenon. With news of Russia’s recent nuclear advancements in space, this timely exhibit pays homage to President Reagan’s lasting impact on national security and offers historical perspective to today’s issues.

During a televised speech to the nation on March 23, 1983, President Ronald Reagan unveiled his plans to initiate groundbreaking research into a national defense system aimed at making nuclear weapons obsolete. Using charts and intelligence photos of Soviet offensive weapons, President Reagan planned a research and development program aimed at neutralizing nuclear arms abroad through the use of advanced, space-based missile defense technologies.

Formally known as the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), the program was sarcastically dubbed “Star Wars” by the press and Reagan’s opponents, due to its ambitious goals, futuristic concepts and the release of Return of the Jedi just two months after Reagan’s speech.

On a few occasions, President Reagan himself used the name. In his remarks at the National Space Club Luncheon on March 29, 1985, he said: “The Strategic Defense Initiative has been labeled ‘Star Wars,’ but it isn't about war; it’s about peace. It isn’t about retaliation; it’s about prevention. It isn’t about fear; it’s about hope. And in that struggle, if you’ll pardon my stealing a film line: The force is with us.” 41 years later, the Star Wars name has stuck and remains a part of Ronald Reagan’s enduring legacy.

The Star Wars and SDI: Defending America and the Galaxy exhibition will feature both the real-world technology of SDI and memorabilia from the movie phenomenon. The exhibition will include original items from SDI, such as an authentic Command Launch Equipment Console. Additionally, it will showcase an array of Star Wars props and costumes, including the original dress worn by Princess Leia and the helmet worn by Darth Vader. There will also be a display of concept art from the Star Wars franchise, featuring a Landspeeder made for A New Hope, master replicas of Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber made from the original mold of The Last Jedi, and an original script signed by Dave Prowse, the actor who portrayed Darth Vader in the original trilogy.

“This family-friendly exhibit will be both educational and entertaining,” said Melissa Giller, Chief Marketing Officer of the Reagan Library. “It will illuminate the enduring connections between politics, popular culture and national defense that President Reagan himself brought together during his presidency.”

This new display comes on the heels of the Reagan Library’s previous exhibit, Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away., which ended on January 28th following record-breaking ticket sales, reminding hundreds of thousands of visitors to never forget the atrocities of the past.

Visitors are encouraged to pre-purchase their tickets at www.reaganlibrary.com/starwars. Ticket prices for this exhibition are $25 for adults, $22 for seniors, $18 for youth (ages 11-17), and $15 for children (ages 3-10). This exhibition will close on September 8, 2024.

About the Reagan Foundation and Institute

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute (RRPFI) is the sole nonprofit organization created by President Reagan charged with continuing his legacy and advancing his principles – limited government, individual liberty, economic opportunity, freedom and democracy, peace through strength, and national pride. The Foundation is a non-partisan organization which sustains the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, CA, the Reagan Center for Public Affairs, the Presidential Learning Center, The Air Force One Pavilion, the award-winning Reagan Leadership Academy, and the Reagan Institute, which carries out the Foundation’s mission in Washington, D.C.

The Reagan Library houses over 55 million pages of Gubernatorial, Presidential and personal papers and over 60,000 gifts and artifacts chronicling the lives of Ronald and Nancy Reagan. It also serves as the final resting place of America’s 40th President and his First Lady. More information is available at www.reaganfoundation.org.

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