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tv   The Presidency White House Historical Association 60th Anniversary...  CSPAN  August 29, 2022 11:01am-11:41am EDT

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presidency, highlights the politics, policies, and legacies of u.s. presidents and first ladies. this week, caroline kennedy and first lady jill biden among those remembering the work of jacqueline kennedy in 1961 founding of the white house historical association. the association's president, -- shares highlights from the 60th anniversary is november 2021 gala event held at the metropolitan museum in new york. >> telling the rich stories of white house history has been the mission of the white house historical's association since we were founded in 1961 by first lady jacqueline kennedy. it was her vision that the young age of 31, to create an organization that would provide not taxpayer funding to maintain the museum standard of the house, which had been somewhat neglected leading up to the kennedys. although the association is developed and expanded over the
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past 60 years, the mission established by mrs. kennedy still guides our work and our offerings. earlier this month, the association celebrated our 60th anniversary with a gala at the -- at the metropolitan museum of art in new york. the evening featured powerful and poignant remarks from first lady of the united states dr. jill biden, ambassador caroline kennedy david rubenstein, chairman of -- and john rogers, and -- served as the master of ceremonies for the evening. we had performances from the great, coach john core, metropolitan and soprano, in the nyu sign hurt school, which we have a new partnership with, provided a chamber struck for music throughout the evening, highlighting american songs and traditions. the special episode will provide an inside behind the scenes look of some of the moments from the very special
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evening. in this first clip, we will hear a segment from my remarks that describes the white house connection to the temple of didn't tour and why they decided to host a gala in that historic space. >> i wanted to take a moment and explain where we are in the temple of dendur in the metropolitan wing of art. this is stork place in front of you is here because of a bit of presidential history. i would say everything that we do, believe, touch in the happens of our life has some connectivity to the white house, the people who have lived and worked there, and to white house history itself. in this historical example of egyptian antiquity was brought to the united states as a gift by the people of egypt to be united states of america, it was received by president kennedy in 1963. an appreciation for the united
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states in saving the portion of egypt that was going to be submerged by the construction of the aswan high dam. this and several other items were saved. this could've ended up on the banks of the potomac and washington, and it could've ended up on the banks of the charles and boston as others wanted. but it was president johnson who decided that it would come here to new york and it would be in this historical wing where it would be protected inside from the elements of outside. now it had been outside for quite some time, but president johnson wanted to make sure that it was protected while it was an american hands and this is 2000, 36 years old, and by comparison 60 years is a very small measure of time. we're very grateful to have the 60 years thanks to the generosity of mrs. kennedy and her founding of our organization and to celebrate
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here tonight in the place connected with presidential history. >> it was truly remarkable to enjoy the evening and that retaking space. and makes one realize how many places across the country and around the world have a connection to presidential and white house history even if it's not always -- our record that a terrific job monitoring the program that evening, bringing his signature humor in which every time he stepped on the stage. and this clip, owl first talks about the founding davey association in the way that only our record could, three whether a port. before we focus on the significance of the white house christmas -- >> i want to start with something, i'm kind of used, to a little bit of a weather report. the national airport recorded the temperatures 76.3 degrees fahrenheit with winds out of the southeast at 15 miles per hour at mid date on november 3rd and 1961. because an attorney held a taxi
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from his office to the district of columbia courthouse. he would not need an overcoat, it was overcast, but he went well back to his office before the light showers that were predicted arrived at 8 pm. barely eight months earlier, carson glass had received the most unusual assignment from his boss. washington heavyweight lawyer clark clifford. he had no idea at the time that it would change the trajectory of his own career and actually become a turning point in history of the white house. he had been instructed to figure out how to create an organization that would help the new first lady, jacqueline kennedy, raise funds to restore the state rooms of the white house and also do it quickly. which in washington is no easy feat. to accomplish that goal, he some of the small army of professionals who it's been the next eight months doing the legal and organizational work to create what would become the
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white house historical association. and there is been much of the rest of their careers developing and sustaining it. as we settle into a taxi, and that warm a cloudy november afternoon, class was actually carrying the paperwork they would make incorporation of the white house historical association official and after months of work, the filing process, he recalled it was very simple. after his cab fare he went to the house and paid a filing fee of a whopping sum of four bucks. jacqueline kennedy's dream had come true. the white house historical association was born. like many millions of americans, i was introduced to the white house historical association to its famous christmas program. for many years on the today show, my dear friend and mentor willard scott to great delight in unveiling each new ornament
