Adding to the nearly century-old exhibit, the “First Ladies at the Smithsonian,” Michelle Obama’s inaugural gown is now on display at the National Museum of American History. The stunning white chiffon gown, which was donated at the start of Women’s History Month, is amongst dresses donned by Grace Coolidge, Laura Bush, Mamie Eisenhower, Jackie Kennedy, Eleanor Roosevelt and Helen Taft. In addition, the exhibit includes other items from the White House like portraits, fine china and the women’s personal possessions.
I actually went to visit the First Ladies at the Smithsonian exhibit when I traveled to Washington, D.C., last October. What I was amazed by was the intricacy of some of the first ladies’ gowns. In particular, I can still picture Helen Taft’s inaugural gown with its sparkling rhinestones and floral embroidery. I also enjoyed seeing how varied the dresses were depending on the time period they came from. From Martha Washington’s salmon pink dress with a large petticoat, to Grace Coolidge’s flapper-inspired dress, to Laura Bush’s silk and satin red dress, each gown is complete with its own style.
Photo Credit: Richard Strauss, Smithsonian Institution