Public tours of the White House are set to resume Friday: NPR

Tours of the White House are open to the public again, offering people a peek into the east wing of the first family’s temporary home, including the Blue Room, Red Room, and Green Room; the state dining room; the China room; and views of the White House Rose Garden.

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Tours of the White House are open to the public again, offering people a peek into the east wing of the first family’s temporary home, including the Blue Room, Red Room, and Green Room; the state dining room; the China room; and views of the White House Rose Garden.

Ron Edmonds/AP

There’s great news for curious lookie-loos: public tours of the White House will resume as early as Friday.

Officials announced the free tours will initially be available on Fridays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., excluding federal holidays. The rules for visiting the President’s work and private home remain unchanged. According to the White House:

Requests for public tours are scheduled on a first come, first served basis and must be submitted through a member of Congress and their Congress Tour Coordinator. Voters can contact their congressman and congressional travel coordinator through the US House of Representatives switchboard at 202-225-3121, the US Senate switchboard at 202-224-3121, or online at www.congress.gov/members.

Would-be visitors also need to get the timing right. Applications must be submitted 21 days to three months prior to the desired visit.

The Volkshaus has been regularly closed to the public during part of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, those lucky enough to book a seat can get an IRL peek at several rooms in the East Wing at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Preserved NW, including the Blue Room, Red Room, and Green Room; the state dining room; the China room; and views of the White House Rose Garden.

Even the Secret Service can be part of the experience. In addition to monitoring the valuables, it is available for questions about the history and architecture of the individual rooms.

Here’s a small portion of what visitors can expect:

blue room

President Barack Obama looks at a portrait of President John Adams while he waits in the Blue Room of the White House before a news conference in the East Room February 9, 2009.

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President Barack Obama looks at a portrait of President John Adams while he waits in the Blue Room of the White House before a news conference in the East Room February 9, 2009.

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The Blue Room did not exist until 1837, when President Martin Van Buren – the eighth President of the United States – introduced the color blue into the decorative scheme.

Previously, there had been some disagreement over how to decorate the large oval room that later became the inspiration for the design of the Oval Office.

Apparently President James Monroe wanted to furnish the room in the French Empire style and, according to White House records, ordered a set of French mahogany furniture through the American firm Russell and La Farge with offices in Le Havre, France.

“However, the company instead shipped gilded furniture, claiming that ‘mahogany is not generally approved for salon furniture, even in private mansions.’ “

red room

Refreshed wall fabric brightens up the Red Room in September 2019.

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Refreshed wall fabric brightens up the Red Room in September 2019.

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The Red Room was mostly yellow until 1845, when President James K. Polk and First Lady Sarah Polk added red- and green-upholstered rocking chairs, ottomans, armchairs, and lounges. It was then that the Washington Parlor became the Red Room.

In March 1877, it became the site of the historic swearing-in ceremony for President-elect Rutherford B. Hayes, which coincided somewhat with the January 6, 2021 Electoral College ballot count.

The White House Historical Association states on its website:

“Political tensions were high following his hotly contested election of Samuel J. Tilden, so Hayes secretly took the oath of office at the White House. The inauguration day fell on a Sunday this year, and this swearing-in avoided a 24-hour delay in the transfer of power and any perceived threat of a coup.”

Green Room

Paintings of past presidents adorn the walls, while a crystal chandelier hangs from the Green Room’s ceiling on January 21, 1963.

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Paintings of past presidents adorn the walls, while a crystal chandelier hangs from the Green Room’s ceiling on January 21, 1963.

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John Quincy Adams, the sixth President of the United States, came up with the idea of ​​naming this room the Green Drawing Room, according to the White House between 1825 and 1829.

“The inspiration for the name may have come from Thomas Jefferson’s use of the space as a dining room, when he covered the floor with a green canvas for protection.”

During the recent renovation, then-First Lady Melania Trump added a portrait of former First Lady Edith Roosevelt, wife of President Theodore Roosevelt.

State Dining Hall

President Biden addresses the January job reports during an event in the State Dining Room on February 4.

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President Biden addresses the January job reports during an event in the State Dining Room on February 4.

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The State Dining Room has undergone some wild transformations, growing from an intimate space to a cavernous room that can seat up to 140 guests.

While today’s version, most recently redecorated by then-First Lady Michelle Obama, is soothing and elegant, with ivory walls and a muted blue carpet, earlier versions included intricate murals and walls in “many shades and textures of yellow and highlighted in silver.” ,” according to the White House Historical Association.

President Theodore Roosevelt expanded the dining room and added some personal touches that were very hallmark of the nature lover: He hung “a large elk’s head over the fireplace and placed other game trophies on the natural oak panels,” according to the association’s website.

China room

The Truman china set is displayed on a table in the China Room of the White House. Selected by First Lady Bess Truman in 1951, this set is the first government porcelain service to display the President’s Coat of Arms as redesigned by President Harry Truman in 1945.

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The Truman china set is displayed on a table in the China Room of the White House. Selected by First Lady Bess Truman in 1951, this set is the first government porcelain service to display the President’s Coat of Arms as redesigned by President Harry Truman in 1945.

Susan Walsh/AP

This room is dedicated solely to the storage and display of china used by dozens of US Presidents. It was originally called the Presidential Collection Room, but in 1917 Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, the second wife of President Woodrow Wilson, decided to display the White House’s growing china collection throughout the room.

The Associated Press reported that First Lady Mamie Eisenhower “assisted in locating the personal china of Presidents Johnson, Taft, Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover to complete the collection.”

White House Rose Garden

Tulips add an annual pop of color to the White House Rose Garden in spring.

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Tulips add an annual pop of color to the White House Rose Garden in spring.

J.Scott Applewhite/Associated Press

Yes, it’s called the Rose Garden, but depending on the season there are countless other flowers to be found.

While the garden was laid out in 1913, it was President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy who decided to breathe new life into the space in 1961.

The White House Historical Association explains that the couple were inspired after a state visit to France, England and Austria: “The President had determined that the White House had no garden equal in quality and attractiveness to the gardens he had seen and he was in had been maintained in Europe. There he had recognized the importance of gardens around an official residence and their appeal to the sensibilities of all people.”

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