The White House Historical Association is opening a technology-driven educational center in 2024

Category: Education/Family


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. morph / mɔrf / (v.) – to gradually change in form or appearance

    Caterpillars morph into butterflies.

  2. incumbent / ɪnˈkʌm bənt / (adj.) – currently holding a particular position or role in a company, industry, etc.

    The incumbent president is seeking re-election for another term.

  3. ceremonial / ˌsɛ rəˈmoʊ ni əl / (adj.) – relating to or used for formal occasions or ceremonies

    The king wore a ceremonial robe during the ceremony.

  4. horrific / hɔr ˈɪf ɪk / (adj.) – causing intense fear, shock, or disgust

    The survivors of the accident described the scene as horrific.

  5. enslave / ɪnˈsleɪv / (v.) – to make someone a slave

    The farm owners enslaved their workers for several years.


Read the text below.

A White House tour is practically a must-do when visiting Washington, but the experience can leave some guests wondering about spaces they didn’t get to see, like the Oval Office.

The White House Historical Association hopes to provide answers to some of those questions when it opens The People’s House: A White House Experience, in the fall of 2024.

Situated on three floors of a building a block from the White House at Pennsylvania Avenue and 17th Street, the $30-million educational center will use cutting-edge technology to teach the public about the storied executive mansion and its history.

“This will be a technology-rich, immersive experience where you will actually go into spaces and, due to the miracles of modern technology, those spaces will become White House rooms around you,” Stewart McLaurin, the association’s president, told The Associated Press before the project was announced to the public.

The center will feature a large cutaway model of the White House with rooms that, with the help of technology, can morph into the Green Room, the Blue Room, or the Red Room. A full-scale replica of the Oval Office will reflect the incumbent president’s décor. A recreation of the Rose Garden will offer the experience of strolling through its blooms.

Upstairs galleries will allow visitors to experience the Cabinet Room, the State Dining Room, and the movie theater. Another gallery will teach about the many unseen people — ushers, chefs, florists, butlers, housekeepers, electricians, plumbers, carpenters — who care for the White House and keep it functioning in its multiple roles as a home for the president and his family, an office for the president and his staff, a ceremonial stage and a museum.

People will also learn about the slave labor that went into building the White House.

“That’s horrific. But we can’t shy away from the ugliness of that history,” McLaurin said. “Those enslaved people are just as much part of White House history as any president or first lady, in my view. And that is another story that we’re deeply involved in telling.”

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Given the chance, would you go on a White House tour as well as The People’s House: A White House Experience? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • How do you think the interactive and immersive experience offered by The People’s House: A White House Experience will enhance visitors’ understanding of the history and significance of the White House? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Do you think it is important for historical institutions like The People’s House to confront the more challenging aspects of their history, such as the use of slave labor in building the White House? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Regarding the slave labor that went into building the White House, McLaurin said, “That’s horrific. But we can’t shy away from the ugliness of that history.” What do you think of his statement? Do you agree with it? Why or why not? Discuss.