Hail to the Chief: Presidents, Power, and Politics

(June 1, 1997)

Hail to the Chief: Presidents, Power, and Politics
An Educational Traveling Exhibition

Hail to the Chief showcases the commitment of the National Endowment for the Humanities to educating the American people about their Presidents by supporting editions of their papers, restorations of their homes, research and scholarship about them, and award-winning biographies for television. The Presidents featured in Hail to the Chief are the focus of major NEH support.

The Presidents highlighted are:

  • George Washington
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Andrew Jackson
  • James K. Polk
  • Andrew Johnson
  • Ulysses S. Grant
  • Theodore Roosevelt
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • Lyndon Baines Johnson

Design and Structure of the Exhibition

Hail to the Chief has been successfully tested in a low-security, high-volume setting at Washington's Old Post Office Pavilion and elsewhere. Throughout its run in the Old Post Office, where it was seen by more than three million visitors, Hail to the Chief drew attention from the media and from guests at the New England Inaugural Ball and the Senate Democratic Gala.

The exhibition conveys its message two-dimensionally through reproduced images and words; it does not use tangible images or artifacts. It is designed to convey three kinds of information about the featured Presidents:

  • Printed and photographic images of the Presidents and their times, including the range of each President's activities and personality and the issues which faced him. In addition to portraits, these images include political cartoons, artifacts, and texts
  • The images in the exhibition are from the George Eastman House, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the United States Naval Academy, Independent Hall, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Library, the Library of Congress, the National Archives, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library, Harvard College, Monticello, the Hermitage, the National Portrait Gallery, the Tennessee State Museum, the Bettmann Archive, and Brown Brothers
  • Quotations from each President -- and, in some cases, about the President -- encapsulating his understanding of his public responsibilities and his experience in the office
  • Quotations from the editor of the President's papers or the film biographer about his or her search for the essence of the President and the essence of the man

The images are easily accessible, the Presidential quotations attract visitors who stop to look, and the scholars' quotations to the images provide interpretive information for visitors who choose to spend more time with the exhibition. The images are captioned.

Exhibiting Hail to the Chief

Two copies of Hail to the Chief are available for display in libraries, museums, schools, and other or organizations or facilities interested in promoting cultural enrichment. For further information about the exhibition, contact Joy Evans at the National Endowment for the Humanities:

202.606.8446 (voice)
202.606.8240 (fax)

Another copy of this traveling exhibit is available through ExhibitsUSA: 800.473.3872

Exhibition Schedule

  • September 1, 1999 to January 3, 2000
    Dwight David Eisenhower Presidential Library, Abilene, KS
  • January 18 - March 31, 2000
    Houston Community College System, Houston, Texas
  • April 3 - May 26, 2000
    Northeast Iowa Community College, Calmar Campus and then the Peosta Campus
  • September 3 - November 5, 2000
    Old Capitol Museum of Mississippi History, Jackson, Mississippi
Media Contacts:
Office of Communications: (202) 606-8446 | info@neh.gov