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White House Curator Retires after more than 40 Years of Service

White House Curator William Allman holds a historic plate in the State Dining Room in 2015. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

White House Curator William Allman holds a historic plate in the State Dining Room in 2015. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

Last week, the White House announced that William Allman, the White House’s chief curator, will retire on June 1. Allman, who has worked in the organization’s Curator’s Office for 41 years, has served as chief curator since 2002. This retirement comes as no surprise—Stephanie Grisham, the East Wing communications director said in a statement that Allman had “been considering his retirement since June 2016 but was kind enough to stay on through the transition.”

The Office of the Curator was created by Jacqueline Kennedy in 1961 when she managed to get the White House declared a museum. Its first curator, decorative arts scholar Lorraine Waxman Pearce, passed away earlier this year.

During his career, Allman served under eight presidents and was tasked with navigating the strange museum-residence combination of the White House. In 2011, he told the New York Times:

It is a museum, but it’s also the White House, and so it’s a working house. There are times when you run screaming, telling somebody, ‘You can’t put those hot television lights up against the portrait of Washington!’ You worry about someone spilling a drink on something. Sometimes somebody breaks a piece of furniture. But it’s the nature of it. It’s a place where people actually live.

According to CNN, “residence staff positions are non-political” and it is currently unclear who the Trumps will appoint to be Allman’s replacement.

also by Glasstire
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