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on the show, beginning with the first order in 1981. as i understood it, the moment he held up the ornament the phones began to ring and at the association small headquarters for the crowds gathered outside informed along the associations dwarfed step through the lafayette square neighborhood and we will get that later. in those days before e-commerce, determined customers could not be determined by whether, wind, rain, snow, sleet. willard loved christmas, he loved america, america loved him, and he is a genuine enthusiasm was contagious. and maybe in his honor, we should resume this tradition. i would be happy to stand in for my friend and mentor. [applause] >> we look forward to reinstitute-ing the tradition that began with willard scott,
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featuring at the white house christmas ornament on the today show. well as you know, the association has worked closely with 12 presidents and first ladies since we were founded by mrs. kennedy. and it was a very special and fitting to have dr. jill biden attend the kayla, representing those special relationships. listen now to these segments from her powerful remarks about the white house as an international symbol as, a museum, as a home, and also the work of the white house historical association. >> for the last ten months, i've had the honor of partnering with the white house historical association just like the 11 other first ladies before me. and although this pandemic has kept us physically apart, i've already seen the positive effects of this meaningful relationship. stuart, your organization has been invaluable to my team and i'm so excited to see all that we
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are going to do it together. i will never forget the moment i stepped over the threshold of the white house on inauguration day. the mahogany doors closed behind us, and as we turned around, the grandeur of the front hall caught my breath, the crystal chandelier reflecting off the marble floor, the presidential seal above the blue room reminding us of what it all meant, the exhilaration and pride the president and i both felt. the white house has always been more than a symbol, more than an office building or a museum. it's a place that homes with life and changes with the moment. when the capital city was being built,
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george washington decided to hold a national competition to choose a design for the president's house. architects, builders, even though it's sent in designs. they contained towers and turrets, courtly ball rooms with majestic tones. one even housed a thrown. but a designed by james been stood out. not a palace, but a home. exactly what our first president wanted. george washington understood that the heart of this newly-created country, the values that shaped us, and the power that we would harness, came from americas families. we, the people. room by room and marble mantles and timeless portraits. we can trace the steps of the women and men who walked the white house floors. whose decisions
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rippled across the world. and yet in the shadows and slants of light, we can imagine those ultimate intimate moments that affected only those who felt them. the letters written in sitting room corners, the tumbling the first steps of a grandchild, or leisurely games of fetch with dogs on the south lawn. the soft sounds of bedtime stories floating down the hall. first ladies have always shaped the white house. from ladybird johnson's children garden to pat nixon's collection of americana, to the historic restorations and our work of laura bush and michelle
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obama. tonight we celebrate the foundation of this organization. the legacy of jackie kennedy. a first lady who opened the white house to a larger audience than ever before. for 60 years, the white house historical association have helped us understand the rich, beautiful, and complicated history that has brought us here. from native americans who once inhabited the lands of the -- path to enslaved persons who labored to build the white house. to the families who called it home. as a teacher, i have always believed that education is the foundation of our democracy that principle is reflected in the executive mansion and in the tireless work to preserve
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it you the association help us to remember the past. so we can continue to build a nation that lives up to our own timeless ideals. the pursuit of justice, and equality. the honor of service and the strength of our unity. and as we make our way through this pandemic the association has helped our administration continue to connect with the people that we represent. through virtual guides, and an ever growing body of historical scholarship. all of you here tonight are helping to craft the next chapter of this work with your time, your talents, and you treasures. thank you for your
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dedication to education and to honoring our country's history. since most americans can visit the white house because of the pandemic. i tried to bring the white house to them traveling to almost 40 states in less than a year. on every trip in small town coffee shops and stunning museums i am reminded of what makes our country special. how it is elegantly unique and ever changing. there is always a moment, often late at night after a trip back, my head just filled with the stories of the day when we drive up the south portico. the virginia sandstone columns glow in the yellow light. the arched doors open to welcoming the home. i think about all of the women who came before me. all the women, and yes man, who
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will take my place. oh, i got a clap for that one. [laughs] [applause] i think about how we shape this american symbol. this museum, this home. we all right america story with each passing day. the white house historical association keeps our history alive. together we will work to open the doors of the white house, wider and wider. two more fully reflect the distinct beauty of all of our communities. serving as your first lady has been the honor of my life. and i promise that i will give my whole heart and soul to helping our home reflect the true promise and power of we, the people thank you. >> one of the highlights of my
