Camelot Chic: A Conversation with James Archer Abbott

Lilly McCrea

Everyone associates Jackie Kennedy with an impeccable sense of fashion, but she also exercised her design muscles in the White House. Her renovation and restoration of the White House’s grandeur had a lasting impact on American historic homes. James Archer Abbott, author of Designing Camelot: The Kennedy White House Restoration gives readers insight into the key players in the Kennedy Renovation of the White House. Come to hear him speak at “Camelot Chic: A Conversation with James Archer Abbott” this Thursday at 11:30 at Salem Five in the Community Room.

Renovation, not Redecoration

“It would be sacrilege to merely redecorate it [the White House]…It must be restored, and that has nothing to do with decoration. That is a question of scholarship,” Jackie Kennedy

Due the Kennedy’s efforts the first White House Historical Association was created to help publicize the heritage of the president’s house. They designated the White House a museum to help preserve it, putting in place a fine arts committee to accept gifts of antique furniture. Henry Dupont, a renowned collector of Americana and Stephen Boudin, a Parisian designer of the House of Jansen, were to make major contributions to the renovation.

Come to hear Abbott’s insights about Dupont and Boudin and the groundbreaking influence on the Kennedy renovation on American design at large. The Kennedy’s renovation of the White House elevated it as a model for historic homes all over the country, and one can find impact of it right here in the North Shore.

Following the lecture, attendees will be invited to an exclusive tour of the White Silbee House, which boast Zuber et Cie Wallpaper, historic panoramic wallpaper similar to the wallpaper that continues to hang in the White House Diplomatic Room and Dining Room to date.

Event Details:
Time: 12:30
Date: Thursday, April 4, 2013
Location: The Community Room, Salem Five, 210 Essex Street, Salem, MA
Space is limited. Reserve by emailing Make your subject line “Camelot Chic.”

This event is hosted by The Bowditch Institute, French American Intercultural Relations and Exchanges (FAIRE), and The Salem Maritime Museum.

Sponsors include: Salem Five, Wilson Kelly Design
Bernard’s Jewelry, Landri & Acari, Helen F. Sides (Architect), the Kensington Stobart Gallery, Beautiful Things,  Merry Fox Realty, The Marine Arts Gallery, and Lilly McCrea Design

About James Archer Abbot

James Archer Abbott serves as Director and Curator of Johns Hopkins University’s Evergreen Museum- one of two museums owned and operated by the university. In this position, he oversees programming, collections care, exhibitions planning, and general fundraising, while also serving as an adjunct professor with the University. For JHU, he has taught a series of courses addressing 20th century Modernism within the Curating Culture Program. The first installment (Spring 2009) addressed the career of Czech-American industrial designer Erno Fabry (1906-1984), and this culminated in a touring, student co-curated exhibition and co-authored publication. For 2010, the subject is Baltimore-born internationally recognized interior designer Billy Baldwin (1903-1983). Mr. Abbott also co-teaches a fall photography course that emphasizes aspects of EM&L’s collections.


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