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Apr 09, 1997 Washington, D.C.

Every year more than a million people on visits to the White House, enjoy fleeting glimpses of the lovely surrounding gardens and grounds. Twice a year thousands attend the public garden tours in spring and fall. For the millions more who will never have the opportunity to experience firsthand the tranquility and beauty of the White House grounds, the White House Historical Association has produced UPON THESE GROUNDS: EXPLORING THE WHITE HOUSE GARDEN, a 30-minute video history and tour of this unique American heritage

UPON THESE GROUNDS captures the magic and beauty of 200 years in the life of a life in garden. Just as the White House serves as home, official residence, office, and museum, so too the garden is the scenic of both historical events and informal gatherings. “In the White House garden an artillery battery salutes a head of state one day and children roll Easter eggs the next. The garden is a place where roses are named for Pat Nixon and Nancy Reagan, and a tulip for Hillary Rodham Clinton” wrote Lawrence L. Knutson, Associated Press writer.

Today ancient oaks and elms shade grounds known to George Washington and his 42 successors woo have called it home. Presidents have loved these gardens. Each has played his part, from early-day gardeners like John Quincy Adams, who actually tilled the garden’s soil, and Andrew Jackson whose magnolias are still covered with white blossoms each June to Theodore Roosevelt who reluctantly allowed his architects to demolish his cherished conservatory and John F. Kennedy who made the private Rose Garden near the Oval Office into an outdoor meeting place that accommodates a thousand spectators.

This fascinating video will show you rare footage of first families relaxing in their “backyard.” You travel to private areas never seen by the public and learn how the grounds evolved from their earliest days as a working farm. to a battlefield for the nation’s growing pains, to a public promenade with tropical greenhouses to the symbolic media backdrop of today. You will come away from this video with a new appreciation of this special place where both natural beauty and history await you.

UPON THESE GROUNDS features an original score performed by “The President’s Own” the United States Marine Band.

UPON THESE GROUNDS and the accompanying viewer’s guide were produced for the White House Historical Association by WQED Pittsburgh and underwritten by a grant from General Motors. Additionally, General Motors has funded the cost of 30,000 videos to be distributed to schoolchildren across the country. GM also funded the film WITHIN THESE WALLS: A VISIT TO THE WHITE HOUSE which has been viewed by close to a million people at the White House Visitor Center in Washington, D.C. UPON THESE GROUNDS is currently being shown at the Visitor Center.

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

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