Michelle Obama Donates Dress to the Smithsonian, 03/09/2010

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  • On Tuesday, March 9, 2010, First Lady Michelle Obama donated her Inaugural Gown to the National Museum of American History's First Ladies Collection. In doing so, Michelle Obama followed a tradition started by First Lady Helen Herron Taft. In 1912, Helen Taft loaned the gown she wore to her husband's 1909 Inauguration to the Smithsonian, which was displayed in the United States National Museum, now known as the Arts & Industries Building, in the Period Costume Collection Exhibit. The exhibit opened in 1914 and quickly became a visitor favorite. Other First Ladies and their families emulated Helen Taft and eventually helped create the First Ladies National Collection.
  • Mrs. Obama's white, one-shouldered, silk chiffon gown with organza flowers and Swarovski crystals was designed by Jason Wu. Her dress will be the centerpiece of the newly renovated "First Ladies at the Smithsonian" exhibit. The exhibit includes twenty-four of the First Ladies' gowns and 100 other objects related to the women who lived in the White House.


  • Obama, Michelle 1964-
  • Taft, Helen Herron 1861-1943
  • Wu, Jason
  • National Museum of American History (U.S.) (NMAH)
  • First Ladies Exhibit


Chronology of Smithsonian History


E-TORCH, March 11, 2010

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520, SIHistory@si.edu


March 9, 2010


  • Clothing and dress
  • Presidents' spouses
  • Gifts
  • Museums
  • First ladies
  • First Ladies Gowns
  • Presidents
  • Museum exhibits


United States

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