The First Ladies explores the unofficial but important position of the first lady and the ways that different women have shaped the role to make their own contributions to presidential administrations and the nation. The exhibition, one of the most popular at the Museum of American History, features more than 2 dozen gowns from the Smithsonian’s nearly 100-year old First Ladies Collection, including those worn by Frances Cleveland, Lou Hoover, Jacqueline Kennedy, Laura Bush, and Michelle Obama.
Mark Women’s History Month by joining Lisa Kathleen Graddy, the museum’s deputy chair and curator of the division of political history, as she shares insights into the exhibition. She explores how its original collection of dresses evolved into an exhibit with a broader focus on the contributions of first ladies to the presidency and American society. Michelle Obama’s 2008 inauguration gown will be on special display at the program.
Graddy is the co-author of First Ladies: Political Role and Public Image and the upcoming The Smithsonian First Ladies Collection (Smithsonian Press).