DelewareToday Major Is Delaware’s First Shelter Dog in the White House Jan 4, 2021
In a pawsitive step for rescue pets everywhere, German shepherd Major Biden, 3, makes history as the first shelter dog to live in the White House, confirms Andrew Hager, historian-in-residence at the Presidential Pet Museum.
Major embarks on his DOTUS journey alongside his brother Champ, 12, a pawlitical veteran with eight years of experience sniffing out Beltway hot spots as Second Dog.
WAMU American University Radio, an NPR Station. All The Presidents’ Pets Dec 21, 2020
If there’s any validity to this pet-less President one term theory we’ve conjured up, President-Elect Joe Biden is taking no chances. Mr. Biden will be bringing his two German Shepherds, Champ and Major, to the White House (and possibly a cat). While Joe Biden is bringing back the tradition of having pets in the White House, he may be starting a new tradition by bringing the first rescue dog to the Executive Mansion.
So let’s talk about presidential pets with Andrew Hager, the Historian-In-Residence at The Presidential Pet Museum and Lisa LaFontaine, the President and CEO at the D.C. Humane Rescue Alliance.
CBS Sunday Morning, Presidential pets: Calvin Coolidge’s White House raccoon Nov 27, 2020
Known as “Silent Cal,” President Calvin Coolidge was a man of few words, but many pets. The Coolidges were known for being animal lovers, which is why people sent them animals as presents, said Andrew Hager, historian-in-residence at the Maryland-based Presidential Pet Museum.
“Harvey Firestone, the tire magnate, gave him a pygmy hippo,” Hager said.
Others gave lion cubs, a black bear, even a wallaby; yes, the Coolidge White House was really hopping!
CBS News, Biden’s German shepherd Major will be first shelter dog in the White House Nov 9, 2020
When President-elect Joe Biden moves into the White House in January, he will bring his two German shepherds, Champ and Major — the latter becoming the first shelter pet to reside there.
Andrew Hager, director at the Presidential Pet Museum, told CBS News on Monday that Major would be the first dog in the White House that “directly came from an animal rescue.” Before Mr. Biden, President Lyndon B. Johnson was the most recent commander in chief to have a rescue animal in the White House; but his dog, Yuki was a lost pet that was given as a gift from Johnson’s daughter to him.
Time Magazine, Rescue Animals Are TIME’s 2020 Pet of the Year Dec 9, 2020
That Major and the Bidens’ other dog, Champ, are headed to the White House will also mark the return of the time-honored tradition of presidential pets. “Americans are majority pet owners,” says Andrew Hager, Historian-in-Residence of the Presidential Pet Museum. “We kind of expect that from our presidents and we’ve gotten that for the most part because the presidents come from the American people and that’s part of our culture.”
Washington Post, Dogs are returning to the White House: Biden’s German shepherds, including the first shelter pup Nov 9, 2020
A number of news outlets have reported that Major will be the first rescue dog to live in the White House, but the more appropriate title appears to be first shelter dog. (President Lyndon B. Johnson’s terrier mix, Yuki, was a rescue — found by daughter Luci at a Texas gas station before being gifted to the president.)
Still, Andrew Hager, the historian-in-residence at the Presidential Pet Museum in Williamsburg, Va., said that Biden’s choice to adopt a shelter dog underscores how the animals at the White House have reflected historical trends in American pet ownership.
“You can kind of follow the cultural view of dogs starting with Washington,” he said in an interview with The Post.
Boston Globe, President-elect Joe Biden is bringing dogs back to the White House — including a shelter pup named Major Nov 9, 2020
Biden and soon-to-be First Lady, Jill, have two German Shepherds, named Champ and Major. The latter is a shelter dog they adopted two years ago, marking the first time in presidential history that such a pet, in modern terms, will take the national spotlight.
