Where will Michelle Obama's red inaugural gown go?

AP Photo: File image

It's not going to the Smithsonian, which has the first lady's first inaugural gown. The National Archives said that the White House will be sending the second inaugural gown to them.

So where exactly will Michelle Obama's custom-made ruby red Jason Wu gown end up? The Smithsonian, which displays the first lady's first inaugural gown, told MSN News that the museum doesn't collect second inaugural gowns.

The Smithsonian said that Michelle Obama's second inaugural gown would most likely be going to the presidential libraries, which are overseen by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). NARA spokesperson Miriam Kleiman confirmed Thursday that the White House will be sending the second inaugural gown and accessories to NARA. "We do not have any information as to whether other inaugural-related artifacts will be sent to NARA as well," Kleiman said.

The first lady accessorized Monday night's gown with a handmade diamond ring by Kimberly McDonald and Jimmy Choo shoes.

And what about her navy Thom Browne coat and dress, which she wore for the inaugural ceremony and parade? They might end up at a future Obama presidential library as well, The Associated Press reported

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Michelle Obama's first inaugural gown — a white off-shoulder chiffon piece embellished with Swarovski crystals also by Jason Wu — is displayed in "A First Lady's Debut" gallery, part of the First Ladies at the Smithsonian exhibition. Wu didn't know that Obama had selected his design for the 2009 presidential inauguration until she stepped out wearing it.

The first lady presented the white gown to the Smithsonian in March 2010 during a ceremony at the National Museum of American History.

The Smithsonian’s original first ladies exhibition in 1914 was the museum's first display that prominently featured women. The two galleries that make up "The First Ladies at the Smithsonian" showcase 24 dresses and more than 100 other objects, including portraits, White House china, personal possessions and related artifacts from the Smithsonian’s collection of first ladies' materials. Dresses displayed in the exhibition's first gallery include Martha Washington’s silk taffeta gown, Grace Coolidge's flapper-style evening dress and Helen Taft's 1909 inaugural ball gown — the first to be presented to the Smithsonian by a first lady.

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Other pieces of Obama memorabilia — such as flags, buttons and magnets — sourced directly from the crowd, may find their way into museum displays as well, thanks to an Inauguration Day effort by the Smithsonian.

Curators from the Smithsonian's new National Museum of African American History and Culture were scouting for items from President Barack Obama's second inauguration Monday to see if any of them had the potential to make history.

The museum is set to open during Obama's second term and will feature a section about the nation's first black president. Museum curators have been working since 2008 to collect objects, documents and images symbolizing Obama's historic presidency.

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Curator William Pretzer was in the crowd looking for inaugural memorabilia with a personal touch, specifically handmade items.

"There's so much commercially produced stuff that people don't go to the trouble anymore," he said. "It's the personal expression, as opposed to the commercial" that the museum most wants to display.

Pretzer asked 55-year-old Ollie Parham, who stood watching the inauguration in her bright yellow Alabama NAACP sweatshirt, whether she would be willing to donate any inauguration memorabilia to the museum's collection.

Parham, who had a long trip back to Hunstville, Ala., ahead of her, said she would think about it.

The curator also came across Larry Holmes, 56, waving an inauguration flag with an inauguration seal imprinted on the stripes and handed him a donation card.

He later spotted a man charging visitors to take pictures with Obama cutouts and asked whether he might be willing to donate them.

The museum has collected more than 300 Obama-related items so far, including furniture from a 2008 campaign office in northern Virginia and a cloth banner from Tanzania with Obama's portrait and message reading "Congratulations Barack Obama."

Curators may also try to acquire items from the inauguration stage, including printed speeches and remarks.

The museum plans to open in 2015 near the Washington Monument and will devote a floor to chronicling African-American history — starting from 16th-century slavery through the Civil War, Reconstruction, the civil rights era and beyond. The timeline will end with Obama and the 2008 election as a symbolic moment.

 

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