Finding myself with still more time on my hands and access to air and hotel points, I’ve booked a trip to Washington, DC for next Thursday. It’s too short of notice to get a ticket to the WH tour, but that’s how my business trips to DC have been in the past too. I’ll knock around the town for a couple of days and plan a more comprehensive trip with WH tour for a few months from now.
Of course, I had tried to plan a trip with WH tour for sometime in June, but as I researched it, I came to think that I wouldn’t be able to get WH tickets. After talking to the local congressman’s office, I found that, with advance notice, a small group could be accommodated in a larger group that is already going.
Added several photos of the grounds courtesy of vistor Lafayette.
I’ve changed the front page for October to the old Family Dining Room around 1900. The gallery of past front pages is available as usual.
Portfolio Art Blog notes that the White House Acquisition Trust bought The Builders (Jacob Lawrence, 1947) for the Green Room for $2.5 mill. Who is WHAT? Wikipedia says its a fund for buying stuff for the WH and is worth $8.5 mill, or was until recently.
It’s kitchen day! Get your kitchen photos. And read all about the kitchens, courtesy of the WH Historical Association.
Poking around the WH website, I came across a photo of Barney on the south lawn next to what is described as a “drainage ditch.” I recognized this from the HABS collection as almost certainly the Andrew Jackson “milk trough” and felt superior for a moment before realizing that I have no idea what that is either.
Hmmm. What’s going on at the West Wing? Structural steel beam construction? Is the president adding on a rumpus room?
Added a few old photos that Jim Hood had posted on Facebook WH Fanatics group. Thanks Jim!
Finally got a chance to read thru WH History #17, which explores Jefferson’s White House and includes a few terrific recent photos, which I’ve added. The part on Jefferson is rather thin on details about the house itself and deals more with servants and dining, but it did provide some interesting tidbits that I added to the 1803 first floor plan. I’ve also added a separate page for Jefferson’s enhancements to the house.
UPDATE: New Green Room from Time.
The Green Room has gotten new carpet and some reupholstered chairs, according to the Wa Po.
Added a few Coolidge-era photos from the WH History collection, including state rooms and West Wing.
One thing that struck me about the Lincoln Museum is the library attached to it. One section was a small private collection of books about all the presidents (“Someone wrote a book about Millard Fillmore?” Yep.) It has convinced me that any real White House Museum also needs a research library—broader, but not as deep as any of the existing presidential libraries.
Ooh, I just thought of something. The library could be built as a replica of the Taft-Hoover West Wing, with a replica of the original Oval Office as the centerpiece.
I spent a few hours at the Lincoln Museum today, and the experience was terrific. The exhibits consisted of life-like figures, multimedia displays, and lots of giant documents. There wasn’t a lot in the way of personal memorabilia, tho; I think I could have fit everything they had that Lincoln actually touched in the trunk of my car. It would have been nice to see, you know, Lincoln’s limousine or helicopter or something, like at the Reagan museum. They did have an impressive recreation of his funeral, tho, which is something I guess. You won’t find that at the Clinton museum. Also, by the end of it, I really wanted an interactive experience where you get to spank Tad Lincoln.
Some of the multimedia displays were really, really cool. Projectors threw shadows of rain on the wall or images of naysayers in mid-air. There was a gallery of political cartoons that could have been boring, but they were framed in crooked frames and hung on crooked walls, which created a disorienting effect that would be fun to replicate with my own photos. The whole White House part had a funhouse atmosphere that made me half-expect to see ladies’ dresses flipped up by a blast of air at the end (accompanied by the disembodied laughter of Tad, naturally).
There was a recreation of the Blue Room, guest bedroom (where Willy lay in a fever), and Lincoln’s office, all of which gave me a deeper appreciation of Victorian style.
I would have taken more pictures, but they don’t allow photos in the exhibits, because they don’t want people stealing all their juicy history or possibly learning anything outside the museum. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame was the same way. Hey, if you want to see Roy Orbison’s lousy spelling* or Britney Spear’s denim-and-leather-flames ensemble, you’ll have to go to Cleveland. That kind of knowledge isn’t free.
* To be fair, every example of original song lyrics had lousy spelling, even Robbie Robertson’s.
Finding myself with some time on my hands and access to a fast car and plenty of Mountain Dew, I’ve decided to take a day trip to Springfield, IL tomorrow to see the Lincoln Museum.
Here is a portrait of Lincoln that I colorized a few weeks ago when I was bored.
Added a few artifacts from White House History collection 1, including a recreation of the second floor around 1801 that I based on the 1801 inventory detailed in the Adams article.
UPDATE: Link to the photo Patrick mentioned regarding the remnants of the original and later grand staircases.
Added several images from the Kennedy era showing some of the renovation. Also included the layout of the West Wing at the time.
Any reason the Monroe era sofa in the Blue Room has been replaced by the McKim, Mead, and White sofa? And if so what happened to the earlier sofa?
I don’t know of a reason, so we might put it down to taste. And sometimes furniture is switched so it can be repaired or reupholstered. I don’t think the Monroe sofa would be put anywhere else.
After I mentioned it on the Facebook discussion about WH product wish-lists, I traded a couple of notes with a contact from MouseRug about the possibility of them creating mouse pads of the Oval Office rugs. They’re going to look into it.
I’ve added pics of the Reagan and Bush 2 rugs and improved the Clinton one, but the quality isn’t the best (the Bush rug is really Pete’s repro). I had inquired with the National Archives a year ago about photos of OO rugs and got an ambivalent response, but no follow-up.
I’ve removed the “Board of Directors” list of living presidents from the About page. White House Associate Counsel Kenneth Lee sent a request to remove George W Bush’s name as “honorary member.”
Added more of the 1970s photos and one from 2001. The Carter West Sitting Hall was a real mish-mash of pattern and color. Ugh.
Added several great photos from the Nixon renovation and a few others, sent by Christopher S. Several more coming.
I cleaned up the 1952 and 1962 second floor plans. The 1952 plans came from the Report of the CREM and had every single door numbered and several other extraneous markings. The 1962 plans are a reconstruction based on the 1952 plans. The result is much cleaner and still accurate.
The Library of Congress is pile of cheeky monkeys, teasing us with McKim’s White House drawings but not making them available online. I’m not sure if that link will even work. There’s no proper perma-link listed. If not, I searched for “temporary executive offices”.
UPDATE: Changed the link. Maybe that will work better. You can also go to the search page and search for “temporary executive offices”.