Secretary Clinton hosts a working lunch for French President Hollande at a 22-person mahogany table in the Treaty Room at Blair House. A portrait of the nation's first President has been chosen to decorate the room.
|Headquarters||2201 C Street NW |
M/FA Room 8213
Washington, D.C. 20520
|Motto||To employ the fine arts in support of the diplomatic arts|
|Parent department||Under Secretary for Management|
|Parent agency||U.S. State Department|
The Office of Fine Arts (M/FA) is a division of the U.S. Department of State reporting to the Under Secretary of State for Management. The mission of the office is to administer appropriate settings for dialogue between U.S. officials and their international guests, to illustrate the continuity of American diplomacy through relevant objects, and to celebrate American cultural heritage through the acquisition, preservation and display of works of art with people around the world.
The Under Secretary of State for Management is a position within the United States Department of State that serves as principal adviser to the Secretary of State and Deputy Secretary of State on matters relating to the allocation and use of Department of State budget, physical property, and personnel, including planning, the day-to-day administration of the Department, and proposals for institutional reform and modernization.
The office operates the Diplomatic Reception Rooms collection in the Department of State's headquarters, the Harry S Truman Building, as well as the collections at the President's Guest House, Blair House, covering two of the agency's nine heritage asset collections. The office also is tasked with the furnishment of the offices of the Secretary of State and other senior leadership. For over 50 years the office has been assisted by the Fine Arts Committee which held its first meeting on March 22, 1961. As of 2019 [update] , the office is headed by the Director of the Diplomatic Reception Rooms, Marcee Craighill.
The Diplomatic Reception Rooms at the U.S. Department of State constitute forty-two principal rooms and offices where the Secretary of State conducts the business of modern diplomacy. Located on the seventh and eighth floors of the Harry S Truman Building in Washington, D.C., the Diplomatic Reception Rooms contain one of the nation’s foremost museum collections of American fine and decorative arts.
The Harry S Truman Building is the headquarters of the United States Department of State. It is located in the capital city Washington, D.C., and houses the office of the United States Secretary of State.
The President's Guest House, commonly known as Blair House, is a complex of four formerly separate buildings—Blair House, Lee House, Peter Parker House, and 704 Jackson Place—located in Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States. A major interior renovation of these 19th century residences between the 1950s and 1980s resulted in their reconstitution as a single facility.
The work of the office began in 1961, being first tasked with the Americana Project: to remodel and redecorate the 42 Diplomatic Reception Rooms. The Americana Project was headed by the former Assistant Chief of Protocol, Clement Conger, under Secretary of State Christian Herter during the Kennedy administration. Conger had years earlier recommended space for official government entertainment be made in the expansion to the DOS headquarters and Congress had approved this. However, Congress did not appropriate funds for furnishings and interior decoration. Since it began, the office's only use of tax money has been for the salaries and expenses of a small staff.
In the United States, the chief of protocol is an officer of the United States Department of State responsible for advising the president of the United States, the vice president, and the secretary of state on matters of national and international diplomatic protocol. The chief of protocol holds the rank of Ambassador and Assistant Secretary of State. Cam Henderson has served as Chief of Protocol since August 2019.
Clement Ellis Conger was an American museum curator and public servant. He served as director of the U.S. Department of State Office of Fine Arts, where in that role he worked as curator of both the Diplomatic Reception Rooms and Blair House. He also served as Curator of the White House, at the pleasure of Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan. Prior to working as a curator, Conger served as a Foreign Service Officer, as the Deputy Chief of Protocol of the United States and as the Assistant Secretary of the Combined Chiefs of Staff.
The secretary of state is a senior official of the federal government of the United States of America, and as head of the United States Department of State, is principally concerned with foreign policy and is considered to be the U.S. government's minister of foreign affairs.
I use [the Diplomatic Reception Rooms] constantly with visitors, to sort of do that transformation of a couple of hundred years and take them back to our founding documents because only by talking about these men and talking about what they did, in the surroundings that would be familiar to them, can I show [visitors] how we became what we became.
The United States Declaration of Independence is the pronouncement adopted by the Second Continental Congress meeting at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 4, 1776. The Declaration explained why the Thirteen Colonies at war with the Kingdom of Great Britain regarded themselves as thirteen independent sovereign states, no longer under British rule. With the Declaration, these new states took a collective first step toward forming the United States of America. The declaration was signed by representatives from New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.
