Association Gives White House History a Home in the Cloud

The White House Historical Association, which has a relatively new digital library, is working with Amazon Web Services to significantly expand its online offerings and make them accessible to Americans far from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Don’t be fooled by its name: The White House Historical Association isn’t afraid to go high-tech to highlight the presidency’s long history.

The latest example? Its digital library. The association is using the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud platform to build out its extensive digital archive of  highly researched historical content. There’s a lot of it—seven terabytes of data, in fact, of which around 5,000 images are currently online.

According to FedScoop, the group is using an Amazon Snowball appliance to upload its digital assets onto a physical device, rather than transferring data through the internet, with the goal of making the information accessible online. There’s much to digitize, including 25,000 35mm slides produced between 1960 and 1990.

Stewart D. McLaurin, the association’s president, said the group wants to give Americans an up-close look at presidential history, even if they don’t live anywhere near the nation’s capital.

“An important part of the White House Historical Association’s mission is education—especially for those that can’t experience it in Washington,” McLaurin said in a news release. “By leveraging AWS, we will increase public access and bring White House history across the country to millions of Americans.”

The next step will be to make the library’s resources available in app form, though the app is only in its early planning stages at this point.

The association has expanded its tech footprint over the past year or so, launching a podcast in January and creating an augmented reality app that turns a dollar bill into an interactive representation of the White House. The association’s digital library  celebrated its first anniversary in March.

An engraving of the White House's south lawn, part of the association's digital library. (White House Historical Association)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!