First Lady Michelle Obama Announces Opening of Old Family Dining Room on White House Tour

First Lady Michelle Obama has opened the Old Family Dining Room to public tours of the White House © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

First Lady Michelle Obama has opened the Old Family Dining Room to public tours of the White House © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, First Lady Michelle Obama unveiled the Old Family Dining Room for public viewing for the first time in White House history. Through a joint effort by the First Lady and the Committee for the Preservation of the White House, and funded by a special donation from the White House Historical Association, the room has been refurbished and will serve as a showcase of 20th century art and design.  Adjacent to the State Dining Room, the Old Family Dining Room has a rich history that dates back to 1825.  Additional information on the history of the Old Family Dining room can be found HERE.

“It is my pleasure to help pull back the curtain on this special part of the White House,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “Today and moving forward, the Old Family Dining room will reflect the history of our former First Families and represent the legacy and impact of modern American artists.”

As part of the room’s renovation, the several items have been added to the permanent White House collection for display in the Old Family Dining Room:

Resurrection by Alma Thomas (1891-1978), done in 1966. An educator and artist in Washington, D.C. for most of her career, Alma Thomas was one of the renowned members of the Washington Color School. This painting is the first artwork by an African-American woman featured in the White House.

Early Bloomer [Anagram (a Pun)] by Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008), done in 1998, An innovator in many mediums, Rauschenberg received the National Medal of the Arts in 1993.

Study for Homage to the Square: Asking by Josef Albers (1888-1976), done in 1963.

Homage to the Square by Josef Albers (1888-1976), done in 1966. German immigrant artist and color theorist Josef Albers began his “Squares” series in 1950, studying the effects of adjacent colors and the illusions created of squares advancing or receding in space.

Black, White, and Gray by Anni Albers (1899-1994), pictorial weaving adapted as a wool rug done in 1950. A pioneering abstract artist, Anni Albers was best known for her work in textiles.

These were gifts of The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, in honor of Barack and Michelle Obama.

New York World’s Fair Tableware , 1939, ceramic plate, china, and glassware. Silver tea set manufactured by Graff, Washbourne, & Dunn. Received by the White House after the conclusion of the fair in 1940. The coffee and tea pots – spherical with triangular spouts – are suggestive of the Perisphere and Trylon, symbols of the 1939 fair.

White House Tours

Public tour requests must be submitted through one’s Member of Congress.  These self-guided tours are available from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays (excluding federal holidays or unless otherwise noted).  Tour hours will be extended when possible based on the official White House schedule. Tours are scheduled on a first come, first served basis. Requests can be submitted up to six months in advance and no less than 21 days in advance. You are encouraged to submit your request as early as possible as a limited number of spaces are available. All White House tours are free of charge.  (Please note that White House tours may be subject to last minute cancellation.)

If you wish to visit the White House and are a citizen of a foreign country, you need to contact your embassy in Washington, DC for assistance in submitting a tour request.

All guests 18 years of age or older will be required to present a valid, government-issued photo identification. All foreign nationals must present their passport.

Take a Virtual Tour:

As part of President and Mrs. Obama’s commitment to open the White House to as many Americans as possible, the White House has partnered with the Google Art Project and allowed their 360 Street View cameras to capture the rooms that are featured on the public tour. Now anyone, anywhere, can experience the history and art of the White House via their computer. Take the virtual tour.

For additional information about tours of the White House, visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/tours-and-events

For more travel features, visit:

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

www.examiner.com/international-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

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