Preservation Office


What does the Preservation Office do?

  1. Oversees the restoration and preservation of the Old Executive Office Building (OEOB), the Jackson Place Townhouses, and the Winder Building.
  2. Maintains a small research library for in-house use including information on EOP Agency Histories and a period furnishings collection.
  3. Manages a public tour program.
  4. Publishes brochures and information sheets on the history of the OEOB.


Photo by:
Library of Congress,
Circa 1890

Constructed from 1871-1888 for the State, War and Navy Departments, this building has played a significant role in America's political history and architectural heritage. It was designed by Supervising Architect Alfred B. Mullet in the French Second Empire style and contained innovative building systems for the time - waterclosets, passenger elevators and a building-wide convection heating and cooling system.


Public tours are available on Saturday mornings by advance reservation only. To make reservations, please call the Preservation Office on (202) 395-5895.

The Telecommunications Device for the Deaf/Teletypewriter (TDD/TYY) number is (202) 395-9103. To the extent possible, use your local TDD/TYY relay service. For long distance and intercity calls requiring the intervention of a relay agent, utilize the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS): 1 (800) 877-8339. Requests for sign language interpreters and any other disability related accommodations should be made within 2 weeks of the proposed visit. Alternative formats of the brochure (e.g., braille) may be requested. The building is wheelchair accessible.

You can visit the restored areas of the Old Executive Office Building and learn more about the history of the building on the official OEOB web tour.

Agency Histories

The Executive Office of the President (EOP) agencies moved in officially in 1947 after the last of the original occupants, the State Department, moved out. The first EOP agencies to move into the old State Building (as the OEOB was known) were the Bureau of the Budget (now the Office of Management and Budget) and the National Security Council.

OEOB Historical Events Time Line
1884 Meridian conference held at the State Department to establish Greenwich Mean Time and the Prime Meridian.
1893 First light bulb used in the building.
1912 Burial service for the sailors recovered from the Maine held on south grounds of the building.
1918 Building reaches highest occupancy ever with over 4,000 employees; Navy Department vacates.
1938 War Department vacates.
1941 Secretary of State Cordell Hull confronts Japanese envoys in Room 208.
1947 State Department vacates.
1955 Room 474 - President Eisenhower holds first televised Presidential Press Conference.
1971 Old Executive Office building placed on National Register.
1982 Office of Administration establishes Preservation Office.
1985 Public tour program established.

Photo by: National Archives, 1969

In 1969, the 30th anniversary of the Executive Office of the President Budget ceremony was held in the Indian Treaty Room, Room 474, in the Old Executive Office Building. This room occupied the Navy library from 1879-1918 and was used by the War Department until circa 1938 when they moved out of the building.


Office of Administration History

In 1977 President Carter consolidated the administrative functions of the then ten agencies of the EOP, by establishing the Office Administration (OA):

On December 12, 1977, President Carter issued an Executive Order defining OA's mission statement. The following excerpt comes from E.O. 12028, the directive that President Carter issued, which defined OA's role:

Sec. 3 (a) The Office of the Adminstration shall provide common administrative support and services to all units within the Execuvtive Office of the President, except for such services provided primarily in direct support of the President. The Office of the Administration shall, upon request, assist the White House Office in performing its role of providing those administrative services which are primarily in direct support of the President.

(b) The common administrative support and services provided by the Office of Administration shall encompass all types of administrative support and services that may be used by, or useful to, units within the Executive Office of the President. Such services and support shall include, but not be limited to, providing support services in the following administrative areas:

  1. personnel management services, including equal employment opportunity programs;
  2. financial management services;
  3. data processing, including support and services;
  4. library, records and information services;
  5. office services and operations, including mail, messenger, printing and duplication, graphics, word processing, procurement, and supply services; and
  6. any other administrative support or service which will achieve financial savings and increase efficiency through centralization of the supporting service.

Additional Historical Page Links

The Society of Architectural Historians
The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
The National Park Service - Cultural Resources
The General Services Administration

Military History
Library of Congress
National Archives

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