First on CNN: White House curator to retire
WASHINGTON — White House curator William G. Allman has decided to retire, according to two people familiar with his decision.
After a career that spanned more than 40 years, Allman’s departure will leave another key position open on the residence staff on the heels of Chief Usher Angella Reid’s departure Friday. Residence staff positions are non-political. The office of the curator was created under first lady Jacqueline Kennedy.
The curator works closely with the White House interior decorator and the Committee for the Preservation of the White House.
“It is a museum, but it’s also the White House, and so it’s a working house,” Allman told The New York Times in 2011. “There are times when you run screaming, telling somebody, ‘You can’t put those hot television lights up against the portrait of Washington!’ You worry about someone spilling a drink on something. Sometimes somebody breaks a piece of furniture. But it’s the nature of it. It’s a place where people actually live.”
Allman worked alongside a team of curators who will continue that work and served as the chief curator since 2002. He was one of the first members of residence staff to meet Melania Trump; he gave her a tour when she came to visit with Michelle Obama days after the election, Obama White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters.
“He had a full career and contributed a great deal,” said one of the sources with knowledge of the situation.
“I hope that they (the Trumps) will give it a lot of thought and consider the history of the house,” the source said, adding that there are several curators who worked for Allman who will be able to fill the position if necessary.
Allman could not be reached for comment, and the White House did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.
In February, Melania Trump named New York-based designer Tham Kannalikham to decorate her family’s private living quarters at the White House.
Trump, who is living in New York through the conclusion of the school year with son Barron, 11, is expected to make her move to Washington over the summer, and Kannalikham has been working to make the White House a home for the first family. That process includes working within strict décor guidelines and choosing historical pieces from a warehouse in Maryland to furnish the home.
“Mrs. Trump has a deep appreciation for the historical aspects of the White House, and with Tham’s traditional design and expertise, they are focusing on a seamless integration of elegance and comfort into where the President, the first lady, and Barron will be spending their family time and calling their home,” Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, acting senior adviser to the first lady, told WWD when Kannalikham was hired.