The White House has a rich history. Most of its presidential occupants all have their own libraries, guaranteeing immortality. Many of the other tenants write their own memoirs about the bill-signings, parties and meetings in the Oval Office.
The legacy of the house itself is available in books and through the programs of the White House Historical Association. But like everything else that needs to be modernized.
The association took a major step toward creating new education material about the White House with a $10 million gift from financier and philantropist David M. Rubenstein.
The gift was announced Monday at the White House by First Lady Michelle Obama. The association is marking its 50th anniversary, an organization encouraged by the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
The center will be located at the Decatur House on Lafayette Square and the project is expected to cost $25 million. Officials hope to open in 2013.
The features will include a digital and online resource center, connected to the more than 100 presidential libraries and the archives of the association. Interactive programs for students and teachers are planned, as well as a White House Teachers’ Institute.
To adapt to its new role, Decatur house is undergoing a through conversation. Built in 1818 by Benjamin Henry Latrobe, it is a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and includes rare intact slave quarters and a carriage house.
The institute will be named the David M. Rubenstein National Center for White House History. Rubenstein, who worked in the Jimmy Carter White House, is the co-founder and managing director of The Carlyle Group. Currently he is the chairman of the Kennedy Center board and has given large monetary gifts to the center and the Library of Congress. A believer in the written lessons of history, Rubenstein has purchased and then lent several documents, including the Magna Carta to the National Archives and a signed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation to the White House.