The Visitor Center is highly recommended now, following a major renovation (completed in fall of 2014) that has added a wide range of intriguing offerings. These include a state-of-the-art theater that continuously runs the newly commissioned 14-minute film, “White House: Reflections from Within,” featuring the personal stories of the current and former First Family occupants of the White House; interactive exhibits that allow you to explore inside and outside the White House with a touch of the screen; and exhibits of some 100 artifacts, like the mahogany desk that White House architect James Hoban fashioned out of the wood scraps left over from the construction of the White House. National Park Service rangers staff the information desks, and the White House Historical Association mans its large gift shop here—this is a great place to purchase mementos and presents, like the annually designed White House Christmas tree ornament. Whether or not you’re able to tour the White House, try to stop here for a behind the scenes understanding of the history and everyday life inside the executive mansion. And here’s a fact you might just want to know: The center has public restrooms.
- Elise Hartman Ford