Our museum is temporarily closed to support the effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. Read a message from our director, and check our website and social media for updates.

A First Lady’s Debut

A First Lady’s Debut

The First Ladies at the Smithsonian

The exhibition was made possible by the generous support of The Elizabeth Carolyn Lux Foundation.

In the months between the presidential election and the inauguration, countless stories in newspapers, magazines, and now the internet try to satisfy our curiosity about the new first lady. What is her style and how will it influence the White House? Will she have a policy agenda? Will she support a special project? How does she compare to the first ladies who came before her? And, always, what will she wear to the inaugural ball?

Through these pre-inaugural stories and by seeing the new first lady in her inaugural gown, the American public forms its first impression of the woman who will influence and represent our nation.