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role was the opportunity to work with presidents and first ladies to tell the rich history of their temporary home at 1600 pennsylvania avenue -- i think power of we, the people thank you. >> one of the highlights of my role was the opportunity to work with presidents and first ladies to tell the rich history of their temporary home at 1600 pennsylvania avenue -- i think president biden perfectly summarized the importance of that relationship. at the galen we announced an academic partnership between the association and the stein hart school at new york university. beginning of january 2022 the
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association would host a fellowship that would support the work of an and why you costume design graduate student, exploring the topic of fashion and white house history. to commemorate this announcement, the nyu chamber orchestra provided music throughout the dinner. enjoy highlights from that very special and moving performance. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ thank you so much,
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ and why you chamber orchestra. enjoy the rest of your evening. thank you. >> it's always a privilege for me to work with young scholars ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ thank you so much, and why you chamber orchestra. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ thank you so much, and why you chamber orchestra. enjoy the rest of your evening. thank you. >> it's always a privilege for me to work with young scholars who are passionate about white house history. i look forward to the excellent work and research that will be accomplished through our partnership with the stained heart school. a few months before the gala we began working with renowned filmmaker donna lawrence and her team to produce a film that featured the legacy of the association and i look forward into the future we debuted this film on the walls of the temple of dendur at the gala. it began
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with a vision and a vow surveying the drab state of the white house environment, jacqueline kennedy set to work and pointed the way it would be a sacrilege, she said, merely to redecorate it. it must be restored that is a question of scholarship. her effort spurred the creation of the white house historical association, organized to gather, preserve, and share the essence of this remarkable symbol of our democracy. an effort sustained during every presidency since. and propelled by the creation of the david m. rubenstein national center for white house history. fostering teaching, research, and public
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programming about our beloved national homestead. from the start, the mandate for the historical association was to be a private, nonpartisan partnership funded not by taxpayers but historically inspired offerings and donors. donors committed to preserving the nation's hard earned heritage for future generations through the discovery in acquisition of vital objects, materials, and placing them into a historical context. bringing to life the greatest treasures of all, stories of
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those who shaped and witnessed america's history, from within the peoples house. the first step was a badly needed guidebook enabling visitors to no plunge into the story that began with a lay in the white house cornerstone in 1792. surviving of the war of 1812, and countless other pivotal moments in the life of the white house and of the nation. over time, supportive gifts have made it possible to weave a tapestry of the american story to the present day. the stories discovered, shared and taught through an extensive range of educational programs, publications, social media, and teacher's institutes. ♪ ♪ ♪ the
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white house historical association and the rubenstein center for white house history continue mrs. kennedy's living legacy with white house historic preservation, acquisitions and education. it began with a vision and a vow that continues to sustain us as a nation. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> you know although i have seen that footage many times there's still moments that give me chills as i reflect on the work of the association over the past 60 years, and the incredible opportunities we would have working with future presidents and first ladies. it was really a special honor to
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have the daughter of president and mrs. kennedy at the kayla. ambassador caroline kennedy has been a wonderful friend and supporter of the association, and she shared inspirational remarks on the founding and early work of the association. >> it's hard to believe that my mother was only 31 with a three year old, in newborn baby, and a very busy husband, when she became first lady. and it's hard to believe too how much she treated moving into the white house. the most terrible thing has happened, she wrote to her friend, bunny melon, the day after the election, jack has won. [laughter] we have to move into the white house. so dreary with all those curtains. [laughter] she was displayed that there was no way that visitors or visiting heads of state could learn about american history and thought the public rooms looked like a department store. bunny melon, who eventually redesigned the rose garden, along with jim
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right summon, douglas dylan, and jim angle heart, all important benefactor's of this museum, would be among her greatest helpers and most generous donors to the white house restoration. she said about making a but making a home for a husband and family and for the american people. she wanted the white house to reflect america's history and art and be a place where families could learn about our country and its leaders. she shared my thought fathers believe that american civilization had come of age. and wanted the white house to be a stage where america and the world could see the very best of american arts and culture. both my parents believed that living in the white house was the greatest privilege of their lives, and worked hard to be worthy of the honor. my mother established the white house library and white house's story coal association, installed a curator, and transformed it into one of the great collections of american
