News From Our Blog

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From the Presidential Libraries:

White House Renovation, 1947-1952: The Red Room 

Shortly after moving into the White House, President Harry S. Truman noticed the signs of a building under serious physical stress.  Early in 1948, in response to the President’s concerns, engineering reports confirmed that the White House was in a serious state of disrepair.

Burned to the exterior walls in 1814, further compromised by the successive additions of indoor plumbing, gas lighting, electric wiring, heating ducts, and major modifications in 1902 and 1927, some said the White House was standing only from the force of habit.

The decision was made to move the Trumans across the street into the Blair House for three years while the White House underwent a complete reconstruction within its original exterior walls. 

The Truman Library is documenting the renovation of the White House on HistoryPin.  Take a tour through time with historic photos set against the contemporary setting of the Red Room.  So cool!

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From the White House:

Sharing a moment at the Great Wall.
See more from the First Lady’s trip to China.

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From the White House:

Sharing a moment at the Great Wall.

See more from the First Lady’s trip to China.

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From the White House:

In case you missed it: Chief Official White House Photographer Pete Souza’s been crushing it on Instagram. Follow him @PeteSouza for a look inside State of the Union prep.

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From the National Archives:

Barney, Ready for His Close-Up
From 2002 through 2008, Barney and Miss Beazley (who came to the White House in 2004) hosted a series of holiday videos at the White House recorded by the White House Communications Agency.
The 2002 video being filmed in this photograph can be viewed on the Barney Cams page of the George W. Bush Library website.

Barney Tours the White House for the Barney-Cam Holiday Video, 12/09/2002

RIP Barney (September 30, 2000 - February 2013)

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From the National Archives:

Barney, Ready for His Close-Up

From 2002 through 2008, Barney and Miss Beazley (who came to the White House in 2004) hosted a series of holiday videos at the White House recorded by the White House Communications Agency.

The 2002 video being filmed in this photograph can be viewed on the Barney Cams page of the George W. Bush Library website.

Barney Tours the White House for the Barney-Cam Holiday Video, 12/09/2002

RIP Barney (September 30, 2000 - February 2013)

Why Do Presidents Pardon Turkeys?

Today, President Obama exercises the most robust of presidential powers and officially pardons two lucky turkeys. These gobblers spend the remainder of their days at Morven Park farm in Virginia, rather than as the star of the Obama family’s Thanksgiving feast.

While this Presidential tradition can be traced back to the days of Lincoln, George H.W. Bush made the first official turkey pardon in 1989.

Presidents used to receive turkeys from various groups all across the country, but today, the pardoned turkeys are presented by the National Turkey Federation (NTF).

Two turkeys are chosen and sent to Washington—while only one appears at the ceremony, both receive the pardon. This year’s birds have been chosen from a flock of 80 on a farm in Badger, Minnesota. NTF Chairman, John Burkel selects the turkeys based on their ability to handle all the cameras and excitement of the ceremony.

Following the traditional pardon at the White House, the turkeys spend the holiday season at Mt. Vernon—George Washington’s estate in Alexandria, Virginia, before taking permanent residence at Morven Park.