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White House Life: Now and Then

Life in the Roosevelt Room





The Fish Room
Life in the Roosevelt Room

On December 13, 1990, Barbara Bush met with the families of the recently-released Iraqi hostages in the Roosevelt Room. She listened to them describe how happy they were to have their loved ones home after being holed up at the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait following the invasion by Iraqi forces.

President George Bush invited the hostages and their families to the White House, where they shared testimonies of the atrocities committed by Iraq against the peaceful-Kuwaiti people. Later that day, the hostages and their families joined the President and First Lady as they lit the National Christmas Tree.

The window-less Roosevelt Room occupies the original site of the president's office when the West Wing was built in 1902. Seven years later, the room became a part of two waiting rooms when the West Wing was expanded and the Oval Office was built. When Franklin Roosevelt relocated the Oval Office from the center of the building to the southeast corner in 1934, this room received a skylight.

Franklin Roosevelt called this room the Fish Room, where he displayed an aquarium and fishing mementos. John Kennedy continued the room's nautical theme by mounting a sailfish that he caught in Acapulco, Mexico.

President Richard Nixon named the room in 1969 to honor Theodore Roosevelt for building the West Wing and Franklin Roosevelt for expanding it. Today the room is used as a conference room and features a multimedia center for presentations.

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