Behind the Scenes

White House Wednesday | White House Evening Tours Give Voice to Untold Stories

By Patrick Saylor
Director, Marketing Communication

Old homes hold many stories within their walls, and the house at 12th and Clay Streets in Richmond is no exception. As the residence of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his family from 1861-1865, the White House was the scene of many conversations and interactions, both public and private, among family members, free and enslaved servants, and visitors.

White House Wednesday | Behind the Stanchions | Two Men, Two Different Choices

By Bryce VanStavern
Interpretation Supervisor

I once worked with an interpreter who told a visitor, “I can’t answer any question that begins, ‘Why did they’.” I chuckled at that, but he did go on to explain that sometimes we simply cannot understand motivation. In many cases, well meaning attempts to understand the “Why did they” question leads to some extraordinary and persistent myths.

White House Wednesday | Behind the Stanchions | A New Path

 

By Bryce VanStavern
Interpretation Supervisor

In 1988 the White House of the Confederacy opened to the public for tours after a 12-year restoration. In preparing for public tours, staff had to decide how best to guide visitors through two floors of the house. Much thought went into making those decisions, and for almost 30 years, tours of the White House of the Confederacy have followed the same path.

White House Wednesday: Behind the Stanchions | The Davis Bust

By Brianna Kirk
Lead Historical Interpreter

Everyone likes getting new things. With the holidays just past, many are enjoying new gifts as they start the new year.

Historians like getting new things, too. One of the rewards of working in a historic home is the plethora of artifacts that are donated. Each comes with its own interesting, and often fascinating, story.

White House Wednesday: Behind the Stanchions | The Kissing Ball

 

By Bryce VanStavern
Interpretation Supervisor

I suspect most of our visitors don’t know it’s there. It isn’t easy to see. It’s in a bit of a dark recess over their heads. But if you’ve ever wanted to steal a kiss in the White House of the Confederacy, Christmas season is your chance. Hanging in the doorway between the Central and Western Parlors is a Kissing Ball.

A Kissing Ball is a sphere of greenery with a bit of mistletoe affixed to the bottom. A red bow makes this a perfect Christmas decoration.

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