Saturday, October 24, 2015

Jackie Kennedy Created the Historic White House

Most people think of the White House as synonymous with American History. A place teaming with Presidential artifacts. What most people don't realize is that is was First Lady Jackie Kennedy, wife of President John F. Kennedy, who made it this way. 

When Jackie was young she went on a tour of the White House and was disappointed with how disorganized it was. This is because no one had ever taken the time to put care into the White House as a National Monument. Each First Lady knew this would only be a temporary home, so they would re-decorate to their taste. Then, when the next First Lady moved in, the previous First Lady's decorations would be put into storage so she could decorate to her own tastes. This created a very disheveled effect.

As just 31 years old Jackie Kennedy moved into the White House and set forth to change all of this. She founded the Fine Arts Committee of the White House, and  took action to bring Presidential History to the American Capitol. From around the nation the team she created collected artifacts that belonged to previous Presidents: furniture, candlesticks, portraits, paintings, etc. Rooms were restored and designed after previous Presidents, such as the Abraham Lincoln bedroom. She even modeled how she would host dinners after Thomas Jefferson; many small round tables to create intimacy among dinner guests in place of one large table. On Valentines Day 1962 Jackie Kennedy hosted a nationally televised tour of the White House, and won an Emmy for the production. In this tour she showed how the first White House Tour Guide had been created, so visitors to the White House could learn about and appreciate what they would see.

Not only did Jackie bring historic greatness by immortalizing past Presidents, she transformed the role of the White House. She invited musicians, artists, and writers to perform at the White House. Jackie Kennedy even managed to have the famous French Icon, The Mona Lisa, displayed in the White House. She created a new environment which combined arts and diplomacy in a way that had never previously been done. 

Since Jackie it has become a tradition for the First Lady to take up a cause of her own. It has also become standard to have arts and culture in the White House. At such a young age, and only a short time in the White House, Jackie left more of a mark on this Nation than the majority of First Ladies before and after her. 


Below is Jackie's Emmy winning White House Tour

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