Historian from White House Historical Association ‘Sets the Scene’ for Belmont’s White House Style Series

White House Style Zoom

Given Belmont University’s host role in the final presidential debate on October 22, the University’s O’More College of Architecture and Design has put together the series “White House Style,” hosted by Libby Callaway, founder of Nashville-based branding and public relations agency Callaway. This four-part series explores how past and present presidential residents of the White House have made their mark through their individual styles. 

The first part of the series premiered on September 24 with special guest Lina Mann. A historian of the White House Historical Associaton, Mann set the scene for the remainder of the series by discussing the guidelines and factors that change the overall style of America’s favorite residence with each new “first couple.”

The White House Historical Association strives to educate and enhance the understanding of the history behind the White House. Mann explained how elements of the White House change with each new presidential resident, whether it be through interior design, entertainment style or art. First lady Jacquelyn Kennedy is the founder of the White House Historical Association and sets the standard of how “the first lady steers the ship in terms of style for the White House.” 

Screenshot of Mann showing photo of Jackie Kennedy
Mann displays photo of Jackie Kennedy while explaining how pervasive her unique style was.

Entertainment is one of the most substantial factors in what defines the White House style. The residence is not only used to elegantly celebrate holidays but also used to entertain international affairs and diplomacy. Additionally, highly-stylized White house events celebrate art with memorable art performances including the American Ballet Theatre and the Opera Society of Washington. 

In 1961, the Fine Arts Committee for the White House turned the residence into a “functionally living museum space” which allowed for each family to showcase their style. Throughout the event, Mann shared Kennedy’s objectives in revitalizing the White House and how this presidential term progressed the design and entertainment elements forward.

Mann ended the night by sharing her personal favorite piece of art in the White House by showing a 2015 addition of a piece entitled “Resurrection.” This piece was completed by the first female black artist to be represented in the White House collection through art.

Mann shared stories and several photos depicting how White House administrations add their own styles to dinner parties, China sets, Christmas decor, the Blue Room decor and more. The video of this event is still available to view on Belmont’s Youtube channel. To learn more about Lina Mann and the White House Historical Association, follow @whitehousehistory on Instagram.