“We’re excited because we love animal ownership and seeing the presidents with their pets,” said Andrew Hager, historian-in-residence at the Presidential Pet Museum, which was started by one of President Reagan’s dog groomers. “Seeing a president with a dog is kind of a humanizing thing.”
New York Times, Biden to Restore a White House Tradition of Presidential Pets Nov 8, 2020
President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. is expected to restore a time-honored tradition of having a presidential pet at the White House.
Starting in January, the Biden family’s two German shepherds, Champ and Major, as well as a cat, will roam the executive residence.
President Trump was the first president in more than a century not to have a pet of any kind, Andrew Hager, the historian-in-residence at the Presidential Pet Museum, said.
New York Times, A Cat Is Said to Be Joining the Bidens in the White House Nov 9, 2020
The Bidens will be restoring a tradition of presidential pets when they move into the White House in January, as President Trump opted not to have a pet during his term. But the Bidens’ cat won’t be the first in the White House.
Abraham Lincoln’s secretary of state, William H. Seward, gave him two cats, Tabby and Dixie, said Andrew Hager, historian-in-residence at the Presidential Pet Museum. Lincoln was a major “cat fan,” Mr. Hager said, and the president often fed Tabby from the dinner table despite his wife’s criticism.
CNN, Dog days return to the White House Nov 9, 2020
The early history of White House pets was not well-documented, but included farm animals, hunting dogs and horses in stables on White House grounds, and many animals that were given as gifts.
President James Buchanan was reportedly given a herd of elephants, and President Martin Van Buren received a pair of tiger cubs. Congress made Van Buren give the cubs to a local zoo, according to Andrew Hager, historian in residence at the Presidential Pet Museum, a collection of presidential pet memorabilia located outside Baltimore.
NPR, #DOTUS: Biden Dogs Get Twitter Account As Some Celebrate Pets’ Return To White House Nov 9, 2020
ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
All right. A couple of things that a Biden White House is going to need – tennis balls and squeaky toys. Part of the Biden campaign’s platform was, quote, “let’s put dogs back in the White House.” And while we do not take political positions on the show, I think it’s fair to say that as two dog owners, Ailsa, you and I can endorse that particular message.
AILSA CHANG, HOST:
Absolutely. President-elect Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden have two German shepherds, Champ and Major Biden. There are already a couple of very popular Twitter accounts that claim to be in their names.
ANDREW HAGER: How great that animals are also becoming influencers.
CHANG: That is Andrew Hager reacting to the news of the Biden dogs on Twitter. He is the historian-in-residence at the Presidential Pet Museum. And he does regret that there has been a four-year gap in Executive Mansion critters.
NewTV, Newton MA local TV Station, MUSEUM OPEN HOUSE – PRESIDENTIAL PET MUSEUM Dec 11, 2020
Jay talks with Bill Helman and Andrew Hager both of whom are associated with the Presidential Pet Museum. Bill is the director of the museum and Andrew serves as the historian-in-residence. During the program, we’ll be learning why and how this unique and engaging museum came about, we’ll go on a behind-the-scenes tour, and, in the process, come to better understand and appreciate the wide-range of Presidential Pets over the years and some of the fascinating and amusing stories related to them and their Presidential owners.
Yahoo Noticias (Yahoo News – Spanish), Change of command: Biden to restore long-standing presidential tradition of keeping a mascot in the White House Nov 9, 2020
President-elect Joe Biden is expected to restore a long-standing tradition of having a presidential mascot in the White House.
Starting in January, the two German Shepherds of the Biden family, Champ and Major, will roam the executive residence.
President Donald Trump was the first president in more than a century to not have a pet of any kind, said Andrew Hager, historian-in-residence at the Presidential Pet Museum.