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decorative arts and painting. and when she was satisfied with the results, she welcomed the public on a guided tour, for which she received an emmy. but the guidebook was her biggest challenge. it's hard to believe there was nothing for families to take home as a souvenir of their visit. she wanted something educational and dignified, whose proceeds could fund future acquisitions and restoration projects. ahead of her time, she felt the white house should be beyond politics, and should not be paid for with public money or become part of a political tug of war between congress and the president. [applause] the guidebook doesn't sound controversial today but the irish mafia that surrounded my farther were deeply suspicious of her plans. [laughter] they thought she was elitist and even worse, french. [laughter] and that her projects would cost my father
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political support. they wrote memos comparing the white house to the vatican and selling a guidebook to the money lenders in the temple. we all know who won. and overtime they realized that she had become an enormous political aspect as as it. most importantly to her, my father was immensely proud of her accomplishments and their time in the white house was the happiest of their lives. i remember my mother often saying that she found french history more interesting than american history, because american history had no women in it. she would be happy to know that that has changed, and that she is one of the people who helped to change it. she would -- [applause] -- she would be so proud of all that her successors had accomplished, and the media ways that the white house historical association is reaching americans with a more inclusive and accurate historical narrative that includes native
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americans, women, enslaved people, and all those who have crossed through the white house doors. i look forward to the next 60 years in in the life of the white house and of america, and all of the lessons we will learn about ourselves. thank you so much for having me and, the best of luck with your work. [applause] >> we often talk about mrs. kennedy's influence on the white house and her role establishing the white house historical association. but rarely do we get to hear that history from a first person perspective like we did from ambassador kennedy. many of our 1600 session followers know that the educational mission of the association is housed in the david m. rubenstein national center for white house history. so it is no surprise that our wonderful friend, david rubenstein, was a featured part of the gala's program. everybody in the room
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was moved by mr. reuben stone's powerful and poignant remarks as he spoke passionately about why the mission and work of the white house historical association is important to support. >> the white house that we know is much different than that one that was originally designed. that the one that was originally designed was much smaller in many ways, as many of you may know, it's changed over the years and in fact, at one point it was so dilapidated and falling apart that it was completely gutted, completely gutted, when harry treatment was president, and they started all over again keeping the outside. but the inside of the white house really needed a lot of work, and jacqueline kennedy really made that possible by the extraordinary effort she made to involve citizens in restoring the white house. now, why should we help restore and preserve the white house? well, the theory of restoration and preservation is that by restoring and preserving the past, we can make certain that we don't make mistakes that were made in the past, and we can learn and be better
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citizens for the future. that's the whole theory of history, when you study history. it's to learn from the past, to make certain we don't make the same mistakes, and do better going forward. but the human brain has not yet evolved such that when you see a picture of the white house or a picture of any historic building, it's the same as actually visiting it. you can look at the picture of the white house and get some sense of what it's all about. if not the same as a visiting it. and therefore, if you preserve it, more people want to visit it. well, people want to see what this white house is about and therefore our citizens flock to see it all the time, and they showed. and it is possible to make this white house better because we can provide the resources through the white house historical association to make the white house are better. now, we have a budget in the united states of roughly, every year, six and a half trillion dollars. and many of you may wonder why we spend money on certain things, and i often wonder that myself. but in that six and a half trillion dollars, there's no money for the white
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house preservation. that has to come from private citizens for lots of reasons. but that's good. it's a good thing. because it gives an opportunity for all of us had to give back to our country. all of us are very fortunate to live in a country where we have the right to do what we want, to vote, to exercise our freedoms, and one of the things we can do is give back to the country that made it possible for us deliver the way we don't. and so, in my own case, i've tried to do that, but i'm really just trying to do it with a lot of other people, kind of, going along with me. and so, i ask all of you to think about what more you might be able to do to help us preserve history, to help us make certain that people in the future generations can see the wonderful white house that this country has come to know, and also, think about how you can give back to your country. now, i've used the phrase patriotic in philanthropy. but the truth is, many people can get back to the country, being patriotic philanthropists. and i got everybody here as a patriotic philanthropist because he's
