Few of us will ever get to eat off of White House china, but here’s a chance to see how past Presidents dined.
White House china collector Set Momjian will be speaking at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum on October 6 at 2 p.m. about some of his pieces currently on display in the exhibit “Dining with the President.”
Momjian is well known for having the largest collection of White House china outside of the White House. He has pieces from every Presidential collection, which he acquired in a variety of ways.
A retired Ford Motor Company executive, Momjian served as a representative to the United Nations under the Carter administration. He would later serve as Presidential adviser to the past five administrations, starting with the Johnson administration. He has enjoyed personal friendships with Presidents and First Ladies.
But Momjian didn’t set out to be a collector of White House china. He began collecting china by accident in the 1950s, when dealers included pieces of china along with the Presidential letters and documents he was collecting. As his collection of porcelain pieces grew, he came to appreciate the historical significance and beauty of each piece. Eventually, he began to seek out the personal china patterns of First Ladies as well.
Momjian isn’t just a collector of items; he’s a collector of stories. For each plate in his collection, Momjian has an intricate tale about its origin and the public’s reaction. He will be sharing many colorful stories about his collections and his personal experiences with the Presidents and First Ladies.
He recently explained why Presidential china is so fascinating. “White House china shows the personal style of each First Lady,” he said. “They are the only items that remain in the White House to give us a sense of their tastes and the times in which they lived.”
If you’re in the West Branch, IO, area on Saturday and have an interest in Presidential dining sets, you won’t want to miss this event! The conversation in the auditorium is free, but regular admission will be charged to go through the museum galleries.