Frankfurter Rundschau, German Newspaper US election: “Major” and “Champ” – Joe Biden revives an old tradition with two dogs Sep 11, 2020
USA – When Donald Trump moved into the White House in 2017, he brought a lot of family into the White House with First Lady Melania Trump , advisor and daughter Ivanka Trump , her husband Jared Kushner and his youngest son Barron Trump – but a pet was not one of them. According to Andrew Hager, historian at the Presidential Pet Museum, Trump is the first President in more than a hundred years to break the tradition of bringing “first pets” into the White House.
Joe Biden will revive the tradition in the coming year. With ” Major ” and ” Champ ” he brings two dogs to the residence in the heart of the US capital.
KPPC Radio, Michigan, How Past ‘Pawliticians’ Reflect The Evolution Of America’s Feelings Toward Furry Companions Nov 12, 2020
Dog lovers rejoice: with a new presidential administration comes a return of dogs to the White House. President-elect Joe Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden are expected to bring their two German shepherds, Champ and Major, to the White House with them.
Major will make history as the first shelter dog to do so. According to historians, that says a lot about the evolution of how America feels toward pets in general. According to the New York Times, the Bidens adopted Major through the Delaware Humane Association a couple years ago. Dog lovers across the internet rejoiced at the news of the soon to be First Dogs, but Biden is far from the first president to bring pets to Pennsylvania Avenue. Today on AirTalk, Larry talks with a presidential pet historian about past “pawliticians” and why they can reflect the evolving feelings Americans have toward their own pets.
Radio New Zealand, Presidential pets: Andrew Hager Nov 7, 2020
Andrew Hager, historian-in-residence of the Presidential Pet Museum which records the menagerie of domestic animals that have called The White House home, told Kim Hill Trump’s lack of interest in pets made perfect sense.
“If you don’t like animals, don’t get an animal, I think it’s good to have that kind of self-awareness – that’s not his brand – he sells himself as entirely business focussed and focussed on deals.
“You try and imagine Donald Trump in his shirt sleeves and khakis rolling on the floor with a dog, it just doesn’t work in your mind, you just can’t see Donald Trump with a pet.”
Washington Post, “Move Over, Sunny and Bo. A New Breed of Presidential Dog May Be Coming in January,” Oct. 28, 2016
Donald Trump and his family do not seem to have any pets — there’s no cat fur on those gilded chairs of his Manhattan penthouse, and no dog walker leading a Trump pooch out for walks in nearby Central Park.
Dave Baker, co-owner of the Presidential Pet Museum, figures Trump would acquire one because every president since Teddy Roosevelt has, although the GOP candidate has shown little interest in otherwise conforming to the norms of presidential aspirants….
But he is all about branding, so the question of breed would surely be important. “Would he go with something regal, like a greyhound?” Baker wondered. “Something protective, like a German shepherd, or something more down-to-earth, like a Labrador retriever?”
The New York Times, “A President’s Best Friends Often Have Four Legs,” Sept. 30, 2016
The Presidential Pet Museum — such as it is — exists as a website full of information and pictures, plus a motley collection of memorabilia currently in storage.
The items were lovingly collected and curated by Claire D. McLean, a retired dog groomer who took care of President Ronald Reagan’s bouvier des Flandres, Lucky.…
Ms. McLean, who is no longer able to operate the museum, and [co-owner] Dave Baker, who has other things to attend to, are trying to sell the website and artifacts in an online auction, so far without luck.
National Geographic, “Wacky Presidential Pet Relics for Sale (Like a Socks the Cat Doll),” July 26, 2016
One of the oldest items is the cowbell supposedly worn by President William Taft’s pet Pauline Wayne—the last cow to graze on the White House lawn.
“It hasn’t been authenticated,” cautions Baker….
Yet to modern museum-goers, the authenticity of the cowbell might not be as interesting as learning that cows (and sheep and other animals) once roamed the White House lawn. In fact, it isn’t always the items themselves but the stories the museum holds that make it an interesting package.
People, “Entire Presidential Pet Museum Started by White House Dog Groomer Now Up for Auction,” July 20, 2016
Mementos and art pieces honoring Socks, Checkers, Fala, Bo and more presidential pets are looking for a new owner.
