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White House curator William Allman to retire after 40 years of service

In charge of preserving the art and furnishings of the presidential residence, he also worked with Laura Bush and Michelle Obama to redecorate historic rooms

by Helen Stoilas  |  10 May 2017
White House curator William Allman to retire after 40 years of service
First Lady Michelle Obama and White House Curator Bill Allman, right, talk with the spouses of G8 Summit leaders in the Red Room during a tour of the White House, May 19, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)
The White House curator, William Allman, who is in charge of preserving the art and furnishings of the presidential residence, will retire on 1 June after serving there for 40 years. Allman had considered retiring last year, the Washington Post reports, but stayed on to help the new First Family during their transition into the White House.

“It has been a tremendous honor to serve eight Presidents and First Ladies in helping to preserve and beautify the White House, and maintain and interpret its wonderful collections of art and furnishings,” Allman said in a statement. “As a steward of the museum component of an ever-evolving and ever-bustling home and office, I truly have had a dream job.”

Allman worked with both Laura Bush and Michelle Obama on restorations of historic rooms in the White House: the historic Lincoln Bedroom, his first major project after taking over as curator in 2002 under the Bush administration, and the Family Dining Room, which was in 2015 was redecorated by the Obamas with Modern works by artists like Robert Rauschenberg, Alma Thomas and Josef Albers.

In February, Melania Trump picked the Laotian-American interior designer Tham Kannalikham to help update the family’s private rooms in the White House, but the First Lady and her son Barron have so far spent most of their time in their Trump Tower penthouse apartment in New York, or at Trump’s golf course in Palm Beach, Mar-a-Lago. “We thank Bill for all of his dedicated service and wish him the very best in his retirement,” a spokeswoman for Melania Trump said in a statement.

The news comes just a week after the firing of the White House chief usher, Angella Reid, who was in charge of the residence’s staff. This leaves two senior vacancies at the White House that the Trump administration will need to fill in the coming months.

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