January 17 is Michelle Obama’s birthday! From her work at the White House around health, education, and supporting military families to her continued initiatives supporting women and girls across the globe, Michelle Obama is an example of one person’s ability to inspire millions to create meaningful changes in their community.
When we open the Obama Presidential Center next year, it will feature exhibitions, artifacts, and spaces that reflect Mrs. Obama’s legacy. In honor of her birthday, we're giving you a sneak peek into a few elements of the Presidential Center shaped by the First Lady. Take a look and get a glimpse of what’s to come.
The Obama Presidential Center, a vibrant 19 acre campus, will live in the heart of Chicago’s South Side. The Center’s location in Jackson Park reflects Mrs. Obama’s commitment to the neighborhood she calls home, and to the entire city of Chicago Opens in a new tab . Built in connection with dozens of city agencies, local groups, and community insights, the Presidential Center will serve as an opportunity for economic growth, education, and innovation for the residents of the South Side and as a beacon of democratic values around the world.
Key spaces in the Presidential Center campus will feature artists, community members, and local leaders whose stories symbolize Chicago’s endurance and strength. Woodlawn native and renowned sculptor Richard Hunt was commissioned to create ‘Book Bird’, a stunning sculpture that he completed before his recent passing, that will stand outside of the Presidential Center’s branch of the Chicago Public Library. The Presidential Center Forum will also house the Hadiya Pendleton Winter Garden, a safe space for community members, named in honor of the young Chicago teen who lost her life to gun violence in 2013.
Sometimes the journey is just as important as the destination. At the Obama Presidential Center Museum, visitors will have the opportunity to explore the lives of both Barack and Michelle Obama from their humble beginnings to their time at the White House.
When the Museum opens, guests will have the opportunity to learn more about Mrs. Obama's story, exploring her early years in Chicago, her impact as First Lady, and her White House initiatives Let Girls Learn, Let's Move!, Reach Higher, and Joining Forces.
One of the hallmarks of Mrs. Obama’s legacy is her commitment to the health and wellness of our young people, including the planting of the White House Kitchen Garden. We will honor and expand that commitment at the Obama Presidential Center with the creation of the Eleanor Roosevelt Fruit & Vegetable Garden.
The Fruit & Vegetable Garden will carry on the legacy of two extraordinary first ladies, featuring a garden accessible for visitors of all ages and abilities, and a Garden Classroom & Teaching Kitchen for hands-on learning and workshops. This unique space will serve as a warm and welcoming environment to support programs around local sustainability, economic growth, and physical health.
While serving in the White House, Mrs. Obama launched her first initiative, Let’s Move!, a public campaign that addressed childhood obesity with purposeful action and education for kids and teens. In keeping with this commitment, the Presidential Center campus will include a one-of-a-kind Programs & Athletics Center that will feature a state of the art gymnasium, community programming, and a NBA-regulation basketball court.
Throughout the years, Mrs. Obama has cited many women as sources of inspiration for her work and success, but none stand as large as her mother, Marian Robinson.
In a very special tribute to Mrs. Robinson Opens in a new tab , a permanent exhibit at the Obama Presidential Center Museum will be named after the First Lady’s mother. The exhibit “Opening the White House” will feature miniature models of some of the most seminal spaces in the White House, including the East Room, the State Dining Room, and the South Lawn. Visitors will be able to relive [see] some of the memorable moments in the White House created by Mrs. Obama, including State Dinners, unique musical performances, and special holiday celebrations.
An important hallmark of the Obamas’ time in the White House was connecting with Americans through popular culture. While serving as First Lady, Mrs. Obama made a conscious effort to engage with the public through television, music, fashion, and literature. As a first First Lady in the digital age, Mrs. Obama pioneered new ways to communicate and promote her initiatives.
When the Presidential Center opens, visitors will have the opportunity to explore artifacts and details on Mrs. Obama’s impact on popular culture including some of her iconic outfits, her most creative viral moments, and her work with notable entertainment figures to support initiatives like Let Girls Learn and Let’s Move!