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UPDATE: The permanent and special exhibits at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum are open to the public. The Research Room is open by appointment only. Schedule a virtual orientation prior to booking travel. We continue to respond to written requests for records at gwbush.library@nara.gov. Please check our website or archives.gov/coronavirus for updates on 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?