New room!

Peter Sharkey provided the photos and details for the addition of a new room in the White House Museum: the East Wing’s East Reception Room, a space used to gather and greet those who have business in the First Lady’s domain.

I’ve added a hotspot to the map of the first floor of the East Wing, but it’s unlabeled for now. It’s the large green space on the map.

White House Flickr still blank

The official Flickr account of the White House, well exercised by the Obama administration, remains blank after three weeks into the succeeding administration. Pete Souza’s work (which is still available at a new Obama White House account) was not of much interest to a White House enthusiast. He hardly shot a single photo of a space rather than people, and very few in non-public parts of the White House. (Architectural Digest salvaged things by documenting the Obama White House in its final days.) We would hope that the incoming administration would change have a different photographic style, but we’ll apparently have to wait a bit longer.

Trump moves in

Trump is using Clinton’s gold drapes and Reagan’s sunburst rug in the Oval Office in his opening days. George W Bush also used Reagan’s rug in his first days.

The Reagan, Bush 2, and Obama rugs are all very beautiful, in my personal opinion. I don’t think the gold drapes go well with the rug (Clinton’s rug was blue) or with the walls, which Obama changed from its traditional white to the pale beige stripes. But Obama’s drapes (like Reagan’s) were burnt orange, which I didn’t care much for.

The Obamas’ decorating style (care of Michael Smith) was very different from first families before. In many ways, it was more contemporary (particularly in the choice of art) and casual, with the repeated use of bark-like patterns in the carpets (even in the State Dining Room). The Treaty Room, in particular, took on the look of a swanky Chicago penthouse.

This is likely to change markedly in the coming months.

oval-office-2017-trump

Updates coming

Thanks to all for the notes. I’ve busied myself for many months now doing local history research, but I promise to return to the White House Museum to do some updates this week. The Architectural Digest photos, the presidential library additions, and more!

Clinton bedroom

Brent L sent me an image from a Clinton Library video that featured President Clinton talking in and about various rooms. But early one, there was a brief walk-thru of a few rooms which happened to include the master bedroom. There was even a very brief glimpse of the Living Room, but not clear enough for a screen capture.

As far as I know, there have never been any official photos of the Clinton master bedroom and living room published, so this video was a bit of a shock. Still, it’s quite low quality and only really shows the color of the room and basic decor, particularly that the walls were covered in a large, strong pattern of wallpaper in place of the Reagan bamboo forest wallpaper. Very interesting.

Thanks, Brent!

If anyone knows of a higher quality version of this video and can get a better screen cap, I’d be grateful.

Blueprint sponsorship

I haven’t had much to do in the White House Museum lately. I make small corrections when someone points them out, but the Obama administration hasn’t released much in the way of interesting photos of White House spaces, and I haven’t come across any interesting cache of old photos for a while.

However, I’m grateful to Patrick Phillips-Schrock, who donated again to fully sponsor the Green Room blueprints. He is working now on a second book about the White House. I think there are probably some photos and information in his first book that I should try to incorporate into the site as well.

Other sponsorships are still available, and of course donations of any sort are always welcome. The site it not especially expensive to maintain, but the blueprints were costly, and finding a way to preserve them (and, hopefully, make copies for sale) will be a challenge. One day, I hope to see them hang in a proper museum.

Perhaps in the meantime, I’ll photograph parts of them and post those on the blog here.

More Kennedy photos

I’ve posted dozens of photos from the Kennedy Library in the last few days. Most are terrific color pictures that fill in areas for that period that I didn’t have good photos for already. An additional few also replace inferior versions of the same photos that I’d found in books and elsewhere.

Harry Potter charity event

A little cross-promotion, if you’ll pardon the intrusion….

Some friends of mine (actual, not just in my head) called Friends in Your Head are going to do a marathon of audio commentaries live-streamed on December 7. I AM SPONSORING (from my Zarban.com website) AND PARTICIPATING. We’ll be trading off over a 24-hour period as we talk thru all the Harry Potter movies as well as other topic in between.

It’s a charity event for the Against Malaria Foundation. Please consider throwing a little of your hard-earned cash that way!

Helen Thomas

Long-time White House press corps fixture Helen Thomas died the other day at the age of 92. She served UPI and other news organizations for decades, from 1961 to 2010. Best wishes to her family and friends.

Helen Thomas

01 Mar 1962, Washington, DC, USA — This is a photograph of Helen Thomas, UPI reporter in Washington, DC. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS