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Past Exhibits

2017 Exhibits

Portraits of courage: A Commander in Chief's Tribute to America's Warriors

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Open March 2, - October 17, 2017, Portraits of Courage brought together 66 full-color portraits and a four-panel mural painted by President Bush of members of the United States military who have served our nation with honor since 9/11 — and whom he has come to know personally. Each painting was accompanied by the inspiring story of the veteran depicted, written by the President. Visitors saw the faces of those who answered the nation’s call and learned from their bravery on the battlefield, their journeys to recovery, and the continued leadership and contributions they are making as civilians.

2016 Exhibits

A season of merriment and melody: christmas at the white house 2004

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Open November 17, 2016 - January 8, 2017, A Season of Merriment and Melody, the 2004 White House Christmas theme, combined the magic of the season with heartwarming songs that have brought joy to Americans for generations. In preparation for the 2004 holiday tours, White House residence staff designed and crafted vignettes depicting classic holiday songs, including “Frosty the Snowman,” “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “Jingle Bells.” The vignettes were displayed on mantels and pier tables throughout the White House, alongside more than 41 flocked trees that created a winter wonderland on the State Floor. This year, 12 of these vignettes were displayed in the special museum exhibit, presented in much the same order White House guests would have experienced. The 18-foot recreation of the White House Christmas tree was adorned with more than 350 miniature musical instruments. Members of the Society of Decorative Painters, representing all 50 states, meticulously hand-painted the drums, violins, harps, pianos, mandolins, trumpets, and other tiny musical instrument tree ornaments.

Path to the presidency

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The Path to the Presidency Exhibit, open March 1 - October 9, 2016, encouraged visitors to step into a candidates’ shoes and enjoy a fun, interactive peek into past presidential campaigns, the changing face of the American electorate, and a glimpse at life on the campaign trail. Bringing historic campaigns to life with artifacts, documents, photos, videos, and many other interesting components, the highlights included practicing your candidate handshake on the “Grip-o-Meter,” posing for your own campaign poster, watching iconic campaign TV ads and historic debate moments in the 1960s “living room” theater, and delivering a portion of a historic acceptance speech using a real teleprompter and microphone. Items on display included the letter written by George Washington about why he would not seek a third term, the sunglasses worn by Bill Clinton while playing sax on the Arsenio Hall Show, famous campaign medals and buttons dating back to the 1800s, and many other artifacts that help tell the story of how presidential campaigns have changed the course of our nation.

2015 Exhibits

A season of stories: christmas at the white house 2003

Open November 19, 2015 - January 3, 2016, A Season of Stories, the 2003 White House Christmas theme, combined the wonder of the season with the magic of classic children's stories that have captured America's hearts and minds for generations. Among the exhibit's artifacts were one-of-a-kind decorations depicting replicas of beloved storybook characters designed and handcrafted by White House Residence staff members. Literary figures and scenes on display included Clifford the Big Red Dog, The Cat in the Hat, and Harry Potter. The beautiful 2003 White House Christmas tree, re-created for Museum visitors, showcased beloved literary figures on its ornaments. Like many families who decorate their trees with ornaments passed down from parents and grandparents, the 2003 Fraser fir was decorated with ornaments first used by Barbara Bush in 1989. View the 2003 Holiday Program and the Holiday Photographs found on the archived White House website. From 2002 through 2008, Barney and Miss Beazley hosted a series of holiday videos; 2003 Barney Cam video - "Barney Reloaded." 

Baseball: America’s Presidents, America’s Pastime

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Baseball: America's Presidents, American's Pastime Exhibit, open March 21 - October 4, 2015 explored the close relationship between America’s Presidents and baseball. On a field constructed behind the White House, President Abraham Lincoln threw baseballs with his son. In 1910, President William Howard Taft became the first President to throw out the baseball season’s first pitch. President Herbert Hoover attended the World Series in 1929 and 1931 to calm fears during the Great Depression. Six days after Japan surrendered on September 2, 1945, President Harry S. Truman threw out the ceremonial first pitch at a game. After 9/11, President George W. Bush threw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium at Game Three of the World Series on October 30, 2001. Both Presidents used the sport to help return the Country to a sense of normalcy. Learn how this uniquely American sport has reflected the Nation’s struggles, triumphs, people, and culture. The special exhibit includes baseball-related documents and artifacts from the Library and Museum’s holdings as well as items from other Presidential Libraries, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, and other collections around the country.

2014 Exhibits

All Creatures Great and Small: Christmas at the White House 2002
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Open November 2014 - January 2015, All Creatures Great and Small, the 2002 White House Christmas theme, celebrated the important role animals played in the Executive Mansion. The highlights included indigenous bird ornaments designed by artists from around the country, replicas of First Family pets that were displayed throughout the White House, and the first edition of Barney cam, a much loved tradition during the President and Mrs. Bush’s years in Washington, D.C. For more about Christmas at the White House in 2002, such as traditions, photo essays, and decorations in the state rooms, visit the President George W. Bush archived White House website.

Oscar de la Renta: Five Decades of Style

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Oscar De La Renta: Five Decades of Style Exhibit, open July 19 - October 5, 2014, was a major retrospective of American fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, exploring his significant career from its origins to his most recent, and what would sadly become his last, runway and red-carpet masterpieces.

The Art of Leadership: A President's Personal Diplomacy

The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy Exhibit, open April 5 - June 3, 2014, explored the relationships that President George W. Bush forged with world leaders to shape international policy and advance American interests abroad.  The exhibit featured thirty never-before-exhibited portraits painted by President Bush. Portraits were accompanied by artifacts, photographs, and personal reflections to help illustrate the stories of relationships formed on the world stage.

2013 Exhibits

Home for the Holidays: Christmas at the White House 2001


Open November 25, 2013 - January 5, 2014, Home for the Holidays, the 2002 White House Christmas theme, incorporated original decorations, behind-the-scenes photos and videos, as well as artifacts, documents, and other materials. Because the 2001 holiday season followed a national tragedy, both home and family had a particularly special meaning to all Americans. To keep with the theme, replicas of some of the family homes of the nation's Presidents were designed, built, and decorated by White House staff members. Due to heightened security after 9/11, White House tours were suspended. When the Museum recreated this special exhibit in 2013, it was the public's first chance to directly experience this holiday. For more about Christmas at the White House in 2001, such as traditions, photo essays, and decorations in the state rooms, visit the President George W. Bush archived White House website.

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