When it comes to symbols of America, the stately neoclassical edifice at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. is right up there with the Stars and Stripes and Uncle Sam, but with one big advantage on them: You can drop in for a visit—if not, for the time being, in real life, then online via Google Arts & Culture. Much as it has done for museums, national parks and even New York City street art, Google Arts & Culture offers virtual tours of the White House, allowing you to explore its stately interiors while learning about its storied history as the President's residence and seat of power.
The site gives you several options for taking a look around. There's an annotated tour of White House decor, for instance, which takes you through some of the building's iconic spaces. These include the Entrance Hall, where Ronald Reagan took his second oath of office in 1985, because Inauguration Day (January, 20th) officially fell on a Sunday that year; the East Room, the designated "Public Audience Room” back in the 19th century when Presidents actually entertained petitions directly from ordinary citizens; and the State Dining Room.
You will also find images of the many fine art objects in the White House collection, including presidential portraits, sculptures, furniture and exquisite examples of White House china created over successive administrations. Some of those same items appear in situ, within various street view tours that take you inside the White House. There are also virtual tours of surrounding grounds and the Eisenhower Executive Office Building across the street. So give the site a whirl: It will offer you a chance to learn something about American history as you ride out the current chapter of it.Share the story