Franklin D. Roosevelt called the White House a "house owned by all the American people." Its first cornerstone was laid on October 13, 1792. John Adams moved in eight years later, even though it wasn't quite finished. The phrase "White House" is frequently used to refer to the President who lives and works there, and not the building itself. Today's tour includes a look at both the building and the men and women who have served there.
"First day on the job! You got the nomination, you campaigned, you won. Then you took the oath of office, made the first speech of your administration, and danced the night away. But now it's morning in America -- time to face the Oval Office. It's YOUR chance to be President of the United States. Let's see how you do." Other fun clicks include silly things White House children have done (go to Kids) or the clickable map of the White House neighborhood (choose Mapping.) Teachers will like the grade-level classroom activities found under Learn More.
Serving as the home page for the United States president, the White House Web site is a mix of politics and history. Politics is covered with presidential photo montages, an archive of speeches and press briefings, and presidential policy statements on topics such as education and tax reform. History is found in the Blue Room (look for History & Tours.) Here you can join an online tour of the White House; learn about its past residents; and view a small portion of the White House's art collection.
In a tradition started with the Clinton administration, kids are welcomed to the White House by the first pets: Spotty and Barney (the Bush's dogs), India (their cat) and Ofelia (a longhorn cow.) And no, Ofelia does not live in the White House, but rather on President Bush's Texas ranch. Best clicks are Spotty's tour of the White House ( "The White House is larger than any dog house I've ever seen, that's for sure." ) and the biographies of the President, First Lady, Vice-President, and Mrs. Cheney. Which lead one to wonder if Mrs. Bush is the First Lady, why isn't the Vice-President's wife called the Second Lady?
For students of all ages, the White House Historical Society is my pick of the day. Reasons to visit include the fabulous White House tour (requires the Flash plug-in); White House history and time line; Photographer's Gallery; White House statistics and Q&A (look under Did You Know and the Spotlight Questions Archive.) Other don't-miss-them goodies are the selection of printable coloring pages (found under Visiting), desktop wallpaper (look under Association) and the great selection of lesson plans for teachers and homeschoolers (access them in the Learning Center.)
"John and Jan Zweifel and a dedicated corps of family and friends have spent more than 500,000 hours over 38 years building this 50-foot [White House] replica. On a scale of one foot to one inch, every piece of furniture is hand carved, every rug is hand stitched, and every wall is hand painted." Since 1976, an estimated 43 million visitors have seen this miniature, which includes private White House rooms not on the public tour. Each year the Zweifels update the decorative details in their White House miniature to reflect changes made to its life-size twin.