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tv   American Artifacts  CSPAN  September 13, 2015 6:00pm-6:26pm EDT

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>> lewin herbert hoover came to the white house as trained geologists, -- just month into rivers term, the financial market crashed. first lady lou hoover used her office to advocate volunteerism and charity. as the great depression deepened, one term ended amidst overwhelming public frustration. lou hoover, tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span's original series, verse ladies -- first ladies, investigating the public and private lives of history's first ladies. p.m. eastern on american history tv on c-span tv -- on c-span3. artifactsek, american takes you to museums and historic places to learn what artifacts reveal about american history.
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just down pennsylvania avenue from the white house is the white house visitor center, which offers a look at how the executive mansion functions both as an office and a home. we too are the center with william allman who shows at the desk franklin roosevelt used when broadcasting his fireside chats. a typewriter used by world war ii -- woodrow wilson and recreational items such as radios and bowling balls. >> my name is john stanwich. i like to welcome you to the white house visitor center which is located just a short walk away from the white house itself. pretty when going on it to her, it will help to understand what they are seeing and bring much more context and meeting to the visit. for those who can't go on a white house to work, this is an experience in his own -- in its own right. you in the white house visitor center which is the medically based -- which is thematically
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based around the white house story. it is obviously home to the first family. is is -- it is an office for the first president and it is a eventshere we celebrate and state arrivals. also part of a national park and we are very proud of the national park service. it is also a museum because the white house collection is inside the white house and that helps to tell the story of the first families connection with the structure and the story of the nation. located directly behind me is a scale model of the white house. it is the center heat -- centerpiece of the visitor center and it is an amazing tool to understand the white house, both from an architectural standpoint because you very rarely understand the whole
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totality of what the white house is. you can see the main part of the you could dous and a 360 degree walk around and see the construction. you can see one of the most important historic objects of the nation. technology,ent of we have touchscreens were you and seeally go rooms them at the object and the men also explore them through the various centuries that the white house has been here. >> hi, i am bill allman, curator of the white house and i am here in the white house visitor center. we'll take a look at some objects from the permanent the newon as part of and improved white house visitor center that opened last fall.
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i'm standing next to a mahogany desk. is itakes it important dates about to the time when the white house opened. the government was still in philadelphia when construction began in 1792 with the goal of moving the federal government to the new capital city and its new quarters. 1800,uction with on until john adams moved to the city as the first president to occupy the new president house. george washington had picked the site and the architect supervised construction. the job that george washington gave in picking the architect, to both designing and building the presidential house went to irish born architect james hogan who he had met in trust in,
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south carolina. he was a practical builder. toward the end of that. , there were some building materials left over. history, to family this small desk, which is not the most elaborately designed piece of furniture that we have in the collection, it was reportedly built by the with mahoganyelf left over from the construction of the floors in windows and and windows and doors. it has not been in the collection but for the last 40 years, it was donated in the 1970's by a member of the family with the history of having been associated with the architect and his completion of the house.
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he was also part of the white house again in 1815, having stated washington. he was given the job of reconstruction during the -- reconstructing the word white house after the war of 1812. he was still in washington in 1823 when he added to the white house and in 1829 when he added the north portico. it was completed in 1830 before he passed away, so he left an enormous architectural footprint. the basic form is late 18th century federal style furniture with simple tapered legs. foldout sliding board and little slides to support it.
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it also has a hidden section behind the topic can be locked. in many cases, a desk would have been a little bit bigger and when it had bookshelves above it but this was a small yet relatively comfortable peace. as a typical, just not just -- just not as financially made. we will leave the desk and take a look at some furniture that dates to a later time in white house history. in this case we are looking at a couple of objects that relate to the president's use of the house as his office. this is a side chair in a gothic style. it was made in 1845 probably.