The Presidential Pet Museum, started by former White House groomer Claire McLean, first began in 1985. That was the year McLean’s mother painted a portrait of Ronald Regan’s dog Lucky, which McLean, now [almost] 83, completed by adding actual pieces of fur from the black dog’s coat to the canvas.
This single painting inspired McLean to capture the nation’s love for all of the First Pets in one place….
McLean has decided to auction off her creation…. The auction on Flippa.com, which includes all of the museum’s belongings and its website, currently sits at $4,500 — a steal for all the history included in the sale.
ABC News, “Presidential Pet Museum Started by White House Dog Groomer Up for Auction,” July 19, 2016
For 15 years, Claire McLean cultivated and shared a sentimental part of American history: the pets of presidents….
But now it’s up for grabs: from the website to the bronze statue of Barney the terrier, the Presidential Pet Museum is looking for a new owner….
The photographs, paintings and artifacts remain with Claire McLean, now [almost] 83 years old, awaiting their next debut. Just recently, that included a private showing for McLean’s fellow residents in her retirement home.
“We’re really hoping to find someone who has a passion like she does and who can carry on her legacy,” said Dave Baker [a partner in the project]. “We don’t look at it as the end of the Presidential Pet Museum, by any means. This is like a new chapter for it.”
[UPDATE: Our auction ended unsold after not meeting our reserve price. We are considering our next options, including a private sale. -PPM]
Huffington Post, “The Pet Show,” April 13, 2015
Nancy Redd: So, you find out that you did a bad haircut on President Reagan’s dog, Lucky. How did you find out — did you get a letter? Did the CIA, the Secret Service come to your house?
Claire McLean: No [laughing], but my mother wanted to send the portrait that she made of Lucky using his hair to Nancy Reagan, and I wouldn’t let her. I said, “No, I’m going to start a collection,” and from there it grew and grew, until finally I opened the doors and I had the Presidential Pet Museum. It was exciting.
The New York Times, “Scott Walker and Dogs … He’s No Ronald Reagan,” April 1, 2015
“We made this fabulous portrait of Lucky with her own hair and that’s the foundation for the pet museum,” McLean said.
Ms. McLean also made portraits of President George W. Bush’s dogs Barney and Miss Beazley — also from their own hair. (President Obama has so far failed to answer her letters requesting parts of Bo’s and Sunny’s coats.) For years, those portraits and other presidential pet artifacts were displayed at the Presidential Pet Museum, a physical space…. But the recession took its toll on the museum. All the treasures of presidential pets past are now in storage … and visitable only virtually, through the museum’s website.
“We’re broke,” Ms. McLean said.
Vetstreet, “Quirky Museums Liven Up the Animal Kingdom,” April 11, 2012
“They have museums for just about everything, including presidents,” McLean says. “So why shouldn’t their pets have a museum also?”
Living on Earth, “America’s First Pets,” Feb. 17, 2012
President and Nancy Reagan appointed Claire McLean first groomer.
Claire McLean: And I couldn’t tell anyone I was grooming the President’s dog, it was always hush hush.
Ike Sriskandarajah: Getting the secret assignment was huge.
McLean: Oh, it was life changing for me.
Sriskandarajah: But her first cut on the first pup was a snafu.
McLean: Lo and behold, I cut a lot of the hair off and didn’t find out ’til later that actually Mrs. Reagan thought I cut too much off.
Sriskandarajah: McLean walked out of the White House with her tail between her legs and too much puppy coat in her arms.
McLean: But little did she know that that hair that I picked up and put in a brown paper bag and took home with me would become the foundation piece for the Presidential Pet Museum.
Sriskandarajah: For the past decade, McLean, now retired, has been mining this neglected corner of American presidential history. Her Presidential Pet Museum is mostly in storage, boxes full of photos, clippings and memorabilia. But McLean keeps a few artifacts on hand.
