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Oral History Project

James Roe Ketchum White House Curator, Senate Curator (1963–1995)

James Roe Ketchum

As the only individual to serve as curator within the nation’s two most prominent political landmarks, the White House and the United States Capitol, James Roe Ketchum played a significant role in the conservation, preservation, and expansion of both buildings’ historical furnishings and fine arts collections. After serving three presidential administrations, Ketchum joined the Senate on April 1, 1970, to serve as its first curator. During his 25-year tenure in that role, Ketchum catalogued its artwork and furnishings, acquired new pieces, launched massive room restoration projects, and assisted the Senate community in recognizing national centennial and bicentennial events. In his interviews, he reflects on these efforts and shares personal anecdotes of his childhood, his education, and the colleagues, first families, and senators with whom he served.


Scholarly citation: "James Roe Ketchum: White House Curator, 1963–1970; Senate Curator, 1970–1995," Oral History Interviews, November 13, 2004, to September 30, 2007, Senate Historical Office, Washington, D.C.

Disclaimer: The Senate Historical Office has a strong commitment to oral history as an important part of its efforts to document institutional change over time. Oral histories are a natural component to historical research and enhance the archival holdings of the Senate and its members. Oral histories represent the personal recollections and opinions of the interviewees, however, and should not be considered as the official views or opinions of the U.S. Senate, of the Senate Historical Office, or of other senators and/or staff members. The transcripts of these oral histories are made available by the Senate Historical Office as a public service.