The President’s House was a major feature of Pierre Charles L'Enfant's 1791 plan for the city of Washington. He envisioned a vast palace for the nation’s leader, a building five times the size of the residence that would eventually be planned and constructed under the watchful eye of President George Washington. Since then, the White House has been burned, reconstructed, renovated, designed, and redesigned, and it remains the home of the presidents of the United States.
In this series, four noted specialists explore aspects of every corner of the famous building at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, where every decision, no matter how seemingly insignificant, has political ramifications. Participants at each program receive a copy of the speaker’s corresponding large-format, illustrated book published by the White House Historical Association.
Situated between the first family’s home and the iron fence that protects it, the White House grounds encompass a carefully maintained 18-acre landscaped garden for the enjoyment of both the president and public. Jonathan Pliska, author of A Garden for the President: A History of the White House Grounds, analyzes the relationship between the White House and its landscape. He discusses topics including how the evolution of its landscaping conveys changing times, and the historical significance (or reasoning) behind cultivating the lavish and native horticultural specimens on the grounds.
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S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)