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Former first lady Michelle Obama has credited her mother Marian Robinson as a source of empowerment and strength, and she’s honoring the matriarch of her family in a special way in celebration of Mother’s Day. Obama has unveiled plans to create a museum exhibit as an ode to Robinson.

The exhibit—named Opening the White House—will be housed inside the forthcoming Chicago-based Obama Presidential Center Museum. It’s inspired by the values of family and community; two important deeply-rooted principles that Obama says her mother instilled within her. The exhibit will give future visitors a glimpse into the events hosted at The White House during Obama’s presidency, including the Easter egg rolls, garden tours, and rooms that served as the backdrop for large dinners.

The creation of the project signifies a full-circle addition to the center as it will live in the same community where Robinson—a Chicago native—raised and nurtured her family.

Obama took to Instagram to announce plans for the project and express profound gratitude for her mother’s guidance throughout every stage of her life. “Growing up with my mom was always an adventure,” she said in the video. “But above all else, my mom gave me that non-stop, unconditional love that was so important for me to grow up. In so many ways she fostered in me a deep sense of confidence in who I was and who I could be by teaching how to think for myself, how to use my own voice and how to understand my own worth. I simply wouldn’t be who I am today without my mom.”

The Obama Presidential Center broke ground in September 2021. It will feature an array of spaces designed to cultivate community, celebrate civic engagement and spark innovation.

“Chicago is where I found the purpose I’d been seeking,” former President Barack Obama said during the groundbreaking ceremony. “Chicago is where everything most precious to me began. It’s where I found a home. It feels natural for Michelle and me to want to give back to Chicago and to the South Side, in particular, the place where she grew up, and I came into my own. The Obama Presidential Center is our way of repaying some of what this amazing city has given us.”


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