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Michelle Obama makes history with a Smithsonian first

michelle obama
Luke Sharrett for The New York Times

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For the first time, the Smithsonian Museum will display the second inaugural gown worn by a first lady.

In an historic first, Michelle Obama‘s gown, worn during the inauguration marking the beginning of the second term of Barack Obama as president, is being made available to the National Museum of American History for display, The Associated Press reported.

The Smithsonian is commemorating the 100th anniversary of its first ladies exhibition, and will keep the ruby-colored chiffon gown for one year, after which, it will be stored by the National Archives for a future Obama presidential library, according to the article.

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The gown, designed by Jason Wu, will go on display Tuesday along with Mrs. Obama’s shoes, made by Jimmy Choo.

“The more I started thinking about it, it’s such a long time before the presidential library is built,” Smithsonian Curator Lisa Kathleen Graddy told the Associated Press. “There’s such interest in the dress, I thought maybe it would be interesting if we could borrow the dress and do a special display, a special limited-time display here so that people would get a chance to see it.”

A consideration not granted to Eleanor Roosevelt, called the “First Lady of the World” by President Harry Truman. Or “Lady Bird” Johnson, who was credited with creating the modern structure of the first lady’s office.

As for more recent first ladies whose husbands served two full terms, Nancy Reagan, Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush also failed to make the grade.

Tom Tillison


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