The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden

November 15, 2000 – Permanent
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In 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence on this portable desk of his own design.

National Museum of American History
1300 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC

3rd Floor, Center Corridor, Views into the Collection Gallery

See on Map Floor Plan

This exhibition of more than 900 objects related to the 43 men who have held the nation's highest office explores the public, personal, ceremonial, and executive boundaries of the presidency. Composed of 11 thematic sections, the exhibition addresses such topics as inaugural celebrations, presidential roles, life at the White House, limits of presidential power, assassinations and mourning, the influence of the media, and life after the presidency.

The following highlights are on view:

  • Abraham Lincoln's life mask
  • Lewis and Clark compass
  • the horse-drawn carriage that carried Ulysses S. Grant in his second inaugural parade in 1873
  • a radio microphone used by Franklin D. Roosevelt to give his fireside chats during World War II
  • an early teddy bear (named after Theodore Roosevelt)
  • Bill Clinton's saxophone.

Book: The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden by Lonnie G. Bunch III, Spencer R. Crew, Caroline Newman (Editor), Harry R. Rubenstein, Mark G.Hirsch.

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