The Founding Fathers of the United States, or simply the Founding Fathers, were a group of American leaders who united the Thirteen Colonies, led the war for independence from Great Britain, and built a frame of government for the new United States of America upon republican principles during the latter decades of the 18th century. Most Founding Fathers at one point considered themselves British subjects, but they came to understand themselves more as patriotic Americans who possessed a spirit distinct from that of their motherland. The group was composed of businessmen, lawyers, philosophers, politicians, plantation owners and writers from a variety of social, economic, and ethnic backgrounds. The Founding Fathers came from a variety of occupations, and many had no prior political experience.— Secretary Powell, on the importance of the rooms
Located on the top two floors of the U.S. Department of State, the 42 reception rooms are used by the President, Vice President, and Secretary of State to officially entertain heads of state, heads of government, foreign ministers, as well as other distinguished foreign and American guests. Here, the Office of Fine Arts maintains a collection of 5,000 objects estimated to be worth $125 million. Objects in the collection reflect American art and architecture from the time of the nation's founding and its formative years, 1750-1825. Approximately 100,000 visitors tour the rooms each year, with public tours being held three times a day. All of the items in the collection have been acquired through donations or purchases funded through gifts from private citizens, foundations, and corporations.
The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces.
The vice president of the United States is the second-highest officer in the executive branch of the U.S. federal government, after the president of the United States, and ranks first in the presidential line of succession. The vice president is also an officer in the legislative branch, as president of the Senate. In this capacity, the vice president is empowered to preside over Senate deliberations, but may not vote except to cast a tie-breaking vote. The vice president also presides over joint sessions of Congress.
A head of state is the public persona who officially represents the national unity and legitimacy of a sovereign state. Depending on the country's form of government and separation of powers, the head of state may be a ceremonial figurehead or concurrently the head of government. In a parliamentary system, such as India, the head of state usually has mostly ceremonial powers, with a separate head of government. However in some parliamentary systems, like South Africa, there is an executive president that is both head of state and head of government. Likewise, in some parliamentary systems the head of state is not the head of government, but still has significant powers, for example Morocco. In contrast, a semi-presidential system, such as France, has both heads of state and government as the de facto leaders of the nation. Meanwhile, in presidential systems such as the United States, the head of state is also the head of government.
The work of the office regarding the Diplomatic Reception Rooms is supported by an outside 501(c)(3) public charity, the Fund for the Endowment of the Diplomatic Reception Rooms at the U.S. Department of State.
A 501(c)(3) organization is a corporation, trust, unincorporated association, or other type of organization exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of Title 26 of the United States Code. It is one of the 29 types of 501(c) nonprofit organizations in the US.
Office of Fine Arts staff take care to curate the rooms with items that are evocative of the values held by the emerging American nation as diplomats and American leadership use the rooms to convey the nation's continued dedication to those values. Additionally the environment may positively inspire civil service and foreign service staff as Secretary Shultz put forward: "And [US Government staff] feel now 'I'm here as part of the history of what's going on and maybe if we do things right they'll hang our picture up here someday and 200 years from now somebody will point to it."
The President's Guest House, commonly known as Blair House, is a complex of four formerly separate buildings: Blair House, Lee House, Peter Parker House, and 704 Jackson Place. It is composed of 115 rooms and 30 bathrooms. The President's Guest House is primarily used to host visiting dignitaries and other guests of the president and has been called "the world's most exclusive hotel".It is larger than the White House and closed to the public. The Buildings are owned by the General Services Administration and are managed by the Chief of Protocol of the United States in cooperation with the Diplomatic Security Service, the Bureau of Administration and the Office of Fine Arts.
The financing of the preservation of historic furnishings and art found in the Guest House is supported by an outside 501(c)(3) organization, the Blair House Restoration Fund.
In addition to the management of the two heritage assets, the office is responsible for furnishing and maintaining the offices and reception rooms of the Secretary, the two Deputy Secretaries, and the Under Secretary for Political Affairs. Before Fine Arts furnished senior leadership offices, offices were noticeably sparse as Secretary Kissinger describes: "When I was Secretary, the Secretary's office hadn't been rebuilt yet. It was described by somebody as like the boardroom of a medium-seized Midwestern bank. So I frequently took visitors upstairs [to the Diplomatic Reception Rooms] and showed them a more artistic and historic side of America."
The director of the office retains the title the Director of the Diplomatic Reception Rooms. To date, there have been 3 such directors:
|1||Clement E. Conger||1961–1992|
|2||Gail F. Serfaty||1992–2007|
The Office of Fine Arts at the U.S. Department of State offers internship opportunities in the spring, summer and fall of each year. These opportunities are unpaid, experience-oriented internships in historic artifact research and curation, fundraising, and cultural heritage management. Interns must be (1) a U.S. citizen (2) able to obtain and maintain a security clearance (3) enrolled as a degree-seeking student in an accredited college or university and (4) enrolled as a full- or part-time graduate student in fine or decorative arts. Sessions are 10 weeks of 40 hours each week; students are required to serve a minimum of 24 hours each week for 8 weeks.
