The White House Visitors Center (newly expanded) is found d at 1450 Pennsylvania Avenue in downtown Washington, D.C., it is located two blocks east of the White House, within the northern end of he Department of Commerce Building between 14thand 15th Streets. It is open from 7:30 AM to 4 PM seven days a week closing only for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Years Day.
The cornerstone for this building was put in place by President Herbert Hoover on July 10, 1929. When the construction was finished three years later it was the largest office building on Earth at the time.
It is run by the National Parks Service which is responsible for all of the Historic Landmark Parks and monuments in the downtown Washington area such as the National Mall and the Presidents Park (which includes Lafayette Park, the Ellipse and the White House grounds).
The facility first opened in 1995 in order to give interpretative information about the White House to visitors and to provide tickets for White House Tours.
While the Visitors Center no longer provides tickets for tours, it does contain exhibits that give insight into some of the behind the scenes events that have occurred at the seat of U.S. presidential power over the years. The six permanent exhibits cover aspects related to the Executive Mansion and the history of its inhabitants, the First Families In the White House, Symbols and Images, White House Architecture, White House Interiors, the Working White House, and Ceremonies and Celebration.
A thirty minute video on the White House is also shown at the Visitors Center. The video is closed captioned for people with hearing impediments.
There is a small store managed by the White House Historical Association.
A visit to the White House Visitors Center (newly expanded) is recommended by the White House to people that have arranged to tour the Executive residence as it gives background information that will help inform a self-guided White House Tour. Unlike a stop at the Visitors Center that requires no reservation, a Tour of the White House requires advance notice through a letter to one's Congressional Representative at least 5 days in prior to the planned visit.
Wheelchairs are made available upon request for a maximum of a 2 hour periodfree-of-charge although roughly one hour is sufficient time to see all of the exhibits.
White House Visitors Center (newly expanded) has a first aid station as well as restrooms and a drinking fountain. Free National Park Service brochure is also available that explains the exhibits at the Visitors Center.
As there is no immediate parking it is highly recommended that visitors to this area take public transportation or a taxi. The closest Metrorail stations are Federal Triangle (Blue and Orange lines) and Metro Center (Red, Blue and Orange lines).