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Bush Center Showcases First Ladies in New Exhibit

Special exhibit honors first ladies’ influence and leadership; highlights the ongoing work of the Bush Institute

January 31, 2018

DALLAS  — The Bush Center is excited to announce that a new special exhibit, First Ladies: Style of Influencewill open to the public March 1, 2018. The exhibit will run through October 1, 2018.  

First Ladies: Style of Influence examines how the role of the first lady has evolved over time, and how first ladies have used their position to advance diplomacy and other social, cultural, and political initiatives. 

“As Mrs. Laura Bush noted when being interviewed about her time in the White House, ‘The role of the first lady is whatever the first lady wants it to be,’” said Brig. Gen. Patrick X. Mordente, director of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. “This exhibit is an entertaining opportunity to discover how America’s first ladies have changed not only style, attitudes, and public opinion, but U.S. history.” 

The impact of first ladies, including Laura Bush, Barbara Bush, Dolley Madison, Michelle Obama, and Eleanor Roosevelt, will be viewed through themes presented in the Bush Institute's landmark research report, A Role Without a Rulebook: The Influence and Leadership of Global First Ladies. Visitors will explore how American first ladies have served as hostess, teammate, champion, and policy advocate, all within the context of the changing American political and cultural landscape.  

“First ladies have a unique platform to improve lives," said Natalie Gonnella-Platts, Deputy Director of the Bush Institute's Women's Initiative and co-author of A Role Without a Rulebook. "We hope this exhibit will underscore their significant contributions to our country, the international community, and women's leadership more broadly." 

In addition to rare photographs and historic documents, artifacts on display will include Eleanor Roosevelt's black evening gown, Dolley Madison's snuff box, and Lou Hoover’s original Girl Scout uniform and Cine-Kodak movie camera. As their stories unfold, visitors will learn the challenges and rewards of a position that is reimagined by each person who holds it.  

Sponsored by: Carol and Alan J. Bernon Family Foundation | The Hersh Foundation | Target | ExxonMobil | Dallas Tourism Public Improvement District