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Dr. Amelia Ogunlesi is providing philanthropic leadership to support the White House Historical Association and “The People’s House: A White House Experience,” the new cutting-edge immersive space located one block from the White House and set to open in September 2024. This transformative commitment immediately follows a visionary grant by the Gerard B. Lambert Foundation and a leading investment by Mrs. Desiree Watson.

Dr. Ogunlesi’s gift will fund interactive and educational elements spanning the second floor, which the Association will name in her honor. The People’s House will provide visitors with a behind-the-scenes look at White House life and tell the stories of first families and those who have dedicated their careers to working in the Executive Mansion. The space will feature the work of the White House and the people who make it work. Highlights include a replica of the West Wing cabinet room, a state dinner, unheard stories and voices from White House History, and the largest gallery in the space, which will animate seemingly everyday objects to bring to life stories from history through the lens of the White House.

“This is a once-in-a-generation project. “The People’s House: A White House Experience,” seeks to provide students, educators, and the public with interactive and innovative experiences grounded in White House history. I am proud to support the White House Historical Association and play a role in sharing the history and stories of this great nation that has provided me with so much.” – Ameila Ogunlesi

The Lambert Foundation grant will strengthen the foundation of the Association’s rigorous research and scholarship and create a bridge connecting research to “The People’s House” to benefit millions of visitors. The Lambert Foundation grant creates a new permanently endowed Chair who will lead the Association’s scholarship and education enterprise, an endowed fellowship, endowed funds to support their work, and a leading investment in “The People’s House” to bring their scholarship to the public.

The Lambert Foundation’s relationship with the White House Historical Association extends to our founder, Jacqueline Kennedy, when in 1961 Lambert Foundation founder Rachel “Bunny” Mellon answered the call from President and Mrs. Kennedy. The Nation benefitted from Mrs. Mellon’s service as a citizen volunteer who advised Mrs. Kennedy during the restoration of the White House and the design of the Rose Garden.

“It continues to be an honor and a privilege to partner with the White House Historical Association. Through education and exploration, we can uncover our nation's true history and the diverse experiences of the people who have shaped it." – Thomas Lloyd, President Gerard B. Lambert Foundation

Leading support for “The People’s House” by National Council member Desiree Watson highlights the White House Historical Association’s unique and impactful platform, furthering civics education and strengthening our democracy. Mrs. Watson’s investment in “The People’s House” will showcase the people and stories of White House history with unprecedented depth. Her commitment is a fundamental building block in the $85.5 million campaign to build, launch, and permanently sustain the innovative content and cutting-edge technology of “The People’s House” for all future generations to enjoy.

“Education is vital for the future of children and adults—it drives progress. I am honored to help shape this resource for the next generation. There is only one White House. It is the people’s house and an irreplaceable pathway to understanding history and democracy.” – Desiree Watson

“These donors’ vision and generous contributions will fuel our scholarship and research and grow the enterprise that will permit hundreds of thousands of visitors each year to learn about the rich history of our nation through the lens of the White House,” said Stewart McLaurin, President of the White House Historical Association. “These transformative gifts will accelerate and amplify our ongoing mission to preserve the legacy of the White House and give back to the public through our new educational space.”

The People’s House: A White House Experience will also feature a 1:5 scale interactive White House model, representations of the Rose Garden and West Colonnade; a full-scale replica of the Oval Office; an immersive projection room bringing visitors into the rooms of the State Floor; and interactive object gallery that features interesting stories in White House History. In addition, the space includes designated classrooms for teachers and students to further explore the exhibit’s content and a convening space for educational programming.

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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 nonprofit, nonpartisan 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 $115 million to the White House in fulfillment of its mission.

To learn more about the White House Historical Association, please visit