Miniature White House True to Smallest Detail
The Blue Room was completely redecorated in 1972, with many of the furnishings in the French Empire style and with original portraits of early U.S. presidents.
By LEILA D. PHILLIPS
THE first area showing of the million dollar White House Replica will be staged at the National Guard Armory March 31-April 6.
Sponsored by Travellers' Rest, the miniature White House is authentic in the most minute detail - from the right woods for Abraham Lincoln's rosewood bed to the French Empire pieces in the oval Blue Room. The White House is the work of artist John Zweifel of Orlando, Fla., his decorator-wife Jan and other artists-craftsmen.
An estimated 200,000 man hours were required for the construction of the sandstone structure, 6 feet long and 20 inches wide, with its white-columned facade and hundreds of tiny replicas of presidential furnishings and storied objets d'art.
Hundreds of scale drawings (1 inch to 1 foot) and photographs were made during the administration of President John F. Kennedy. Following his assassination, tightened security made on-the-scene drawings and photographs impossible, but still the Zweifels were determined to see their dream come into being. Using his own capital (materials alone cost $350,000) and spare time, Zweifel soon realized his ambitious undertaking could cost as much as $40,000 per room for authentic reproduction.
The hand-carved White House Replica, a unique, multi-dimensional record of the presidential residence since 1800, is Zweifel's contribution to the bicentennial era.
With the pattern of ever-changing White House decor with each administration, the master carver, who studied architecture, sculpture and painting at the Art Institute of Chicago, realized he must capture with his zest for authenticity a moment in American history. So he chose July 4, 1976, as the date to be preserved artistically for future generations. Presently Zweifel is at work on 14 rooms of the President Carter residency, each to be a separate, vignette.
In December 1976, the White House Replica, nearing completion, was presented to the American public for President and Mrs. Gerald Ford at the White House tree lighting ceremony. Appropriately, its first public showing was at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. A national tour was launched, with crowds estimated as high as 600,000 in Milwaukee.
Bringing the White House Replica to Middle Tennessee "completely demonstrates the aims - educational, historic and patriotic - of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in Tennessee," said its president Mrs. Joe Anderson. She explained that Travellers' Rest is the society's museum house.
Displays of miniature artifacts, sets of presidential china, busts of the presidents, and other art by Zweifel and his team of artisans will be an added attraction to the Middle Tennessee showing. Further emphasizing the educational nature of the exhibits will be wood carvers on the scene practicing their craft.
Although the White House is on the itinerary of most sightseers to Washington, few are privileged to visit such interesting rooms as the Oval Office, the Cabinet Room or Lincoln's Bedroom.
President John Adams moved into the White House Nov. 17, 1800, and
Thomas Jefferson was the first president to spend a complete term there. Dolly Madison was its first real hostess. Each president has left his mark on the spacious official dwelling just as he has on the history of the nation he served.
Following completion of the national tour, the White House is expected to hit the international circuit in an effort to give peoples in other lands a better understanding of our American heritage.
Individuals or groups may visit the replica from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. March 31; noon to 9 p.m. April 1; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. April 2-6, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 6.
Tickets at $2 for adults and $1 for students may be purchased at the door. Advanced tickets may be bought at Commerce Union Bank main office or its branches.