Party like it’s 2004; bring your library card

The opening of the White House for the holidays is an annual tradition, but, if you can’t make it to Washington, D.C., for this year’s celebration, take a trip to the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum’s annual Christmas at the White House exhibit. The 4,500-square foot display features original holiday decorations, ornaments and dresses from the 2004 holiday season.

An 18-foot recreation of the Christmas tree that filled the Blue Room is covered with more than 350 miniature musical instruments. “It’s become a family tradition for people who live here.” said Amy Polley Hamilton, library curator. “There are so many people in the Dallas area who have never gotten to go to the White House and we get to bring that to them.”

“A Season of Merriment and Melody” is the theme, featuring classic holiday songs such as “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” “Frosty the Snowman” and “White Christmas.”

“We’ve been doing this since we opened and it’s been a really huge hit. This year, our newest feature is the sound showers in front of the display, which play the music depicted in the scenes,” Hamilton said. “The Bushes felt it was important to make the White House America’s home so if other holidays fell into the holiday season they would make sure to include them.” An original menorah on loan from a synagogue is on display in a hallway. 

Intended to show the inside of the White House after post 9/11 security modifications, the exhibit also features the 2004 Barney Cam video “Where in the White House Is Miss Beazley?” with presidential pup Barney searching for his niece, Miss Beazley.    

The library is within walking distance of Mockingbird Lane DART station, an easy afternoon trip. The 14,000-square foot exhibit covers the Bush presidency and includes a full-scale replica of the Oval Office.

For more information, visit https://www.georgewbushlibrary.smu.edu/.