In what the Obama administration is describing an attempt to increase access to the White House, U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle have announced to team up with the Google to create a virtual 360-degree tour of the historic building’s public rooms.
The initiative is part of the first couple’s endeavour to make their official residence “The People’s House”.
“The White House isn’t simply a home to First Families or meeting space for world leaders, it’s also known as ‘The People’s House’, a place that should be open to everyone. And that’s why we’ve made it a priority to invite young people, military families, and Americans of all ages to join us here at the White House,” Michelle said in a video welcoming digital users to explore the White House via the Google Art Project .
Over the past three years, approximately 2.5 million visitors have walked through the gates of The People’s House, including Residence tourists, guests at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll events, Fall and Spring Garden Tours, guests at State or Official Arrival Ceremonies and White House Kitchen Garden school group tours.
Now through the Google Art Project, millions more will be able to virtually visit the White House.
“Thousands of people have walked these halls and gazed at the artwork. They’ve examined the portraits of Washington, Lincoln, and Kennedy. They’ve imagined the history that’s unfolded here. And now you can do all of that without leaving your home. So go ahead, look around, enjoy the history and the beauty of these rooms. Because after all, this is your house, too,” Michelle said.
The Google Art Project, which launched in February 2011, uses Google technology to allow users to view museum objects in high resolution and explore institutions through Google Street View.
The new White House tour is part of a global expansion of the Google Art Project -- today Google announced the project has new partnerships with 29 partners in 16 cities across the country, the White House said.
The White House is the only building in the world that is simultaneously the home of a head of state, the executive office of a head of state, and is regularly open to the public for tours.