Michelle Obama Donates Inaugural Gown to Smithsonian

First lady Michelle Obama stands with the gown that she wore to the 2009 inaugural ball as she donates it to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington, Tuesday, March 9, 2010. The one-shouldered, white chiffon gown designed by Jason Wu is becoming part of the Smithsonian's First Ladies Collection. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
J. Scott Applewhite
Michelle Obama

Continuing a long tradition, First Lady Michelle Obama donated her inauguration dress on Tuesday to the Smithsonian National Museum on American History in Washington.

The white chiffon, one-shoulder gown created by designer Jason Wu will be displayed in a new gallery called "A First Lady's Debut" which will showcases 11 gowns from the past 11 first ladies starting with Mamie Eisenhower through Michelle Obama.

"I truly recognize the significance of this day. This gown -- and all of the items that we'll see in this wonderful exhibit -- help us connect with a moment in history in a very real way," Obama said as she unveiled the gown at the Smithsonian.

"The detail of each gown -- the fabric, the cut, the color -- tells us something much more about each single first lady. It's a visual reminder that we each come from such different backgrounds, from different generations, and from different walks of life," she continued.

Obama also reminisced about inaugural ceremony that took place a little over a year ago, and what this dress meant to her.

"I remember that it was freezing cold in Washington. I know we all remember that. Yet, despite the frigid temperatures, hundreds of thousands of people flooded the Mall. Nothing was going to stop them from being part of history," she said.

The new gallery , which opens tomorrow, will focus on the media coverage and public interest of the first ladies "debut" during inaugurations, and first impressions of each woman and the role she would play in the White House.

The gallery is part of a larger first lady exhibition that includes two galleries (including this one) with a total of 24 dresses and over 100 other objects. The first ladies Collection has been one of the most popular attractions at the Smithsonian for nearly 100 years, according to the Smithsonian.

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