The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

President Obama Announces Members of the Committee for the Preservation of the White House

Committee to advise on the preservation of objects in the White House’s public spaces

WASHINGTON – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to the Committee for the Preservation of the White House. Committee members will advise on the preservation and interpretation of the museum character of the public rooms on the Ground Floor and State Floor of the White House and on additions to the permanent White House collection of fine art and decorative arts objects. 

The Committee, created in 1964 by Executive Order, is tasked with advising the President, the First Lady, and the Director of the National Park Service on preserving the museum quality of the public spaces of the White House.  It works closely with the Executive Residence staff, especially the White House curator, and with the White House Historical Association, a supporting non-profit organization, that administers the White House Endowment Trust and the White House Acquisition Trust used to support the refurbishing projects and finance acquisitions.

First Lady Michelle Obama said, “One of our priorities has been to open the doors of the White House, invite more visitors in and truly make it the ‘People’s House’.  When people come here for public tours and events, we want them to have a truly educational and enjoyable experience. As a partner in this effort, the Committee for the Preservation of the White House will advise us on what modifications and acquisitions need to be made so that the White House remains an historically accurate, open, living museum.”

President Obama said, “I’m grateful that such a diverse and accomplished group of people have agreed to devote their talents to ensuring that the White House provides an inspirational and enlightening experience for its visitors.”

President Obama announced today his intent to appoint the following individuals:

Pamela Bass-Bookey, Member, Committee for the Preservation of the White House
Pamela Bass-Bookey is co-developer and design consultant for the recently restored Temple for Performing Arts; an award winning historic preservation project. She is the President of the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation and is a trustee of Drake University and the Des Moines Art Center. She also is a member of the Board of Directors of numerous educational, art, and cultural institutions. Ms. Bass-Bookey co-founded the History Series at the Salisbury House; a historic century-old house museum. For 25 years, she was the owner of Bookey Fine Arts, an art consulting business.

Lonnie Bunch, Member, Committee for the Preservation of the White House
Lonnie Bunch is founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.  He was appointed to the Committee for the Preservation of the White House in 2002.  Mr. Bunch has previously served as the President of the Chicago Historical Society, and as Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs at the National Museum of American History.  Mr. Bunch has served on the advisory boards of the American Association of Museums and the American Association of State and Local History. In 2005, Bunch was named one of the 100 most influential museum professionals of the 20th century by the American Association of Museums.

Robert G. Clark, Member, Committee for the Preservation of the White House
Robert G. Clark is Chairman and CEO of Clayco, Inc., one of the nation's largest, privately owned real estate, architecture, engineering, design, and construction firms. He is a member of board of directors of LaBarge, Inc., a broad-based provider of electronics to technology-driven companies in diverse industrial markets. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of St. Louis University and is the former president of the Board of Managers for the Central Institute for the Deaf.

Thelma Golden, Member, Committee for the Preservation of the White House
Thelma Golden is Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem, an institution devoted to artists of African descent, locally, nationally and internationally and for work that has been inspired and influenced by black culture. Golden was the museum’s Deputy Director for Exhibitions before assuming the directorship in 2005; prior to that, she worked as a curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Golden is a board member of the Institute of International Visual Arts, a member of the Association of Art Museum Directors and was a 2008 Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute.  She earned a BA in art history from Smith College in 1987.

Richard H. Jenrette, Member, Committee for the Preservation of the White House
Richard H. Jenrette was a founding partner of the investment firm Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette and was instrumental in taking DLJ public in 1970, making it the first publicly traded securities firm in the United States. In 1990, he became Chairman and CEO of The Equitable Life Assurance Society until 1996. Since retiring, he has continued his focus on restoring historic homes and has published several books, including Jenrette: The Contrarian Manager and Adventures With Old Houses. He has served as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and received the National Trust for Historic Preservation Crowninshield Award, the National Trust’s highest honor. He currently serves as Chair of the Classical American Homes Preservation Trust and as a Director of The Blackstone Group.

Lew Manilow, Member, Committee for the Preservation of the White House
Lew Manilow is founder and former President of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.  He is also the Honorary President of the Goodman Theatre, a Lifetime Trustee of the Art Institute of Chicago, a member of the Board for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.  Mr. Manilow was Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Public Diplomacy and served on the Board of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, Progressive Policy Institute, and the Chicago Community Trust.  In 2000, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts for his efforts in restoring the Theater District in downtown Chicago.