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it was purchased in that year anyhow. it was not specially made for the white house. purchased on the general market. these black of walnut side chairs that were purchased by the white house for use around the president's office table, the cabinet table on the second floor of the house. there was no west wing until 1902. the president occupied the rooms on the second floor both for his family and offices. -- ithair would have seen would have been occupied by members of james pulled cabinet during the mexican-american war. it would've been used throughout the 1850's and was still in the -- still in use in the 1860's. we have seen in present -- in
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images of president lincoln in his cabinet room, the first reading of the emancipation proclamation took place with him seated in a chair of his own and the cabinet members seated in this type of chair. they stayed in use until 1869 when president grant moved the bedroomrom the lincoln to the adjacent room that is now called the treaty room. bought a whole new a stage with much more elaborate furniture. he also bought an and or miss black marble french maid clock that sat on the mantle. it had not only the clock works but a barometer and calendar. thermometer so he could
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monitor the conditions indoors. it did not have an outdoor gauge. untilat on the mental 1902 and would have been the -- a would have been how the cap kept track of time. one of the things that happened in the 19th century was that the president came into office and had things he did not find stylish, the government actually authorized public sales of white house things. with some of these kinds of things that were the most historic that did not leave, there are only four of the chairs that we have had continuously since the 1840's. 20 of them got away and were used in other parts of the house , as was the clock.
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these are treasures now that have survived those auctions and remained in the white house's possession. they have been used at different times. several of these chairs are currently used in the lincoln bedroom. they came down here because they were not in regular use at the house and they told such interesting stories and went with images that made the story even more powerful by being able to see one of these chairs in position, the clock on the mantle. thought these told the greatest story because they were beautiful and historic and they were backed up by graphics that helped place them in time. above the chair here is a wonderful drawing that was done in 1864 by a local government
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employee who was doing drawings for various publications. he was permitted to go into what was known as the -- which was the cabinet office which is now the lincoln bedroom. you could see a man sitting in the middle of the room with the back of one of these chairs accurately depicted and other chairs around the table. the picture above it shows the other cabinet room, what is now the treaty room with the clock on the mantle behind two members of the president's staff. that is the furniture that dates to the grant administration. next we will look at some objects that date to the early 20th century. you can see a typewriter used by president woodrow wilson. by franklind roosevelt for his fireside chats. one of the object we have on exhibit is a typewriter that
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belonged to president woodrow him whend was used by he was personally drafting the 14 points which was a document at the end of world war i where he was trying to establish principles by which peace should be negotiated so that war would not happen again and that nations would be properly treated. fight not a successful that he tried to lead to get the united states to agree to the league of nations which was the outgrowth of his 14 points. the peace treaty was finally signed after he traveled to paris to help negotiate. this typewriter was simply a tool he used to put together his thoughts. i'm sure the final version was typed by a secretarial person. it is an interesting object to
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represent the technology and residential activity without just being a piece of furniture. setting aside a desk that is very simple, it is government issued. it was just fine for president-roosevelt. when he inherited the economic depression that happened under herbert hoover, he decided he would make speeches the nation explaining the steps the government was going to take to try to relieve the economic angst of people across the country and the community as well. these were radio addresses, there were no video components. this particular one has large holes cut in the top, that is where microphones were mounted to the desk. they microphones were enormous at the time -- the microphones were enormous at the time.
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you can see the photograph behind the desk. these addresses were called the fireside chats. it was often thought that he was by his own fire place -- fireplace. you at yourlikely radio which was usually to the fireplace in your home. there were great remarks about how he was trying to leave the country to economic prosperity. he did this clear and to the 1940's and the days of world war ii. storage andt into it was geared toward radio purposes. by the 1950's, he started having
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television so its use was no longer as attractive. it had holes and patches. on the backside there are some drawers and one section that has no drawers and no covers. it was behind the desk so if someone took -- course inmuch ran its the 1930's and 40's. a great opportunity now to link the desk to actual radio used in the white house and what would've been the kind of radio's people had around the country and what life in the white house was like for his family beyond the formality. we have moved over from the white house as office to the white house as home. it has been that since -- ever since it opened.
