White House Historical Association

The White House Historical Association is a non-profit organization charted in 1961 with the encouragement of Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy to enhance the understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of the historic White House. Since its beginning, the association has published and distributed books and other educational merchandise and materials about the White House, presidents and first ladies. Traveling exhibits and videos produced by the association are circulated to the presidential libraries and museums. These and other educational outreach programs and projects have enabled the White House Historical Association to contribute to the preservation of the public rooms of the White House, and to acquire and help conserve its furnishings and art works.

In 1981 ChemArt produced the first association White House Christmas ornament, and for 29 years this annual ornament program has provided a steady revenue stream to support the association's mission. Using an integrated marketing strategy to market the annual ornaments, the association has developed numerous ways to reach its customers:

  • Each year the association sends out three emails to its customers. The first email introduces the new ornament and the two follow-up emails later in the year serve as reminders to purchase the ornament.
  • Purchases can be placed via an 800 number and through the association's website. In 2008, ChemArt was given exclusive rights to sell the ornaments through its existing retail channels, increasing the visibility of the collection to a nationwide retail audience.
  • The ornaments are advertised in national and regional magazines and newspapers. Additionally an annual gift catalog is distributed to thousands of its customers, and diorama advertisements are placed in Washington, D.C. metropolitan transit stations and commuter train stations.
  • All 31 ornaments from 1981 through 2011 are available for sale from the White House Historical Association allowing customers to build a collection.
  • Since 1981 the number of pieces produced by ChemArt has grown considerably with over a million ornaments being manufactured in 2011. In addition to its website, www.WhiteHouseHistory.org and its merchandise order number, 1-800-555-2451, the association operates three museum shops located in Washington, D.C.

Since the late 1980s groups such as school booster clubs, churches, civic groups, and other non-profit organizations throughout the country have purchased hundreds of thousands of ornaments to re-sell as a fundraiser.

“As our most popular product sometime we sell thousands of ornaments in a single day during the busy holiday season. Over the years the collectors of these beautiful ornaments have significantly contributed to the educational mission of this Association and helped fund the preservation of the interior of the White House and its fine and decorative arts – something all Americans can be proud to support.”

– Michael Melton, White House Historical Association