Honored, humbled and a bit embarrassed, first lady consigns her gown to history

March 9, 2010


Michelle Obama acknowledged having mixed feelings Tuesday as she consigned her 2009 Inaugural Ball gown to posterity and a glass case at the Smithsonian.

“So, here we are. It’s the dress,” she laughed at a ceremony in the National Museum of American History to mark the addition of her one-shouldered, floor-length, white silk chiffon gown to a permanent exhibit on first ladies.

She was joined by the gown’s 26-year-old Taiwan-born designer, Jason Wu.

“To be honest, I am very honored and very humbled, but I have to say that I’m also a little embarrassed by all the fuss,” she added. “Like many of you, I’m not used to people wanting to put things I’ve worn on display.”

Humble comments from the first black woman to become America’s first lady.

The collection includes inaugural gowns from the nation’s long march of January galas, including Jackie Kennedy’s and Mary Todd Lincoln’s.

Mrs. Obama had to wonder how the other first ladies felt in their dresses.

“Did her feet hurt in those shoes?  How many times did her husband step on that train?” she said.

And what of her own experience?

“When I look at my gown — which I, in fact, have not seen since the day that I took it off — memories of that moment truly come rushing back. 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.”

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Photo Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed (Michelle Obama and Jason Wu)

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