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The White House in Miniature

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The White House in Miniature

Truman Presidential Museum & Library

October 15, 2005-July 9, 2006


The White House in Miniature is 50 feet long, 15 feet wide and weighs 10 tons. 

 

THE WHITE HOUSE IN MINIATURE
October 15, 2005—July 9, 2006

Truman Presidential Museum & Library

John Zweifel has been building models since he was a child. His first model was a 14,000-piece replica of the 1913 Ringling Brothers Circus, and his models have become more elaborate ever since. While touring the White House in 1956, John realized the general public had very little access to a building that was supposed to belong to them. His dream was to create a miniature model of the White House and bring it to the American people and the world. Zweifel's dream became a reality in 1976 when he unveiled his creation in honor of the nation's bicentennial. Not only did Zweifel face the challenge of making a 1/12th scale model of an ever-changing location, but he also had to gain access to the White House to make the model as accurate as possible. Although the Kennedy Administration granted

...the general public had very little access to a building that was supposed to belong to them.

Everything in the White House in Miniature is 1 inch to 1 foot in scale. 

permission to build the model, Zweifel was not given access to the inside of the White House until the Ford Administration. More than 40 years, hundreds of drawings, thousands of pictures and 43 million visitors later, the White House in Miniature appears in its present form. Few people outside of the first family are able to get such a candid glimpse of the White House. Perhaps someday you will be invited to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue where you will be able to see these rooms with your own eyes. Until then, use your imagination and let this model be your guide. What you are about to witness is truly a spectacle.

Selected Highlights of the White House in Miniature

The Treaty Room

Not only has the Treaty Room been the location of numerous monumental agreements, but it also has served as a study for the president. Woodrow Wilson wrote the Fourteen Points in this room, and in 1990 it became the office in residence for the president. The chandelier in this miniature room is an exact replica of the original. It took more than 250 hours to hand-blow the glass beads, assemble the pieces and wire this working chandelier.

The State Dining Room

When the president hosts more than 30 formal dinners each year, he needs a very special place to serve his guests. The State Dining Room can accommodate up to 140 guests at a time, and each guest uses a place setting that contains up to 27 pieces. Each of the 140 chairs created for the replica weighs 3 ounces, and the chandelier in this room is made up of 60 arms.

The Lincoln Bedroom

Overnight guests at the White House are often housed in the Lincoln Bedroom. The room served as Lincolns office during his presidency and currently holds many of Lincoln's furnishings, including the famous bed that in reality is over 7 feet long. The table in the replica is less than 2 12 inches high. It took more than 160 hours to carve the details, sand and stain this marble-topped table.

"The White House is the finest prison in the world." -Harry S. Truman

Zweifel and his creation

The light bulbs, televisions, telephones, clocks and fountains all work.

The Truman Renovation

When Harry Truman became president in 1945, the White House was in a deteriorated state. Nearly 150 years of wear and tear coupled with previous modifications had made the Executive Mansion structurally unsound. Between 1948 and 1952, the White House was completely gutted and restored for the first time since it was set ablaze by British troops in 1814. The renovation, known as the Truman Renovation, was the metamorphosis that transformed the White House into its current form. The most famous addition during the Truman years was the Truman Balcony, located above the South Portico. Opponents of the balcony said such an alteration would destroy the original architecture of the White House. Although Truman won both a second term and the debate over the balcony, some feared his stance on the balcony issue would cost Truman the election of 1948. The $5.7 million project was completed in March 1952.

President Truman and his family, who lived across the street in the Blair House during the renovation, were able to live in the newly renovated White House for his final 10 months in office.

White House in Miniature Fun Facts

*Construction on the White House in Miniature began in 1962

*More than 600,000 hours have been dedicated to creating this replica.

* Whenever a change is made in the real White House, the same change is made in the miniature version.The furniture in the White House in Miniature is made from the same wood as the original pieces.

*From the number of beads on the chandeliers to the placement of the floorboards, this replica leaves no detail untouched.

White House Fun Facts

The White House has 132 rooms, including three kitchens and 35 bathrooms.

*During President Nixon's first term, the West Wing's indoor swimming pool was converted into the White House pressroom.

*In 1942, a long cloakroom in the East Wing was converted into a private movie theater.

* President Truman referred to the White House as a "glamorous prison," the "great white sepulcher of ambitions," the "taxpayers' house" and the "great white jail."

"... the Truman Renovation was the metamorphosis that transformed the White House into its current form."

Truman Presidential Museum & Library
500 West U.S. Highway 24 Independence, Missouri 64050-1798

www.trumanlibrary.org

Information 1 800 833 1225

Administration 816 268 8200

Museum Hours

9 am-5 pm Monday—Saturday

Noon-5 pm Sunday

Open until 9 pm Thursdays

(May—September)

Extended Holiday Hours

Museum open until 9 pm

November 25 and 26 and

December 26 through December 30

Museum closed Thanksgiving,

Christmas and New Year's Day

Research Room Hours

8:45 am-4:45 pm Monday—Friday

8:45 am-12:45 pm Saturday

(by appointment)

816 268 8272

 


 

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