WhiteHouseMuseum shutting down

I am transitioning away from GoDaddy and shutting down old websites. WhiteHouseMuseum was created in html in 2006 and has not aged well. I will keep all the files and may try to recreate the site in the future, but for now I plan to shut it down.

You may contact me at derekzarban@gmail.com.

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.


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!

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.

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!

The White House: An Illustrated Architectural History

patrick's bookPatrick Phillips-Schrock, who has long supported and contributed to this site, has recently had his White House book published, and it’s available now on Amazon and from other fine bookmongers.

From Amazon: “This meticulous history, featuring more than 325 photographs, diagrams and other illustrations, captures each stage of the White House’s architectural and decorative evolution.”

Patrick’s contributions to this site have primarily been with fascinating diagrams that show the details of which parts of the White House were constructed and when and what the rooms must have looked like before the time of photography. They can be found dotting the site, such as here, here, here, and here.

UPDATE: I got mine a few days ago, and it’s just fascinating. Patrick goes into great detail about losing proposals, original designs, failed expansions, and renovations. He has great recreations of the various rooms’ decor from the early days. It’s just incredible. Thank you, Patrick!

New renovations to the West Wing

The Washingtonian and others are reporting that the West Wing will have to be vacated next year so that extensive remodeling can be done. The press area and the Situation Room have been renovated recently, but most of the West Wing hasn’t been updated for decades, so this is no huge surprise, particularly with the conspicuous construction being done on the west side for the past few years.

I’m sure it will be a long time before there is any official announcement and longer still before we see pictures, but hopefully, the end result will be a roomier, more comfortable space, probably involving expansion underground that would perhaps include a tunnel to the EEOB.

An Historic Guide

The White House: An Historic GuideI got an e-mail notice today that the new An Historic Guide is available, so I ordered mine. It’s been available for a little while, but I just got the notice.

I’m looking forward to official pics of the new Press Briefing Room and the walk-thru of the exterior, but I don’t think it will be all that amazing. I do recommend the White House History books tho. They’re wonderful.

New work coming

I’m not dead, just busy with work and devoting all greatly diminished spare time to my other websites. I do have new material I’m intending to post. Over the next couple of weeks, when I’m off for the holidays, I’ll be able to update the site substantially.