Nixon Museum Opens New Watergate Exhibition

U.S. archivists unveiled a new permanent exhibition on Watergate Thursday at the Richard Nixon presidential library, aiming to give a more balanced view of the infamous scandal.

The Watergate Gallery -- which replaces a previous version criticized as a whitewash for Nixon -- aims to help "make sense of the web of personalities, actions and intentions at the heart of the Watergate scandal," said organizers.

"This exhibit .. inspires us to think about whether or not Watergate changed how Americans think about electoral politics, the presidency and the exercise of presidential power," said US archivist David S. Ferriero.

Combining official archives with personal reflections including by Nixon himself, the exhibition aims "to provide the narrative detail of the tangled events that became known as the Watergate scandal," he said.

The new exhibition opens three years after responsibility for the museum and library was taken from the Nixon Foundation, perceived as loyalists to the late president, and handed to the U.S. National Archives, curator of the new show.

The original exhibition notably referred to the Watergate scandal as a "coup" against him by his rivals. The Nixon Foundation said it gave Nixon's perspective on the scandal which force him from office in 1974.

The Foundation's board chief Ron Walker stressed Thursday that Watergate was only one part of the late U.S. president's career.

"Nearly 40 years after president Nixon left office, Watergate remains a controversial and much-studied subject. It is however, just one chapter in (Nixon's) enormously consequential life and career.

"The new Watergate exhibit at the Nixon Library represents one interpretation of the events that led to President Nixon’s resignation in 1974," he added in a statement.

Nixon, who resigned in disgrace in August 1974 for his administration's role in a burglary of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex in the U.S. capital, died in 1994.

He is buried in the grounds of the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, southeast of Los Angeles, beside his wife Pat, who had died the previous year.

Source: Agence France Presse

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