Things have certainly changed since Jacqueline Kennedy gave the public the first glimpse of the White House in 1962. Prior to the broadcast of "A Tour of the White House With Mrs. John F. Kennedy," the majority of Americans had never seen the inside of the White House. Today, however, we can explore it in great detail, almost as if we were there.
Several websites provide both photos and information about the history and significance of each part of the building. One of the perks of an online tour is special access to some of the spaces that are not included in real-life tours of this remarkable building.
While President Barack Obama was in office, the White House produced a 360-degree video tour of the building. While it is no longer available on the White House website, you can still view "Inside the White House" on Facebook.
As the video runs, you can interact with it and pan around the rooms and lawns of the White House. It includes narration from President Obama, who recounts historical events in each room and gives an insider's perspective of what it's like to work in the building. The intent of the video was to give the American public a view of what the former President called "the People's House."
Virtual Reality Tour
Google Arts & Culture offers a virtual reality tour of the White House. It is available on the website as well as the Google Arts & Culture app for both iOS and Android devices. No matter how you view it, this one offers hours of interesting things to explore.
The main feature of this tour is the interactive museum views of the White House, its grounds, and the Eisenhower Executive Building, which houses many staff offices next door. The tour uses an identical format to Google Street View, but instead of roaming city streets, you're free to roam rooms in the White House.
The high-quality images allow you to zoom in as you explore the building. You can look at paintings on the wall, wander the halls, and pan all around you to take in the elaborate furnishings, high ceilings, and stately decor.
Another feature that's interesting are the portraits of the presidents. Clicking on a painting can either take you to the room where it's hanging or give you a high-resolution image of the painting to examine in great detail. Many of the painting pages also include essays detailing significant events for that president, so it's a great all-around learning experience.
Visit in Person
If an online tour isn't enough and you're ready to see the real thing, you'll have to go through your Congressional representative to score tickets. Go to the Tours & Events page on the White House website to find out more about how to request tickets.
The website also includes information about what you'll see and experience when you arrive. As you might expect, security is a big concern, so you'll need to follow the rules to be admitted. Also, you will need to plan ahead because requests have to be made at least 21 days in advance.