The United States Department of State (DOS), commonly referred to as the State Department, is a federal executive department responsible for carrying out U.S. foreign policy and international relations. Established in 1789 as the nation's first executive department, its duties include advising the U.S. President, administering the nation's diplomatic missions, negotiating treaties and agreements with foreign entities, and representing the U.S. at the United Nations.
Áras an Uachtaráin, formerly the Viceregal Lodge, is the official residence and principal workplace of the President of Ireland. It is located off Chesterfield Avenue in the Phoenix Park in Dublin. The building, which has ninety-five rooms, was designed by Nathaniel Clements and completed in 1751.
Malacañan Palace is the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the Philippines. It is located in San Miguel, Manila and is commonly associated with Mendiola Street. The term "Malacañang" is often used as a metonym for the president and his advisers. The sprawling Malacañang Palace complex includes numerous mansions and office buildings designed and built largely in Bahay na bato and neoclassical style.
Wesleyan College is a private, liberal arts women's college located in Macon, Georgia, United States. The Wesleyan College Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on April 2, 2004. Founded in 1836, Wesleyan is the first college in the world chartered to grant degrees to women.
West Liberty University (WLU) is a public university in West Liberty, West Virginia, United States, near Wheeling. West Liberty University is West Virginia's oldest institution of higher education. It offers more than 70 undergraduate majors plus a number of graduate programs, including a master's degree in education and an online MBA. WLU's athletic teams, known as the Hilltoppers, are charter members of the NCAA Division II Mountain East Conference with nearly 400 student-athletes participating in 18 intercollegiate sports, including football, basketball, wrestling, track, tennis, baseball.
The Presidential Palace is one of the three official residences of the President of the Republic of Finland. It is situated in Helsinki, on the north side of Esplanadi, overlooking Market Square.
The Romanian Embassy in Washington, D.C. is the main diplomatic mission of Romania to the United States of America. It is located at 1607 23rd Street, Northwest, Washington, D.C. 20008.
Scandinavia House – The Nordic Center in America is the American-Scandinavian Foundation's cultural center at 58 Park Avenue, in Murray Hill, Manhattan, New York, dedicated to preserving the history of the Scandinavian and Nordic countries in the United States through a wide variety of exhibits and programming. This cultural center hosts exhibitions of fine art, design as well as performing arts pieces from Nordic countries. The center also introduces the local population and guests with Scandinavian languages and customs by organizing courses.
The Red Room is one of three state parlors on the State Floor in the White House, the home of the President of the United States in Washington, D.C., in the United States. The room has served as a parlor and music room, and recent presidents have held small dinner parties in it. It has been traditionally decorated in shades of red. The room is approximately 28 by 22.5 feet. It has six doors, which open into the Cross Hall, Blue Room, South Portico, and State Dining Room.
The Green Room is one of three state parlors on the first floor of the White House, the home of the President of the United States. It is used for small receptions and teas. During a state dinner, guests are served cocktails in the three state parlors before the president, first lady, and a visiting head of state descend the Grand Staircase for dinner. The room is traditionally decorated in shades of green.
The Diplomatic Reception Room is one of three oval rooms in the residence of the White House, the official home of the President of the United States. It is located on the ground floor and is used as an entrance from the South Lawn, and a reception room for foreign ambassadors to present their credentials, a ceremony formerly conducted in the Blue Room. The room is the point of entry to the White House for a visiting head of state following the State Arrival Ceremony on the South Lawn. The room has four doors, which lead to the Map Room, the Center Hall, the China Room, and a vestibule that leads to the South Lawn.
A state dinner, state banquet or state lunch is a formal and official dinner or banquet, normally hosted by the head of state in his or her official residence for another head of state, or sometimes head of government, and other guests. They are held, usually as part of a state visit or diplomatic conference, in order to renew and celebrate diplomatic ties between the host and guest countries. The size varies, but the numbers of diners may run into the hundreds.
A print room is either a room or industrial building where printing takes place, or a room in an art gallery or museum, where a collection of old master and modern prints, usually together with drawings, watercolours and photographs, are held and viewed. The latter meaning is the subject of this article.
The Committee for the Preservation of the White House is an advisory committee charged with the preservation of the White House, the official home and principal workplace of the President of the United States. The committee is largely made up of citizens appointed by the president for their experience with historic preservation, architecture, decorative arts, and for their scholarship in these areas.
State and official visits to the United States are formal visits by the head of state or chief of government from one country to the United States, during which the president of the United States acts as official host of the visitor. State visits are considered to be the highest expression of friendly bilateral relations between the United States and a foreign state and are, in general, characterized by an emphasis on official public ceremonies.