In a first, a second inaugural gown goes to Smithsonian

  • Article by: BRETT ZONGKER , Associated Press
  • Updated: January 14, 2014 - 3:28 PM

The dress will be part of the “First Ladies” exhibit. It goes on display Tuesday.

First Lady Michelle Obama’s chiffon and velvet Jason Wu gown is being lent to the National Museum of American History for a year to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Smithsonian’s “First Ladies” exhibition. It will be paired with her ruby red shoes, below.

Photo: Charles Dharapak • Associated Press,

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– For the next year, First Lady Michelle Obama’s second inaugural gown will be displayed at the Smithsonian Institution.

Before it’s stowed away for a future presidential library, Obama’s ruby-colored chiffon gown designed by Jason Wu is being lent to the National Museum of American History for a year to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Smithsonian’s “First Ladies” ­exhibition.

The dress will be paired with her shoes designed by Jimmy Choo and will go on display Tuesday. The gown features a cross-halter strap neckline adorned with small diamonds.

A first for second gown

While the Smithsonian traditionally collects each first lady’s first inaugural gown, ­second gowns are usually shown only in presidential libraries. This is the first time the museum has displayed a second inaugural gown.

The dress was transferred to the National Archives but is being lent to the Smithsonian with the White House’s blessing. Lisa Kathleen Graddy, the Smithsonian’s curator of women’s political history, said it seemed like a nice time to start a new tradition in the ever-evolving “First Ladies at the Smithsonian” exhibit for those who serve two terms in the White House.

“The more I started thinking about it, it’s such a long time before the presidential library is built,” she said. “There’s such interest in the dress, I thought maybe it would be interesting if we could borrow the dress and do a special display … so that people would get a chance to see it.”

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  • A pair of Jimmy Choo shoes worn by first lady Michelle Obama with her second inaugural gown are shown in a storage area at the Smithsonian Museum of American History on Monday, Jan. 13, 2014 in Washington.†The White House is lending Obamaís ruby-colored chiffon gown made by designer Jason Wu to the National Museum of American History for a year to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Smithsonianís first ladies exhibition. It will be paired with Obamaís shoes designed by Jimmy Choo. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

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