McLean: Now we do have the authentic cow bell that hung around Pauline Wayne’s neck. She was a Holstein cow that Howard Taft was very fond of. They called the cow his favorite pet. Would you like me to ring it for you?
Sriskandarajah: Yeah, that’d be great.
McLean: Alright, hang on a minute.
Sriskandarajah: McClean’s pet project offers a new way of understanding the White House, through the eyes of animals that lived there.
Take Pauline Wayne. She provided milk to the Taft family from 1910 to 1913 and was the last cow to graze at the White House. Which illustrates two historical points: one, America’s more rural, agrarian past, and two, President Taft’s appetite for dairy.
Los Angeles Times, “Presidential Pets, Past and Future,” Nov. 4, 2008
The Presidential Pet Museum (no, we’re not making this up) highlights past and current White House pets….
The Baltimore Sun, “Woman’s Presidential Pastime,” Jan. 27, 2008
What began as a job grooming the “first dog” launched the museum. McLean first groomed Lucky in 1985, after she was contacted by the White House horticulturist, who knew that she bred [Bouvier des Flandres] dogs.
“[The horticulturist and a Secret Service agent] drove out to my place in Deale,” McLean said. “They wanted to keep it pretty secret because Mr. Reagan, the president, didn’t like people making publicity out of such events, because then the dog could be in jeopardy of being kidnapped or something like that.”
She soon began grooming the dog regularly.
“It was exciting and nervewracking,” McLean said. “That kind of an invitation is exciting. It kind of changed my life forever. I took the hair of the dog and gave it to my mother and she turned it into a portrait. And that became the cornerstone of the museum.”
She never met the first couple but did hear some feedback after one of Lucky’s hair-cutting sessions in advance of an official White House photo.
“I heard that [first lady] Nancy [Reagan] thought that I cut too much hair off,” McLean said.
After the traffic death of Clinton’s dog Buddy in 2002, McLean appeared on NBC Nightly News and Good Morning America and talked about the collection. Soon, tour buses lined up at her 6-acre property, where she’d opened the museum in a barn.
AARP TV, “Presidential Pets,” 2008
Profile, “History on Four Legs,” 2007
Most of the Presidential Pet Museum’s collection is made up of photographs and illustrations, and antique souvenir items relating to the presidents and their pets. Ms. McLean herself is probably the most valuable and interesting “item” in the collection, as she is a walking encyclopedia of presidential pet knowledge and enthusiastically shares her knowledge with anyone who asks….
They eventually hope to raise enough funds to move all the way to Washington, DC, and build a national museum for the entire country to enjoy.
Roadside America, “Barney Bush in Bronze at Prez Pet Museum,” April 1, 2007
No one can say that Claire McLean isn’t trying. The 73-year-old grandmother has opened her Presidential Pet Museum for the third time in eight years….
“We are a very small, humble museum,” Claire told us, “but if we can go into the hands of a big corporation, like Del Monte” — which has a large pet food division — “they’ll be able to invest millions of dollars into it.”
We hope that Claire succeeds, because the only options for presidential pet tourists at the moment is the grave of Checkers, Richard Nixon’s dog, and whatever small (perhaps temporary) tribute is deemed appropriate at each pet-friendly Presidential Library.
Claire’s collection is sadly devoid of exhibits from the exotic animals, although she does have a portrait of Miss Beazley Bush made from the dog’s hair; a portrait of Lucky Reagan made from that dog’s hair (and crafted by Claire’s mom), and a cowbell from Pauline Wayne Taft, the last cow to graze the White House Lawn.
“Whatever belongs to the pet,” Claire notes apologetically, “usually ends up in the MASTER’s museum.”
