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Museum Offers Intimate Look at Workers at the White House

The Museum of the Jimmy Carter Library presents an intimate, behind-the-scenes portrait of "the people's house" in the traveling exhibition, "Workers at the White House," Jan. 30 - March 26, 1995.

Hundreds of people have worked in the White House since the cornerstone was laid in 1792. This exhibition of photographs, text, and a video spans almost a century, from the William Taft presidency to that of Bill Clinton. Personal insights and descriptions from White House workers help visitors experience the pride and pressure felt by hardworking butlers and florists, seamstresses and housekeepers, plumbers and messengers, and many others.

"This is the president's house. You are serving the world, entertaining the world. It's got to be right," said former chief butler and maitre d' Alonzo Fields. Mr. Fields, 94, served at the White House for 21 years, from the Hoover to the Eisenhower administration.

The traditions of the White House are also explored, with many jobs being passed down through families for generations. Lillian Rogers Parks, a former maid and seamstress, started working for President Hoover in 1929 and served through 1960. Her first memory of the White House goes back to 1909, when her mother joined the staff as a maid for President Taft.

Curated by folklorist Marjorie Hunt, "Workers at the White House" was organized by the Smithsonian Institution's Center for Folklife Programs and Cultural Studies in collaboration with the White House Historical Association.

The Museum of The Jimmy Carter Library is open Monday -Saturday, 9:00 a.m.-4:45 p.m., and Sunday, noon-4:45 p.m. Formore information, call (404) 331-3942

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