On Nov. 14, Internet users will be able to get a sneak preview of the Smithsonian’s newest exhibition, "The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden," when the exhibition’s Web site goes on line at http://americanhistory.si.edu/presidency. "The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden" itself opens to the public at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington on Nov. 15. Unprecedented in size and scope, "The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden" explores 200 years of the American presidency—the men and their impact on the office. The exhibition showcases national treasures, including George Washington’s uniform, the desk on which Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence and a microphone used by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his radio "fireside chats." The Web site offers users a world-class virtual exhibition that extends "The Presidency’s" audience to Internet users, providing a rich and enjoyable educational resource for students, teachers and parents. The site is not a re-creation of the exhibition that visitors will see in the National Museum of American History. Instead, it reshapes and retells the story of the presidency in ways possible only in an interactive medium, using the strengths of the Web to expand the exhibit’s offerings. The Web site takes a thematic view of presidential history, building upon the richness of the National Museum of American History collections. Elements of the site include:
- Four organizing categories: the creation of the office, campaigning, life in the White House and popular perceptions of the presidency
- An interactive timeline—an animated tool that provides instant access to detailed information about specific presidents and the historical eras in which they lived, as well as related objects in the museum’s exhibition
- Special resources for teachers, produced by the museum in partnership with The History Channel
- Interactive activities for young visitors, including explorations of the president’s job, children who have lived in the White House and the presidential seal
- An interconnected set of "Did You Know?" pages revealing interesting and unusual links among presidents and objects in the collection
- "E-mail the President," an opportunity to view letters children wrote to past presidents and a link to e-mail the current president.