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Designing Camelot: The Kennedy White House Restoration and Its Legacy

Afternoon Lecture/Seminar

Monday, July 26, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1K0120
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On February 23, 1961, Jacqueline Kennedy launched the most historic and celebrated redecoration of the White House in its history. She announced her plan to locate and buy the finest period furniture, with which the historical integrity of the Executive Mansion’s interiors would be restored. Fueled by the intense fascination with the charismatic first family, the project had a profound effect on the popular American imagination and taste in interior furnishings.

James Archer Abbott and Elaine Rice Bachmann—co-authors of a new book that chronicles the undertaking—discuss the 60-year legacy of one of the most influential interior design projects in American history. Drawing on photographs, first-person reflections, personal and public correspondence, and media accounts they present detailed room-by-room analyses of the restoration and share stories about the people involved and insights into the choices made.

Abbott is the executive director of the Lewes Delaware Historical Society and Bachmann is the deputy state archivist at the Maryland State Archives and secretary of the State House Trust.

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This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.