President Barack Obama opened the doors of the White House today for a special meet and greet with Norman Rockwell Museum
Director/CEO Laurie Norton Moffatt; Museum President Anne Morgan; and Museum Trustee Ruby Bridges Hall. The meeting was held to celebrate the White House exhibition of Norman Rockwells classic 1963 painting The Problem We All Live With, which was inspired by Ms. Bridges history-changing walk integrating William Frantz Public School in New Orleans on November 14, 1960. President Obama requested the loan of the painting from the permanent collection of Norman Rockwell Museum to honor the fiftieth anniversary of Bridges childhood experience.
It was deeply moving to hear President Obama speak with Ruby Bridges about her school experience and Norman Rockwells painting, says Ms. Norton Moffatt. He acknowledged Rubys walk to school and her mothers courage as the direct heritage that made it possible for him to serve in the White House. Ms. Bridges Hall replied, we all stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us.
During the afternoon meeting, the President showed his guests an original copy of The Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln, that is hanging in the Oval Office over a bronze bust of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In the same room, the group viewed Norman Rockwells original painting of the Statue of Liberty, painted for the July 6, 1946 cover of The Saturday Evening Post, and donated to the White House Collection in 1994 by film director Steven Spielberg, who also serves on the Museums Board of Trustees.
The Problem We All Live With will be on view at the White House through October 31, 2011, hanging right outside the Oval Office, and adjacent to another series of original Rockwell works on display, So You Want to See the President. We did, says Norton Moffatt. It is an experience I will always remember.