Hear the infamous gap in the tape that sealed the fate of US President Richard Nixon exactly 50 years ago
On 20 June 1972, Richard Nixon recorded himself having a conversation that likely contained damning proof of his role in the cover-up of the Watergate Hotel break-in, a scandal that would ultimately lead to his resignation. When congressional investigators became aware of the conversation and subpoenaed the tape, they discovered that someone had erased eighteen and a half minutes of the tape.
The erasure was studied by audiology experts and a report produced, documenting at least four or five separate erasure events on the magnetic reel-to-reel tape. It was sloppy. Many suspected – due to his well-known technological incompetence – that Nixon himself erased it.
But the erased portion of the tape was not silent; far from it.
Multiple attempts have been made in the half-century since to extract the original contents of ‘the 18 1/2 minute gap’ as it came to be called. So far, all have failed.
This summer, the Museum of Portable Sound will present this erasure as the basis for a temporary summer blockbuster exhibition marking the 50th anniversary of the Watergate break-in scandal.
18 1/2 Minutes: The Erasure of Watergate Tape 342 will allow visitors to hear the entire erasure for themselves while perusing once-secret US government documents and other paraphernalia that can only be unlocked on our website via a unique secret password.
Visitors will only have access to the materials for the duration of the 18 1/2 minute recording.
The longer you listen, the more you will see.
18 1/2 Minutes: The Erasure of Watergate Tape 342 will open to the public on 20 June 2022.
Stay tuned for updates and more information about this historic exhibition, and follow #TheRoseMaryStretch across social media.