President Obama and the First Lady have long been committed to ensuring that the White House is truly the People’s House, and that Americans with disabilities are fully integrated into our society. Today, continuing on that commitment, the White House Visitor’s Office is pleased to announce the availability of an audio description for those taking a White House tour. This will give blind and visually impaired Americans and persons with other print disabilities the opportunity to listen to an audio described tour as they visit the historic, public rooms of the White House.
The audio tour features welcoming remarks from Mrs. Obama followed by a room-by-room audio description of the highlights and features of the White House. This is just the latest step in the Obamas’ work to make the White House more open and accessible - from surprising visitors on public tours, to welcoming nearly 3 million visitors to the White House for Residence tours, the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, Fall and Spring Garden Tours, State and Official Arrival Ceremonies and White House Kitchen Garden school group tours, to partnering with the Google Art Project so millions more can take a 360-degree tour of the White House from their computer.
The audio tours are only available on MP3 players that will be provided by the White House to those requesting the audio tour. The players must be requested at the time the request for a tour is made through a Member of Congress, and will be available on a first come, first serve basis. Individuals must return the MP3 players at the conclusion of their tour.
Information about White House Tours:
Public tours of the White House are currently available and requests must be submitted through your Member of Congress. These self-guided tours are available from 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Fridays, and 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Saturdays (excluding federal holidays or unless otherwise noted). Tour hours will be extended when possible based on the official White House schedule. Tours are scheduled on a first come, first served basis. Requests can be submitted up to six months in advance and no less than 21 days in advance. You are encouraged to submit your request as early as possible as a limited number of spaces are available. All White House tours are free of charge. (Please note that White House tours may be subject to last minute cancellation.)
If you wish to visit the White House and are a citizen of a foreign country, please contact your embassy in Washington, DC for assistance in submitting a tour request.
For more information on tours, please go to: http://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/about/tours-and-events
Kareem Dale is Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy, and Ellie Schafer is Special Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Visitors Office