– Some of the best
history is history
that’s hiding in plain sight.
So the White House is
one of those sites
our students clearly think
about and see, but might not
know the, kind of,
long history behind it.
– It’s an experience that you
can only have, really, at AU.
Being in this city, and
being so close to where
all of these people
live, where they work,
and where history happens.
– Our professor is a historian
at the White House
Historical Association.
He knows his stuff.
– We’re really honored to have
this partnership with American
University, and
it’s multifaceted.
We have several American
University alumni
that work on our staff.
– We went to the American
University History Department.
We asked them, what do
you think of this idea
of a course on the history
of the White House?
As far as we could
tell, nobody had really
taught a class like this.
– There’s so much more
about the White House
than studying the
physical structure.
And we want these young
leaders at American University
to appreciate that and
to use that as a context
no matter what their
professional career is.
– They’re coming from different
backgrounds, different majors.
Some are focusing
on communications,
some are focusing on
history, public affairs.
But what they’re
realizing, is that they
can take their interests and
study the White House in order
to better prepare themselves for
their majors or their careers.
– The access this professor
gives us is totally insane.
– We’ve had the
authors of the books
we’re reading come to class.
– Mike McCurry.
– John Pliska, the
White House Grounds.
Adrian Miller, the chef.
– Adrian, yeah.
– My second book
is on the history
of African American
presidential chefs.
– Betty Monkman came in
and spoke to our class
and went through all the
historical artifacts.
– We had the press
secretary to Bill Clinton
speak to us on the press
and the White House.
– We got to go on an actual
tour to the White House.
– We went through
with someone who
knew almost everything
about the House
and got to tell me the
significance of, say,
that chair, or this room was
renovated in X, Y and Z era.
And you learn so
much more that way.
– This, kind of,
interdisciplinary perspective
is going to make this class
really unique
and really special for everyone
who takes it.
– One of the things
I love about my job
is I learn something new every
day about the White House.
So I hope the students
that are taking this course
will learn something that’s a
surprise to them everyday, too.
– The fact that we’re so
fortunate to go to school
in D.C. and just take a Metro
trip downtown and explore
the White House, explore the
things we’re learning and see
them in person, is incredible.

New AU course on White House history
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