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one of its inherent jobs was to provide the president and their family with a place to live what the president is in office. have a radio, a pretty standard 1941 tabletop radio made by the emerson company. it was one of a dozen or so that was purchased for the private quarters of the white house. it was not the first radio to exist in the white house, but it is the earliest want to have survived. -- earliest one to have survived. radios would be replaced and once the ones arrived, the old ones were generally discarded as old. this one shows in a picture, we picked things that had great documentation. there is a photograph of one of the third floor radiant -- third floor bedrooms one of the radios located between two single beds
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are either guest could reach over and turn on the radio in an era but for television -- in an era before television. white house has also had other means of recreation. president coolidge was shown in a photograph as vice president using indian clubs, a form of exercise. these were weighted clubs you would raise and do calisthenics with. this particular picture was not at the white house but was a great picture of one of these in use. we have a pair of these and they were stamped with the word u.s. to represent they were government property. this bowling ball which is marked white house, it would have been used by a woman or child by the size, a little lighter weight than the standard issue.
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in 1947, president harry truman added the first white house bowling alley in the basement of the west wing. it was later moved to these active office building. in 1970, president richard nixon was a big bowler so he wanted a bowling alley as part of the residential complex. a new single lane white house bowling alley was created under the north lawn. when you are standing at pennsylvania avenue and seeing into the white house, there are things located under the north lawn. the children at the white house often found ways for recreation, including gym equipment, swing .ets, pets
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in the late 1960's, before leaving, first lady johnson created what is called the children's garden. it is very close to the white house tennis court. -- they haden rustic furniture made in children's size. it has a fish garden -- a fish pond as well. the main feature was that she had her grandchildren create their handprints and they were cast to look like stone and used as pavers on the ground. the walkway on the grounds has such handprints from the grandchildren of each president. it was -- if it was a grandchild that was born after the
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president's office their hands are not there. the prints are seen here in the white house visitor center, including a hands-on spot for children to place their hands in the prints in a modern creation. probably everybody has heard about the blue room in the white house. traditional colors that have been used for a poultry and carpeting and textiles. it was not always the blue room, though. this chair was acquired by president james monroe in 1817 from paris. it was part of the refurbishing of the white house after the rebuilding of the interior after the fire of 1814 when the british set fire to the building. there were 53 pieces in this gilded suite, very high style.
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congress thought the president ,as being rather wasteful especially buying in france and not in america. he justified that the material was such a quality it would last for 20 years when in fact it lasted until 1860, so they got 43 years of use. then, like many other things, it was sold at auction. this chair was the first one returned to the white house in 1961 by people who live in washington who attended the sales or had ancestors who attended the sales. for chair became the model some reproductions that were placed in the blue room to try to re-create the monroe era. they were upholstered in crimson, that is how the room looked from 1817 to 1837. and things were red,
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buttons 1837, it has been blue and that is why the name is now blue room. a very high style french chair. this had the most original material still part of its gilding and surface features. it has been restored to look like it probably would have looked in the amount -- in the monroe administration. burnished smooth services to simulate metal. the red' bricks were put on to re-create the original appearance. this became the assessment chair -- the pet that the specimen chair. since the arrival of this chair in 1961, the white house house now -- the white house has now -- represents some of the
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grander -- granddaughter -- grander of white house tours to american citizens who came to the white house for political persuasion and activities that would encourage people to support the president's agenda. this was part of that use, for for the, and again, last 53 years, this is going to be the chief that -- i hope everyone will have an opportunity while in the area to come and visit the white house visitor center. clockopen from 7:32 for -- from 7:30 to 4:00. free and people can come and learn and appreciate the white house history. >> you can watch this and other
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american artifacts programs anytime by visiting our website at c-span.org/history. lewin herbert hoover came to the white house as trained geologist and experience world travelers who are sense -- successful in both the private and public sectors. term,onths into hoover's the finance market crashed. lou hoover future office to advocate volunteerism and charity. as depression deepened, their one term ended amidst overwhelming public frustration. lou hoover, on c-span's original series, first ladies, influence and image examining the public and private lives of women who fill the position of first lady and their influence on the presidency, from martha washington to michelle obama. tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span3.

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