Politics & Government

White House Visitor Center to open after multi-million renovation

First lady Michelle Obama, center, flanked by White House Historical Association chairman and incoming Washington Post Publisher Fred Ryan, left, and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, cuts the ribbon during an opening ceremony for the newly renovated White House Visitors Center in Washington, Sept. 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
First lady Michelle Obama, center, flanked by White House Historical Association chairman and incoming Washington Post Publisher Fred Ryan, left, and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, cuts the ribbon during an opening ceremony for the newly renovated White House Visitors Center in Washington, Sept. 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) AP

The White House Visitor Center is re-opening after a two-year makeover.

First Lady Michelle Obama and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday to mark $12.6 million in energy-efficient, accessibility and historic renovations to the center

The White House Visitor Center, which is run by the National Park Service, opens to the public at 7:30 a.m. Saturday.

The nearly 16,000 square ft. remodeled space allows visitors who take a self-guided White House tour. More than 90 White House artifacts, many of which have never been on public display, are available for viewing. The space also included a new retail store, run by the White House Historical Association.

“The partnership between the National Park Service and the White House Historical Association has created a captivating new experience for all Americans and people from around the world,” Jewell said. “I am proud of the thought and care that inspired the White House Visitor Center's world-class exhibits and accessibility – and encouraged by the modern technology that seeks to engage our country's next generation in the important and historic story of the Presidencies that have shaped our country.”

The association contributed $7.5 million to the project and has pledged an additional $5 million endowment that will be used for ongoing care and updates.

“The White House Historical Association’s mission of enhancing the public’s understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of the Executive Mansion is brought to life in the new White House Visitor Center,” said Stewart McLaurin, association president. “Visitors will experience an incredible interactive exhibit, rich with artifacts from the White House Collection, and a new signature film featuring interviews with members of first families across administrations.”

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