The New Year has brought new adventures for my family and Adventure & Chill. We started off 2018 with a trip to Washington, D.C. The kids didn’t know, but I had acquired passes to tour the White House. Yes, a White House Tour. All photos are shot with an iPhone X since cameras with detachable lenses are prohibited.
This post is not political but one of education, architecture, history, and travel.
How to tour the White House
During the Clinton Administration, I was able to tour the White House on an eighth-grade D.C. field trip. It was memorable, and I wanted to recreate that for my children. Fast forward to 2018, and I was able to take them inside the WH. Even for Marty, after years of going to D.C., he was able to see the inside too.
To start off the tour, you begin with checkpoints galore. We went through multiple checkpoints to scan you for anything harmful. I’ll leave it at that. Once we were through the checkpoints, we walked into the White House like we were guests. Our tour was self-guided, and we could walk about as we pleased. Any sections that we were not allowed to enter were roped off. The East Room (image above) holds the original painting of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart because Dolley Madison saved it during the fire of 1814. This room has seen many state dinners, receptions, concerts, press conferences, and weddings. Both President Lincoln and President Kennedy laid in state in here after their assassinations.
The kids loved the Blue Room because it was oval and was like the “Oval Office”. We were standing in the Red Room (image below) when Bubba told me to look at the Jefferson Memorial out of the window. When I looked out the window, I saw the Jefferson Memorial and then the Washington Monument.
I also asked about the Andrew Jackson Oak tree that stands in front of the windows of the Red Room. When I first heard about the removal of the tree, I was shocked it has lived as long as it has. Savannah is full of oak trees, and I grew up with two in the front yard next to the porch. When a tree is held up by cables, then it probably needs to go. The root system is shallow compared to most trees, and they will topple over. Learning about the seedlings made me happy and disappointed we never picked any of the seedlings from the oak trees outside my childhood home.
The tour is self-guided, and there is plenty to see. As a Savannah native and member of many historical museums, seeing the WH was like visiting a historic home in Savannah. The furniture and belongings of the White House were not surprising to me in that aspect, but it was surprising to me how freely we were able to walk about and enjoy the WH. I know my kids loved being inside and their love for D.C. will continue to grow.
The White House is both the home of the President of the United States and his family and a museum of American history …
- There are 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, and 6 levels in the Residence. There are also 412 doors, 147 windows, 28 fireplaces, 8 staircases, and 3 elevators.
- The White House kitchen is able to serve dinner to as many as 140 guests and hors-d’oeuvres to more than 1,000.
- The White House requires 570 gallons of paint to cover its outside surface.
- At various times in history, the White House has been known as the “President’s Palace,” the “President’s House,” and the “Executive Mansion.”
- President Theodore Roosevelt officially gave the White House its current name in 1901.
- Our first president, George Washington, selected the site for the White House in 1791. The cornerstone was laid in 1792 and a competition design submitted by Irish-born architect James Hoban was chosen. After eight years of construction, President John Adams and his wife, Abigail, moved into the unfinished house in 1800.
- In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt began a major renovation of the White House, including the relocation of the president’s offices from the Second Floor of the Residence to the newly constructed temporary Executive Office Building (now known as the West Wing).
- Less than fifty years after the Roosevelt renovation, the White House was showing signs of serious structural weakness. President Harry S. Truman began a renovation of the building in which everything but the outer walls was dismantled. The reconstruction was overseen by architect Lorenzo Winslow, and the Truman family moved back into the White House in 1952. –WhiteHouse.gov
- Anyone visiting DC can experience the history and art of the White House in person after submitting a tour request through one’s Member of Congress. –WhiteHouse.gov