The showing of First Ladies: Political Role and Public Image at the National Constitution Center was the last stop on the exhibition’s national tour. The exhibition features more than two centuries of elegant inaugural and evening gowns, clothing and jewelry, White House furnishings and china, photographs and portraits, and campaign and personal memorabilia. It examines the demanding duties of the presidential partner and national hostess, explores how her role has evolved from ceremonial colleague to one of international celebrity and recognized political power, and illustrates the importance of the first lady’s public image to the success of a presidential administration.
First Ladies is based on one of the Smithsonian’s most visited permanent exhibitions and contains artifacts from the rarely traveled first ladies collection of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, Behring Center. Organized by the National Museum of American History and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), First Ladies was made possible by A&E Network. Macy’s was the local presenting sponsor and NBC 10 was the official media partner for the Center’s showing of First Ladies.