On April 3, the mayor of Annapolis will visit the Pet Museum to unveil a life-size bronze of Barney Bush, a Scottish terrier. It’s only the third statue of a presidential pet, according to Claire, joining a bronze Fala (another Scottie) at the FDR memorial in Washington, DC, and a copper statue of Laddie-Boy, Warren Harding’s airedale, in the Smithsonian.
Chicago Tribune, “Museum a Repository of White House Pet Minutiae,” Feb. 21, 2007
At first glance, Claire McLean’s Presidential Pet Museum appears to be just another antique store — full of Richard Nixon bobbleheads and Scottish terrier knickknacks.
But if you look pass the kitsch, listen to McLean’s White House pet trivia and add a little imagination, it can be an experience like no other.
“Pauline Wayne was the last cow to graze on the lawn of the White House,” McLean said in discussing a cowbell that was donated to the pet museum. “She belonged to [William] Howard Taft, one of the fattest presidents. He drank a lot of milk from Pauline.”
McLean said that she believes the bell once adorned Pauline because the man who donated it wrote that it once belonged in the White House.
“Sorry, there’s no way of authenticating it, but it could be the cow bell,” McLean said pointing to a photograph of the cow on the White House lawn with a bell around its neck….
McLean is enamored by the presidency, and her infatuation is apparent in her collection and sometimes even her jewelry — she wears American flag earrings when she goes out….
McLean loves the attention the museum gets just for being different. With no background in museum management or retail, she is content to live her dream of running a pet museum that pays homage to the nation’s highest office.
Anne Arundel, “Presidential History on 4 Legs,” Jan. 21, 2007
McLean, 73, is a blue-eyed compendium of data on presidential pet ownership — or lack of it — from George Washington’s foxhounds to George W. Bush’s cat India….
Dateline NBC, “Pet Nation,” June 21, 2005
[President Bush’s] fondness for his pooch echoes that of Franklin Roosevelt, who was so attached to his Scottish Terrier, Fala, he’s even memorialized with him. Claire McLean, who runs the Presidential Pet Museum, says that kind of genuine animal love humanizes a commander-in-chief.
Mclean: “They have such power and such prestige. The fact that they love animals and have animals make the American people feel even more connected to them.”
Washington Post, “A Wag of the Tail to the Presidential Pets,” Jan. 16, 2005
Among the exhibits at the Presidential Pet Museum are objects that stray a bit far from the theme: portraits of presidents without pets, paintings of pets without presidents and a few items with no obvious relation to either presidents or pets, such as the statue of Mr. Peanut.
But it’s hard to understate the public fascination with presidents and their pets, a topic enshrined by Claire McLean at her tiny museum….
The museum is housed inside an old pole barn … a 15-by-60-foot space without restroom facilities. Admission is free. Nonetheless, some of McLean’s visitors take one look at her collection and storm out, upset that they have driven so far for so little. Others stay for hours, leafing through McLean’s giant scrapbook of photographs and news clippings of presidents and their pets.
The Baltimore Sun, “Electing to Honor ‘First Pets,’” Oct. 31, 2004
Claire McLean, who has literally written the book on the dog breed Bouvier des Flandres, was once the official groomer of Lucky, President Reagan’s Bouvier.
Now retired, she collects trinkets, photographs, books, tchotchkes, all related to the men who have been president and the pets who have been by their side — a mish-mash she calls, rather grandly, the Presidential Pet Museum. It’s a quirky little place….
A few years ago, she put up a Web site, and it gets thousands of hits. Interest goes up around election time. She gets dozens of e-mails a week asking all sorts of questions….
McLean opened the museum in 1999 and gets 50 to 100 visitors a year, by appointment only. She can’t accommodate more. There is very little parking. There are no bathrooms. It isn’t wheelchair-accessible. It isn’t even zoned for this sort of thing. None of that bothers McLean, who at 71 started this as a retirement hobby but has visions of something more.
“While we’re a ragtag, small museum and very humble, it’s not what we are, it’s what we can become,” she said.
