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First Ladies Hall exhibition models and renderings, 1955

This is the display made by museum exhibits specialist Benjamin W. Lawless to show the existing condition of the First Ladies costume exhibit, and ideas for its modernization at the Arts & Industries building. Miniature models of the stylized White House period rooms that would be used to showcase the gowns are shown along the top shelf. Below, architectural renderings of the new exhibit hall suggest the scope of the project.


The new First Ladies Hall was a series of popular period rooms, modeled after rooms in the White House, that placed the gowns against appropriate historical backdrops. Architectural elements salvaged from President Harry Truman’s recent renovation of the White House were used in the rooms to heighten the feeling of authenticity.


Learn more about the "First Ladies at the Smithsonian" by visiting the exhibition online or in person.


Division of Political History collection

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Uploaded on March 17, 2010