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The White House Visitor Center is located in the Great Hall of the Herbert C. Hoover Federal Building. Originally the Patent Search Room, the Great Hall subsequently served as the Washington Tourist Information Center and temporary office space. In 1993, restoration of the ornate plaster ceiling and Indiana marble walls began. Today the space contains interactive exhibits, visitor information, and the White House Historical Association shop.


The President of the United States lives in a National Park


Every president except George Washington has called the White House and its surrounding grounds his place of work, rest, and solitude. Recognizable around the world, the White House stands as a symbol of democracy. The White House and its park grounds serve not only as the seat of the executive branch of government of the United States of America, but also as an iconic place for civil discourse.


(202) 208-1631

Phone number for the White House Visitor Center and President's Park offices.

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President Obama Announces Members of the Committee for the Preservation of the White House

Committee to advise on the preservation of objects in the White House’s public spaces

WASHINGTON – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to the Committee for the Preservation of the White House. Committee members will advise on the preservation and interpretation of the museum character of the public rooms on the Ground Floor and State Floor of the White House and on additions to the permanent White House collection of fine art and decorative arts objects.

The Committee, created in 1964 by Executive Order, is tasked with advising the President, the First Lady, and the Director of the National Park Service on preserving the museum quality of the public spaces of the White House. It works closely with the Executive Residence staff, especially the White House curator, and with the White House Historical Association, a supporting non-profit organization, that administers the White House Endowment Trust and the White House Acquisition Trust used to support the refurbishing projects and finance acquisitions.

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Page 8


The following purpose statements are reprinted from the Comprehensive Design Plan for
the White House and President’s Park


· Provide a residence that offers privacy, protection, and recreational opportunities for the first family.


· Provide a suitable location for the official functions and activities of the presidency.


· Provide office facilities for the president and immediate staff.


· Preserve and interpret the museum character of the White House; provide public access to the principal corridor on the ground floor and to the state rooms on the first floor.


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The White House is the oldest public building in the District of Columbia and has been the home and office of every president of the United States except for George Washington. The White House, including its wings, serves as the residence of the first family, offices for the president and staff, and an evolving museum. A number of state rooms are used for a variety of functions from presidential staff meetings to formal dinners honoring visiting dignitaries. While the White House itself has expanded since its original construction, it remains relatively unaltered and its design and architecture continue to serve as a symbol of a stable nation.


Page 13


Visitor Experience and Access for the Public. A distinctive feature of the White House that sets it apart from the official residences of other heads of state is that members of the public are provided opportunities to access the building. The White House Grounds serves as the setting for special events such as the White House Garden Tours and the White House Easter Egg Roll. President’s Park also provides the public with important recreational opportunities as well as special events such as the National Christmas Tree Lighting. The National Park Service plays a key role in providing access, interpretation, education, and other visitor experiences for the public.


Page 14


Museum Collections. The museum collections and archives for the White House and President’s Park provide a tangible connection to the legacy of the presidency and the history of the White House. The National Park Service assists the White House Office of the Curator with the management and stewardship responsibilities for an extensive collection of artifacts and objects associated with presidents and their residency at the White House. The museum collection includes historic American and European furnishings and fine art and archives that continue to grow with each administration. Through exhibits and displays at the White House Visitor Center, pieces from the museum collections are made accessible to the public and provide unique interpretive opportunities to connect visitors to the presidency.


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Within the White House complex many different government agencies and public institutions must co-exist to serve the president and the public, while preserving the integrity of the White House. Most visible among these is the role played by the news organizations in keeping the connections open between the public and the president.

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