Did you know that over 11,000 eggs are dyed by White House chefs in preparation for the Easter Egg Roll? Or that it is the largest annual event held on the White House grounds? Look behind-the-scenes of this historic affair in two Smithsonian exhibitions. The holiday tradition dates back to 1878 when President Rutherford B. Hayes officially opened the White House grounds to local children for egg rolling on Easter Monday. Successive Presidents have continued the tradition of inviting children to the White House Lawn for spring-time games and entertainment.
This year’s festivities, with a theme of “Let’s Go Play," will encourage America’s youth to lead healthy and active lives, as President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama open the South Lawn to children and their families to enjoy sports, cooking classes, live musical performances, storytelling and, of course, the traditional egg roll. Former executive housekeeper at the White House, Christine Limerick, remembers the hard work by dedicated staff to pull off the grand event. “At the end of the day the staff was rewarded by the smiles and thanks of the children and their parents, tired, but happy, as they left the South Grounds, Easter souvenirs and treats in hand,” she said. Limerick’s experiences and memories from years working inside the White House are featured in The Working White House exhibition, now on view in Anniston, AL.
If gardens are your thing, check out The White House Garden. This exhibition traces the development of the gardens and grounds from the plans of Pierre Charles L’Enfant to the present, illustrating how the gardens have served as a spectacular stage for everything from the annual Easter egg festivities, to state weddings and royal receptions to President Eisenhower’s personal putting green. This year’s White House Easter Egg Roll will be held Monday, April 13, on the South Lawn of the White House. But, if you are closer to Anniston on Saturday, April 4, the Berman Museum of World History plays tribute to The Working White House and The White House Garden exhibitions with their own White House-style Easter Egg Roll!
To learn about White House-related events hosted in conjunction with the Smithsonian White House exhibitions, go to our Facebook page!
--Lindsey Koren, SITES PR office
The White House Garden, an exhibition developed and supported by the White House Historical Association and organized for travel by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES). The Working White House: Two Centuries of Traditions and Memories, was developed with the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and the White House Historical Association and is organized for travel by SITES.