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White House Historical Association Announces “The People’s House: A White House Experience”
New educational, interactive space near the White House to open in fall of 2024.
Visitors traveling to Washington, D.C. who may not get the opportunity to tour the White House will soon have access to an interactive educational experience called “The People’s House: A White House Experience,” the White House Historical Association announced Friday.
First Lady Dr. Jill Biden made the announcement during the association’s biennial gala. The experience will tell the story of the Executive Mansion, its inhabitants and the people who have dedicated their careers to its functions. The space is set to open in the fall of 2024.
“‘The People’s House: A White House Experience’ will be an innovative, immersive, and educational journey – one that transports visitors to different chapters in time,” said First Lady Dr. Jill Biden during the event. “At its core, this project is about education – teaching our students about our country’s origins, bringing to life the countless people who shaped it and who made the White House into the beating heart of our democracy.”
Situated on 1700 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, the 33,000-square-foot three-floor site will feature exhibits and galleries bringing the White House and its storied history to life, according to a statement released by the White House Historical Association. Visitors will interact with a large-scale White House model, recreation of the Rose Garden, full-scale replica of the Oval Office, recreation of White House moments and more dimensional galleries combining immersive media and inventive scenic representations. And, it will be located one block away from the White House.
“I couldn’t be more excited to embark on this new chapter for the Association and share the rich history of the executive mansion with hundreds of thousands of visitors every year,” said Stewart McLaurin, President of the White House Historical Association, in a statement. “It’s an honor to carry out our ongoing mission to preserve the legacy of the White House and give back to the public through our new educational space.”
Located within a building recently renovated by Gensler, the firm that will be overseeing the construction and architectural designs, the new space will create an inviting experience about one of the most important institutions in the world with exhibits planned by Ralph Appelbaum Associates. The space will also feature a 1,500-square-foot flagship retail store. Above the exhibit and retail space will lie a new educational wing, designed for students and other groups to further explore the exhibit’s contents.
“This isn’t just a space where American history is observed; it’s where it is experienced in an unforgettable way,” said Nick Appelbaum, President and CEO, Ralph Appelbaum Associates in a statement. “Using new technology and media … our goal is to create a meaningful connection between the broader story of our nation and the individual experiences of each visitor."
Nov. 16, 2023
Virtual Legacy Lecture: Jackie and the Books She Loved, Penning a Picture Book
The National First Ladies Library will feature author Ronni Diamondstein who will read her debut children’s book “Jackie and the Books She Loved”. Diamondstein will discuss how this book came to be and the remarkable literary life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, the “First Lady of Literature.” Read more
Nov. 16, 2023
Third Thursdays Night Out with Jackie Kennedy - Private Curator-Led Tour
The National First Ladies Library and Museum invites visitors to “Get to Know the Real Jackie O” with this behind-the-scenes private tour led by their curator of the exhibition Beyond Camelot: The Life and Legacy of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Light appetizers and drinks are included. Read more
Nov. 24-25, Dec. 1-2, Dec. 8-9, and Dec. 17, 2023
Mount Vernon by Candlelight
Tour George Washington’s historic estate by candlelight and learn about holiday traditions in 18th-century Virginia. This year's event will explore the build-up to the Revolution as the 250th anniversary of the year 1773 is celebrated. Read more
Nov. 27, 2023
Virtual First Ladies on the Page Book Discussion: “Sisters First”
The National First Ladies Library and Museum will host a staff-led book discussion on Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life by Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush, the fraternal twin daughters of former First Lady Laura Bush and George W. Bush, the 43rd president of the United States. Born into a political dynasty, Jenna and Barbara Bush grew up in the public eye. As small children, they watched their grandfather become president; just twelve years later they stood by their father's side when he took the same oath. They spent their college years watched over by Secret Service agents and became fodder for the tabloids, with teenage mistakes making national headlines. Read more
Now through Nov. 27, 2023
Apply for Funds From the Laura Bush Foundation For America’s Libraries
Grant applications are now open for The Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries. The foundation provides funds to schools in the United States that are in need to extend, update, and diversify the book and print collections in their libraries with the goal of encouraging students to develop a love of reading and learning.
Since its inception in 2002, the Laura Bush Foundation has awarded $21 million to over 3,600 schools across the country, according to a statement from the foundation. In the 2022-2023 grant cycle, the Laura Bush Foundation awarded $1.5 million in grants to 300 school libraries across 36 states. Many librarians used the funds to update their library collections by adding more dual language titles and books that showcase a wide range of stories and perspectives.
The application deadline is Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. Successful applicants will be notified by mid-late spring 2024. Read more
Nov. 28, 2023
Virtual Forum: Carl Sferrazza Anthony Discusses New Jackie Kennedy Book
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum welcomes historian and author Carl Sferrazza Anthony to discuss his new book Camera Girl: The Coming of Age of Jackie Bouvier Kennedy, a new biography exploring Mrs. Kennedy’s early adulthood. Eileen McNamara, Pulitzer Prize-winning former Boston Globe columnist and Brandeis professor emerita of the practice of journalism, moderates. Time: 6 to 7:30 pm EST. Register here
Dec. 5, 2023
White House History Live: The Washingtons, the Custises, and the Making of America
Learn more about the history of the nation’s “first family” during a White House Historical Association Facebook and YouTube Live event. The program will trace George Washington’s step grandchildren, the Custises, from childhood celebrities to carriers of the Washington legacy in nineteenth century America. Author Cassandra Good will discuss her book, “First Family,” sharing insights on writing the story of this historic family.