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contributed to the preservation of the white house and i want to thank you on behalf of all citizens for doing that. i want to let you know, as well, that president kennedy would say, no doubt, ask not what the white house historical association could do for you [inaudible] but what you could do for the white house historical association [laughter]. no doubt. [applause] you can do more. now, there is a special place in heaven, i've learned, for people who give to the white house historical association. [laughter] now, people laugh, but why do you want to take a chance that i'm wrong? [laughter] so think about this. [applause] what more can you do to give back to your country? president kennedy ended his inaugural address by saying, with good conscience, are only short award, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking his blessing and his help, but knowing that here on earth,
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gods work must truly be our own. in my view, god's work on earth includes helping the white house historical association. [applause] so, if you want to follow president kennedy's admonition, if you want to get to a special place in heaven, think more of what you can do for the white house historical association. and i want to thank stewart mclauren for really helping revitalize what fred ryan and john rogers to help the white house historical association. it was started by jacqueline kennedy but for a number of years didn't have quite a spark and enthusiasm and the energy and the drive that it now has. so all of us should be proud to be involved with an organization that is really making a difference in our country and making it possible for when our citizens go visit the white house, they are proud of it. and one of the most important reasons we want to have a white house that people are proud of, we want to show people from around the world, when they visit the united states, they're going to see our home, the president's home. the home that is a symbol and the most famous home in the world, and
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they are going to see a home that we are all of us are proud of because it has history being preserved, it has great our to factor our country's history. and everybody here should be proud, and when anybody would take to see the white house, they are going to see an extraordinary, extraordinary home, the symbol of our country, and really i want to thank caroline and her parents for helping to make this possible. because without jacqueline kennedy's official, i don't think we would be where we are today. so thank you all for coming, thank you for supporting, and remember to help the white house historical association. thank you. [applause] >> we really can't thank david rubenstein enough for his support of the white house historical association. personally, i'm very grateful for our friendship and his mentorship of me since i began in this role in 2014. we also recognize outgoing chair of our board of directors, fred ryan. mr. ryan delivered wonderful reflections on his years as chairman. he concluded his remarks by emphasizing the
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vital mission of the white house historical association. >> and john [applause] since you mentioned my book, i would, with a slight twist, share some words of wisdom from pope john the 23rd. associations are like wine. some turn to vinegar, but the best improve with age. and this is certainly true of the white house historical association, as we've heard this evening when mrs. kennedy established this organization in 1961, she had great ambitions. but i think even she would be amazed by everything the association has accomplished in the past six decades, and how vital our mission remains today. because of my day job, i happen to read a lot of news headlines with some frequency. and anyone who follows the news today knows, america's democratic ideals cannot be taken for granted. throughout the history of the world, there has never been a
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system of government that has provided the freedom, prosperity and boundless opportunity that ours has. this is no accident or coincidence. it's a direct result of the generations of men and women who've sacrificed to preserve our nation and everything that it stands for. across our country and around the world, there is no symbol that represents america's values and ideals more than the white house. it's a very nature expresses what is so unique about our country. it is not the palace of a king or the fortress of a dictator, it is the people's house. our president and their families have called it home, but always with the understanding they are merely temporary stewards, because the only enduring claim to our nation's seat of power belongs to the american people. [applause] in this way, in this way the white house stands as a reminder that the work of protecting our democracy rests with all of us, every citizen, and that requires a knowledge
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of and deep appreciation for the history of the democracy we are seeking to to sustain. and that is why the work of the white house historical association is essential. the only organization fully devoted to preserving the rich history of the white house and carrying the legacy forward for future generations. everyone here this evening is an important part of that mission. we thank you for your support, and we are deeply grateful for your partnership as we look forward with excitement to the next 60 years of the white house historical association and the continued success of its vital mission. thank you [applause]
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>> up next on american history tv,, the white house historical association hosted a symposium on the presidency and historic preservation. focusing on the evolution of the white house's interior design under a succession of presidents. >> i'm happy to now introduce our final panel today which brings together a highly impressive group of scholars and practitioners dedicated to the preservation of the white house. something that's very near and dear to us here at the white house historical


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