Guess Whose Library Is A Snore

As the summer tourism season winds down, consider Presidential libraries. Dull places, reserved for scholars and worshipers of former Chief Executives? Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

Take the three-year-old Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif. Eager to lure a few tourists for the Gipper, the center just sponsored a high-tech trade show. The Technology Exposition on Tomorrow's California, or "Texpo," was billed as pro- moting "appreciation of the post-cold-war technology revolution." Attendees went on a virtual-reality chase through city streets, flew in a simulated hang glider, and viewed Hollywood's computerized special effects. Cost: just $4 for adults, $2 for kids. During its Aug. 26-28 run, the library attracted 2,300 visitors, one of its biggest weekends ever.

But at the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace in Yorba Linda, Calif., the crowds are absent. For $4.95, through Sept. 6, you can catch an exhibit of Presidential neckties, featuring 35 "colorful ties, fashionable cuff links, stylish tie bars, and other accessories, reflecting 200 years of Presidential taste." There's Jefferson's ascot, Lincoln's bow tie, and the red-and-green number Bill Clinton wore while playing the sax for Boris Yeltsin. Ron Grover