The clothing and the causes of America’s First Ladies are always objects of great curiosity. The fancy gowns, jewelry and dishes of the First Ladies at the Smithsonian Institution always draw long lines.
Beginning Saturday, the public can see an updated exhibition at the National Museum of American History that they are calling simply “The First Ladies.” The new gallery is adjacent to “The American Presidency” on the third floor.
The new arrangement has 26 dresses, including 8 that have never been displayed or at least haven’t been out of storage for a very long time.
Out of storage are:
Grace Coolidge’s blue satin flapper-style evening gown.
Also, Coolidge's brown chiffon and lace flapper-style dress.
Caroline Harrison’s burgundy velvet and gray satin gown.
Lou Hoover’s silk crepe evening gown.
Hoover’s floral-patterned silk day dress.
Dolley Madison’s pink silk brocade gown.
Eleanor Roosevelt’s slate-blue silk crepe gown, worn at the 1933 inaugural ball.
Edith Wilson’s black lace over white satin dress.
Other objects new to the exhibition include the china service of George W. Bush.
Nearly 200 items explain the roles of the First Ladies. Other gowns have been donated by Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Barbara Bush and Nancy Reagan.