She has a small foundation that is working to create a national pet museum somewhere in Washington, perhaps in Southeast where the new baseball stadium will be built. She has dreams of a tribute to what she calls “the most glorious relationships on Earth” — the relationships between people and their pets — and wants to promote responsible pet ownership, too.
The Web site is more organized than the museum, which is crammed into two small rooms, making logical display a challenge. There are pictures of presidents, pictures of pets and often pictures of presidents with their pets, in no particular order.
Stuffed toys in the likeness of Barney, the Scottish terrier who now resides in the White House, and Spot, the late springer spaniel who also belonged to George W. Bush, are scattered around. Pictures of dogs — not necessarily presidential dogs — line some walls. A Discovery Channel documentary entitled, First Dogs, plays on the VCR.
When McLean guides tours, though, the stories flow….
There is also no picture of McLean with the Reagans’ Lucky. An offer to snap a photo of the groomer and her charge was made, but McLean demurred. She’s sorry now, but still holds onto the fact that she has that fuzzy black hair.
“It’s like having the belt of George Washington or a button off one of the Beatles or a lock of Elvis Presley’s hair,” she said. “I doubt there’s anything like it.”
Washington Times, “Famous White House Pets,” Feb. 21, 2004
Republican or Democrat. Incumbent or challenger. Controversial or comfortable. Dogs or cats. There is one thing most U.S. presidents have in common: a pet or two warming up the White House.
Those pets — from George Washington’s stallions and hound dogs through George W. Bush’s dogs Spot and Barney — are given their proper tribute at the Presidential Pet Museum.
The museum, open by appointment and not connected to the U.S. government, is a labor of love for Claire McLean.
Animal Planet, “Top 10 Pet Attractions“
How does Barney Bush look in bronze? Who was the last cow to graze on the White House lawn? These are just some of the first pets featured at the Presidential Pet Museum…. This homage to animal history includes numerous photographs of first families and their pets as well as little known facts about the animals that have called the White House home.
Chicago Tribune, “Odd, Exclusive Museum Honors Presidential Pets,” Sept. 9, 2003
The Presidential Pet Museum … is one of Washington’s most obscure and exclusive museums.
As McLean explained recently: “It’s a hodgepodge, ragtag, humble little museum that I’ve been pouring my life into.”
About 300 by-appointment-only visitors a year brave her dogs and tour it.
Wall Street Journal, “Presidential Places,” Feb. 11, 2003
This Web site is nothing if not a surefire way to get kids interested in the presidency.
Bay Weekly, “The Ball Starts Here: Lothian’s Presidential Pet Museum,” July 18-24, 2002
The Museum [re-]opened last week with a bang: dog show, barbecue, petting zoo and all. Visitors wandered inside to find two rooms filled with presidential photos and paraphernalia, from Clinton clips to Ford photos to Macaroni, the Kennedy pony….
In her museum, McLean wants to interest kids in the presidents and their stories through their pets.
“When you ask children if they want to learn about the presidents, they aren’t very interested. When you ask them if they want to learn about their pets, it’s a different story,” she says.
The Capital-Gazette, “A Museum Dedicated to Presidential Pets,” July 10, 2002
The 4-year-old museum … consists of a ragtag menagerie of presidential and White House pet memorabilia collected over the years.
From online sales, flea markets and trips to presidential museums across the country, she has gleaned all sorts of presidential knickknacks, newspaper and magazine clippings of presidents and their furry friends, placards and campaign memorabilia, including thank-you notes from presidents to her mother and herself….
“Here I am in my 60s, the grandmother of eight, CEO of a nonprofit foundation [the Presidential Pet Museum Association],” she said. “Five years ago I did not know what the Internet was.”
The notion really stuck when former President Clinton’s dog, Buddy, was killed by a car in January.
“All the TV news people found me through the site and came down here to interview me. They were down here all day.
Members of the media: Feel free to contact us now for help with your story about our museum.