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Sep 13, 2017 Washington, D.C. —
In his first interview since retiring from a 40-year career in the White House, former Curator William G. Allman shares candid and never-before-told stories and memories of the rich history he witnessed first-hand while serving eight Presidents and their families. Allman became the Curator of the White House in 2002, having served in the office as a Curatorial Assistant and then an Assistant Curator since 1976. The Office of the Curator was first created in 1961, to preserve and protect the objects, art, and furniture that make the White House both a home and a historic museum. Allman takes listeners behind-the-scenes in “The Curator”, the seventh episode released in The 1600 Sessions podcast series by the White House Historical Association.
Allman explains that the role originated with First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, who “saw an opportunity to take a house that was visited and make it a house that was a destination to be visited, with a collection of furnishings and fine arts that would tell a great story about America, and the nation and the people who have occupied the White House.”
Since the White House is a home for the first family, an office for the Executive, and a museum for the American people, the White House curator is the “conscience” that preserves the house.
As Allman explains, “the objects are furniture sat on, carpets are walked on, china is eaten off of, and so damage happens and part of our job is to limit that, to find the best ways to move things, the best ways to use things for regular service…No, you can't put this high voltage light within six inches of the portrait of George Washington!”
This fascinating episode pulls the curtain back on a crucial White House role. From a Steinway piano played by presidents Nixon and Truman to a French clock that still ticks 200 years later, Allman colorfully describes the objects and art that make the White House a living museum of American history.
THE 1600 SESSIONS
In this fascinating podcast series, White House Historical Association President Stewart McLaurin interviews luminaries, historians and eyewitnesses to history about America’s most famous residence and office – the White House. Each episode includes a prominent guest or guests to discuss varying facets of White House history, including insights from former staff and many other topical issues.
The 1600 Sessions is available on iTunes, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, and Stitcher. To hear the full episode, visit [HYPERLINK] and learn more about White House history at WhiteHouseHistory.org.
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About the white house historical association
First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy envisioned a restored White House that conveyed a sense of history through its decorative and fine arts. She sought to inspire Americans, especially children, to explore and engage with American history and its presidents. In 1961, the White House Historical Association was established to support her vision to preserve and share the Executive Mansion’s legacy for generations to come. Supported entirely by private resources, the Association’s mission is to assist in the preservation of the state and public rooms, fund acquisitions for the White House permanent collection, and educate the public on the history of the White House. Since its founding, the Association has given more than $45 million to the White House in fulfillment of its mission.
To learn more about the White House Historical Association, please visit WhiteHouseHistory.org.