History Repeats Itself In New UNR Political Exhibit

Aug 18, 2016

A new political exhibit at the University of Nevada, Reno is exploring the history of political campaigns across the state. Reno Public Radio’s Noah Glick has more.

There’s an old cliché that says history will repeat itself. I saw that firsthand while looking at a decades old campaign speech from former Nevada Senator Paul Laxalt.

"In the end of the second or third paragraph…'We are committed to making America great again.'"

"Boy does that sound familiar? Yes, it’s hard to know how many phrases through the years have been used and used and used."

That’s Jacquelyn Sundstrand, the manuscripts and archives librarian for UNR’s special collections. She’s also my tour guide for the new exhibit, called “The Road To Office: Campaigns, Elections and Governance.”

An image of former President Ronald Reagan and Nevada Senator Paul Laxalt includes a handwritten note from the president.
Credit Noah Glick

One of the major themes is the relationship between former President Ronald Reagan and Laxalt.

“He was often times called the ‘First Friend’ of the President," Sundstrand says. "Even though he was a Senator, he was called upon to have his opinion on what was happening with the administration, and how did the President feel about this or that?”

The exhibit also includes quirky campaign swag and informational brochures on issues that affected Nevadans in the past—things like school overcrowding and tax increases.

It turns out history does repeat itself—a lot.

A look inside the main exhibit room, located on the third floor of the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center on UNR's campus.
Credit Noah Glick