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UPDATE: The permanent and special exhibits at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum are open to the public. Our Research Room remains to closed to the public. We will continue to respond to written requests for records at gwbush.library@nara.gov. Please check the Library and Museum's website for updates on our operating hours and status.

A Look At Government - Situation Room Experience Study Unit

The purpose of this study unit is to provide students a real life look into the workings of government during a crisis situation. This study unit will also prepare students to participate in the Situation Room Experience Simulation.  Students will be immersed in the rapid decision-making process of events that simulate March 30, 1981, Near-Assassination of President Ronald Reagan.  The thought provoking questions listed below will foster student critical thinking skills and offer a real-time understanding of historical facts and actions of government: 

  • Reading books about the attempted assignation of Ronald Reagan. 
  • Guide students in discussions, individual/group projects, research papers, book reviews, debates, forums etc. using the topics and questions below:
  • Question of Responsibility
    • How to interpret the cause of the assassination attempt?
      • Isolated event
      • Opening incident of a coordinated plan
    • What exactly is the cabinet dealing with?
      • Lone gunman
      • Some sort of conspiracy
      • Some major threat to security
    • At what point might the Twenty-fifth Amendment to the Constitution need to be invoked?
  • Question of Authority
    • Would the Vice President assume emergency powers?
    • Who determines the status of the President and whether the Vice President becomes the acting President?
  • Other Questions of Concern
    • Who’s running the government right now?
    • How much do you tell the outside world?
      • International ramifications
      • Illusion of normality
  • Question of National Security and Defense
    • Should the alert status of our forces be raised?
    • How to mitigate interagency conflicts between the FBI and Security Service?