The program is part of the White House Live series and explores the stories that make up the history of the executive mansion and can be live streamed on the White House Historical Association's Facebook and YouTube pages starting at 5:30 pm ET on December 5. Read more
Dec. 6, 2023
Online — Ann Lowe: An American Couturier with a First Ladies' Connection
The National First Ladies Library will feature Elizabeth Way, associate curator of costume at FIT in an online discussion of the Ann Lowe exhibition at the Winterthur Museum. Ann Lowe (c. 1898 - 1981) was a prolific American fashion designer, working from the 1910s in Montgomery, Alabama, through the 1920s in Tampa, Florida, and for four decades in New York City. Lowe spent her career creating custom gowns for elite American women, specializing in intricate, feminine silhouettes and floral embellishments. Her most famous design is Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy's 1953 wedding dress. Read more
Dec. 10, 2023
A Timeless Holiday Tea at the National First Ladies Library
Celebrate the warmth of the holidays at the National First Ladies Library and Museum with “A Timeless Holiday Tea”' featuring a livestreamed program by Coleen Christian, former White House holiday decorator. Coleen Christian is an esteemed interior decorator who was part of the White House decorating team in 2008, where she created icicle trees in the Grand Lobby and festive Fife and Drum motifs in the State Dining Room. She is the author of “Christmas with the First Ladies: The White House Decorating Tradition from Jacqueline Kennedy to Michelle Obama.” Signed copies of Coleen Christian’s book will be available for purchase. Read more
Dec. 21, 2023
Third Thursdays Night Out with Jackie Kennedy - Private Curator-Led Tour
The National First Ladies Library invites visitors to “Get to Know the Real Jackie O” with this behind-the-scenes private tour led by their curator of the exhibition Beyond Camelot: The Life and Legacy of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Light appetizers and drinks are included. Read more
Now through Dec. 31, 2023
Apply for the Washington Library’s Fellowship Program
The Washington Library is accepting applications for its 2024-2025 research fellowship program now through Dec. 31, 2023. Research fellows can spend one, three, or six months as a research fellow at the George Washington Library, located at George Washington’s Mount Vernon in Virginia. Funded research opportunities are available to people researching the early American period. Read more
On exhibit through April 27, 2024
Beyond Camelot: The Life and Legacy of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
Visitors to the National First Ladies Library in Canton, Ohio, can explore a replica of former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy’s wedding gown designed by Anne Lowe and other never-before-seen artifacts donated by Monte Durham of Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta. The free exhibition runs through April 27, 2024 and is open to the public. Read more
Jill Biden Opens Virtual Tour of the White House
First Lady Dr. Jill Biden recently invited teachers to celebrate National Civics Day, with a virtual educational tour of the White House. “I invite you and your students to take a virtual field trip to learn about our past and present,” Biden said on “X”, formerly Twitter. View here
Watch now: “The White House is not just an office, but a home”
To enhance First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt's "My Day" newspaper columns, Allida M. Black, Director and Editor of The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers and Research Professor of History & International Affairs at The George Washington University, sat down for an interview with The White House Historical Association covering topics from the Roosevelt's style of entertaining to what the White House was like during World War II. View here
Mrs. Bush’s Story Time
“Mrs. Bush’s Story Time” is a podcast for families, featuring original recordings from the radio program of the same name. The podcast brings to life former First Lady Barbara Bush’s commitment to family literacy and lifelong learning for a whole new generation. Listen here
“U.S. First Ladies: Making History and Leaving Legacies”
The White House 1600 Sessions features White House Historical Association president and host Stewart McLaurin sitting down with Anita McBride, former chief of staff to First Lady Laura Bush, and current director of American University’s First Ladies Initiative, at the Dolley Madison House in Washington, DC for an insightful interview about her co-authored new book “U.S. First Ladies: Making History and Leaving Legacies.” The discussion reveals the history of how first ladies have influenced American society, public policy, diplomacy, and life in the White House. View here
What Spooky Novels Did Martha Washington Enjoy Reading?
Faith and Freedom
This full-length podcast episode presented by George Washington’s Mount Vernon explores a set of prayer books belonging to Martha Washington and her granddaughters. Listeners can learn from resource specialist Jennifer Seiter what the Washington family heirloom reveals about the sweeping religious changes happening in the United States during the early Republic and George Washington’s own commitment to religious freedom. Listen here
Learn About Jacqueline Kennedy’s Friend and Rose Garden Designer “Bunny” Mellon
Last month, The White House Historical Association released a new podcast from The White House 1600 Sessions series featuring a conversation with Thomas Lloyd, author and member of the Association’s National Council, about his book “Garden Secrets of Bunny Mellon.”
In the episode, Stewart McLaurin, president of the association, travels to the home of Rachel Lambert “Bunny” Mellon, philanthropist, stylemaker and renowned gardener, to meet with Lloyd, Mrs. Mellon’s grandson, to talk about her most famous design— refurbishing the White House Rose Garden. Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, a close friend of Mellon, handcrafted a memory book for her, which also is discussed in the podcast. Listen here
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