Exclusive tour in White House room closed to the public

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ABC7's David Ono gets an exclusive tour of the White House's Diplomatic Reception Room, an area off limits to the public.

Being invited to the White House is a great honor, but ABC7's David Ono was given the rare opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at some of the historical rooms off limits to the public.

Ono interviewed President Barack Obama inside the Diplomatic Reception Room four years ago and again on Wednesday.

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White House Curator William Allman gave Ono a tour of the room that is closed to the public.

"This room was also used by Franklin Roosevelt during the 1930s and 40s as the location for almost all of his famous fireside chats," Allman said.

Hanging over the fireplace is a prominent painting of George Washington.

"Gilbert Stewart did three different likenesses of George Washington. This is called the 'Athenaeum.' It's the same image that appears on the $1 bill. The government just didn't have this one at the time that they were designing the currency," Allman stated. "This one was painted about 1797."

Even the room's wallpaper has significant meaning.

"This wallpaper was installed in 1961 at the request of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. It was made in France in 1834 and it was called, 'Views of North America.' It's what the Europeans found most interesting in the great wilds of the United States," Allman explained.

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From the walls to the floors, since 1960, beginning with the Eisenhower administration, there has always been an oval shaped carpet to fit the room with an emblem off each of the 50 state flags.

The current carpet is the fourth generation of its kind.

Allman has been with the White House nearly 40 years. He started during the Ford administration and has served under seven different presidents.

He's responsible for studying and caring for the 50,000 pieces of art and decor in the White House's permanent collection.
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newsthe white housepresident barack obamaexclusivenationalWashington D.C.
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