The Working White House: 200 Years of Tradition and Memories is a treasure trove of information about what goes on behind-the-scenes in the White House.
Developed jointly by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and the White House Historical Association, the exhibit features a wide range of text panels, photographs and artifacts that were actually used in the White House. The traveling exhibit is in the midst of a nationwide tour organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Services (SITES). It has been on tour since 2008 and will continue to travel through 2012.
The Working White House explores the unique culture that exists among the staff that keeps the White House running like a well-oiled machine. An optional audio tour includes in-depth interviews with White House staff discussing their own personal recollections and experiences with a range of US presidents.
The exhibition includes a short documentary featuring the first-person accounts of cooks, stewards and housekeepers who have silently witnessed history while carrying out their duties.
Artifacts include a skillet used in the White House kitchen, calligrapher’s pens and official invitations. A highlight of the exhibit is the tie President Kennedy had in his pocket when he was assassinated. Jackie Kennedy gave it to longtime White House doorman Preston Bruce, illustrating the close bonds forged between White House staff and the First Families.
The Working White House provides a unique perspective on American history. Go see it. You won’t be sorry.
The Working White House Itinerary
3/20/2010 - 5/30/2010
Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum, Abilene, KS
6/19/2010 - 8/29/2010
Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History, Kennesaw, GA
9/18/2010 - 11/28/2010
California University of Pennsylvania, California, PA
12/18/2010 - 2/27/2011
Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum, Atlanta, GA
3/19/2011 - 5/29/2011
Orange County Regional History Center, Orlando, FL
6/18/2011 - 8/28/2011
Stearns History Museum, St. Cloud, MN
9/17/2011 - 11/27/2011
Museum of Mobile, Mobile, AL
12/17/2011 - 2/26/2012
Museum of History and Art, Ontario, CA
The author booked this exhibition for her employer, the McKinley Presidential Library & Museum, in 2009 and was not compensated in any way for writing this review.