Here are several White House or presidential exhibits that have either just opened or will be coming in the year ahead to various venues in the United States that might be of interest.
The White House Garden: opening New Year's Day at the Casa Romantica Cultural Center in San Clemente, California. The exhibit was organized by the White House Historical Society and traces the development of the White House gardens and grounds . The exhibit will run until the end of February 2012. The Working White House: Two Centures of Traditions and Memories exhibit is at the Museum of History and Art in Ontario California until the end of February 2012. The exhibit is part of the traveling exhibit developed by the Smithsonian and the White House Historical Association and features contemporary images and videos plus oral histories of workers who served various presidents from William Taft to George W. Bush. First Lady Dolley Madison's Life through Fashion: Dressing the Part is at President Madison's home Montpelier in Orange, Virginia. The gowns reflect Dolley Madison's flamboyant style and there is a video showing the creation of the dresses. Discover the Real George Washington: New Views from Mount Vernon opens at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California on February 22, 2012 through May 18, 2012. The exhibit will be traveling throughout 2012 and 2013. Click here for future locations. Jefferson and Slavery at Monticello: Paradox of Liberty will open at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, DC on January 27, 2012. Other ongoing exhibits there include: The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden and The First Ladies.
One area where President Obama and Mrs. Obama can relate to holiday celebrations going back as far as the first presidency is standing in a receiving line for hours. George Washington began the tradition with New Year's Day receptions even before there was a White House, when he and Martha Washington were residing in the capitals in New York and Philadelphia. President John Adams hosted the first White House New Year's Day reception in 1801 but it was President Thomas Jefferson who began the tradition of shaking hands with each visitor. First Lady Michelle Obama said of this year's holiday receptions "we shake almost every hand or take a picture, and we usually do them (the receptions) twice a day." In 1863 Lincoln planned to sign the Emancipation Proclamation but, before doing so, he attended the White House New Year's reception and shook so many hands that by the time he got ready to put his name to the document his right hand was swollen. Lincoln said: The signature looks a little tremulous, as my hand was tired, but my resolution was firm."
Since 1948 the Gallup poll has asked Americans to name the man and woman they admire the most and this year the top spots go to Secretary of State and former First Lady Hillary Clinton as the Most Admired Woman, and President Barack Obama tops the list for the Most Admired Man. President Obama has headed the list for four consecutive years. First Lady Michelle Obama ranked third on the list of the Most Admired Woman right behind Oprah Winfrey.
If you live in or near Boston or plan to visit there on January 23, 2012 it is probably not too early to register for the forum at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library on the Literary Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. A panel of writers of the former First Lady will share memories of working with her during her time as an editor in New York. For more information click here.
President Obama and his family attended church on Christmas Day in Hawaii at a Marine Corps base on the island of Oahu and later in the day returned to the military installation to continue a tradition the President has followed since 2008 of meeting military members and their families. (Photo: GETTY Images)