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Since late 2016, the White House Historical Association has been working with Amazon Web Services to leverage the newest cloud computing tools available to enhance our outreach efforts and engage audiences not just around the United States but all over the globe.

The new WHExperience mobile application uses Amazon Rekognition technology, a leading object-recognition software, to power our Presidential Look-alike feature. Users can snap a selfie and then learn which president or first lady they most resemble, thanks to Rekognition comparing the picture with our custom database of portraits. This is only a first step in using AWS technology to make the WHExperience app interactive and engaging for all audiences.

The WHHA History Chatbot is a first-of-its-kind tool that teaches visitors about the roles of the president and how they intersect with different rooms within the White House. Built on the Amazon QnABot open-source technology, the History Chatbot also uses Amazon Lex, the speech-recognition and natural language technology that underlies the Alexa personal assistant. A branded WHHA Alexa skill is slated to launch later in 2018 and the History Chatbot will continue to expand with additional content over time.

With assistance from Amazon Web Services and Digital Divide Data, an AWS partner company, the Association has been able to digitize nearly 20,000 35mm film slides covering the White House from 1962 through the mid-1980s. Most of these images have never been published anywhere, and their addition to the Digital Library is rapidly expanding the collection and the historical record of life in the White House during those decades. 

Many more projects are in the works as the relationship between WHHA and AWS continues to evolve over the next several years. 

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