Richard C. Nylander, Member, Committee for the Preservation of the White House
Richard C. Nylander is curator emeritus of Historic New England (formerly The Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities), a Boston-based preservation organization that manages 35 historic house museums from Connecticut to Maine and maintains a collection of more than 120,000 artifacts relating to the cultural heritage of New England. He is an internationally recognized authority on historic wallpapers and has written and lectured widely on the subject. He has served as a member of the Committee for the Preservation of the White House since 1990 and participated in the extensive refurbishment of the Blue Room, the State Dining Room and the Lincoln Bedroom. Mr. Nylander holds a Master’s degree in Museum Administration and studied English at the College of William & Mary.

Linda Johnson Rice, Member, Committee for the Preservation of the White House
Linda Johnson Rice is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Johnson Publishing Company, Inc. which publishes EBONY and JET magazines, and is also the parent company of Fashion Fair Cosmetics, LLC. Ms. Rice serves on the Board of Trustees of The Art Institute of Chicago and is a Co-Chair of the Advisory Council of The National Museum of African American History and Culture. She also serves on the board of Omnicon Group, Inc., Kimberly-Clark Corporation, The United Negro College Fund, and the University of Southern California. Ms Rice holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism at the University of Southern California and a Master of Management from Northwestern University's J L Kellogg Graduate School of Management.

Paul Schimmel, Member, Committee for the Preservation of the White House
Paul Schimmel is Chief Curator of The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. He has organized dozens of major exhibitions, such as Helter Skelter: Los Angeles Art in the 1990s; Hand-Painted Pop: American Art in Transition, 1955-62; Sigmar Polke Photoworks: When Pictures Vanish; Robert Gober; Out of Actions: Between Performance and the Object, 1949-1979; Charles Ray; Willem de Kooning: Tracing the Figure; Robert Rauschenberg: Combines, and ©MURAKAMI. Major publications accompanied each of these shows. He was the recipient of the Bard College Center for Curatorial Studies Award for Curatorial Excellence in 2001.

Michael S. Smith, Member, Committee for the Preservation of the White House
Michael S. Smith is founder/principal of Michael S. Smith, Inc., a design firm located in Los Angeles and New York.  In 2008 he was chosen by President and Mrs. Obama to redecorate the White House living quarters.  He is the author of two best-selling books, Elements of Style (2005) and Houses (2007).  He has been named by Architectural Digest as one of the "AD 100" in 2002, 2004 and most recently in 2010.  In addition, he was named “Designer of the Year” by Elle Décor in 2003.  Mr. Smith serves on the Board of Trustees for the Otis College of Art and Design and is the Honorary Chairman of the 2010 Red Cross Designer’s Show House in Palm Beach, FL.  Mr. Smith resides in Los Angeles and New York.

Beth White, Member, Committee for the Preservation of the White House
Beth White is Director of the Chicago Region Office of The Trust for Public Land, a national organization dedicated to land conservation and the creation of urban parks. She was also previously the Managing Director of Communications and Policy for the Chicago Housing Authority, Chief of Staff for Chicago Transit Authority’s Chicago Transit Board, Assistant Commissioner for the City of Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development, and founding executive director of Friends of the Chicago River where she led the creation of the award winning Chicago River Urban Design guidelines. Ms. White also worked on the creation of the first landmarks protection ordinance and staffed the Historic Preservation Commission for the City of Highland Park. As the former Chair of Lakewood Balmoral National Historic District Committee, she led the designation of the Lakewood Balmoral neighbood on the National Register of Historic Places. Ms. White is an active member of the Edgewater Historical Society, Landmarks Illinois, American Planning Association, and Lambda Alpha International, an honorary land economics society.

John Wilmerding, Member, Committee for the Preservation of the White House
John Wilmerding is Emeritus Professor of American Art at Princeton University, and an adjunct curator in the Princeton University Art Museum.  He is a current member of the Committee for the Preservation of the White House and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the National Gallery of Art in Washington. He is also as a trustee of the Guggenheim Museum and the new Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas. Mr. Wilmerding is a former commissioner of the National Portrait Gallery, visiting curator in the Department of American Art at the Metropolitan Museum, and has also served as Senior Curator and Deputy Director of the National Gallery.

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