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New: WhiteHouseMuseum.org

2006.06.08 — Business | Tysto | Technology | Internet | by Derek Jensen

White House overview

A combination of satellite imagery, White House architectural plans, photographs of the White House miniature on display at the George Bush Library, and vector diagramming. Yeah, I got skills. [Tysto art]

We at Tysto are a civic-minded lot. We like to engage in the kind of discourse and debate that ennobles the spirit and embiggens the smallest man. Plus, we really want to have FBI files opened on us. So that's why we've launched a new site: WhiteHouseMuseum.org, the comprehensive online museum-like tour of the White House in Washington, DC. For now, the White House Museum site is hosted on Tysto's host servers because Go Daddy's free hosting is like hitting yourself with a hammer to see stars instead of buying a telescope. Sure it's free, but it's not pain-free.

Take a look at WhiteHouseMuseum.org and browse the several pages detailing the White House Family Theater and the Oval Office. Pretty much everything comes from government sources (meaning it's public domain), so it's more a matter of assembly now that the real work of documenting the floor plan is pretty much done (however, if you know what the East Wing layout looks like, drop me a line).

In the coming weeks, the site will grow significantly. My research has turned up excellent photos of nearly all of the Residence (even much of the mysterious third floor) and pretty detailed information about the West Wing. We'll probably create a blog to encourage feedback to improve accuracy and completeness. Eventually we'll introduce advertising or something to support its own hosting (not that Tysto pays for itself).

My hope is that the site becomes a place of learning for school kids and anyone else who is interested in the architecture and heritage of the White House. It's a fascinating building, now over 200 years old (or almost 200 years old, or over 50 years old, depending on your point of view) and completely refurbished multiple times.

It has survived a gutting by fire, a gutting by design, multiple near-misses by aircraft, and Mamie Eisenhower's pink obsession*. It was once refitted with Tiffany stained glass windows and once used sheep to keep the lawn trimmed. It has hosted weddings, funerals, affairs of state, affairs of the heart, and more than 40 million visitors. It is a family residence, state event host, working office complex, news studio, intelligence operations center, museum, and national park. It has a swimming pool, tennis court, basketball court, putting green, bowling alley, movie theater, library, pool room, music room, flower garden, herb garden, and sun room, not to mention its very own sniper nest.

There ain't nothin' like it in the whole wide world.

* This originally read "Lyndon Johnson's green shag carpet," but later research revealed that he used a medium blue short-pile carpet with his green-topped desk.

Update: 2007.01.09

The WHM has been running in its own server space for a while now, and has a regularly-updated blog. There are several regular contributors offering suggestions and corrections that have allowed the museum to become large and highly-accurate.


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