- The Washington Times - Friday, November 15, 2002

America threw the West Wing a birthday party this week. To celebrate the centennial of the addition, the White House Historical Association opened an exhibition titled "The West Wing: Workshop of Democracy" at the White House Visitor Center.
The exhibit features 65 images, some classic and some that have not been displayed in more than 60 years. Others are more recent, depicting the Bush White House in the aftermath of September 11.
William Bushong of the White House Historical Association directed the exhibit, which he called a virtual walk through the West Wing.
"You and I have seen many pictures of the White House," he says, "but I doubt you've seen the president's staff at work, not only in this period, but also in the period of 1902."
In 1902, President Roosevelt transformed the home and office of the president into the White House known today.
During the restoration project, he built a "temporary" Executive Office Building, now called the West Wing.
In 1909, the West Wing was doubled in size and included the first presidential Oval Office on the south facade.
Twenty years later, during Herbert Hoover's presidency, a fire gutted the Executive Office Building, requiring another restoration project.
Franklin D. Roosevelt increased the West Wing's office space from 15,000 to 40,000 square feet.
The exhibit's photographs showcase construction, office planning and executive work in the West Wing. It also depicts the West Wing as a place of ceremony, reception and inspiration for popular culture.
A kiosk display runs a collection of 10 newsreels, one of which includes the scene of the 1929 fire.
The exhibition opened on Tuesday at the visitor center, 1100 Ohio Drive SW, and was scheduled to run through the end of March before going on the road to presidential libraries.
The White House Historical Association began the anniversary with a symposium at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in the District early this week.
The guest list of 275 included friends of the White House Historical Association, historians and political scientists.
The symposium featured the film "None But Honest and Wise Men," showing ways the presidency was portrayed in films, newsreels and television dramas.
Speakers recalled how the West Wing functioned in times of crisis and what prompted the construction of the White House press room.
Speakers included Andrew H. Card Jr., chief of staff to President Bush; Letitia Baldrige, chief of staff to first lady Jacqueline Kennedy; William G. Allman, White House curator; Michael McCurry, press secretary to President Clinton; and Brent Scowcroft, national security adviser to President Ford and the elder President Bush.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide