Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum to Celebrate Election Year with virtual First Ladies Tea

Dr. Lisa Burns, Person of the Week, courtesy of Dr. Lisa Burns.

Norwalk, CT – The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, located at 295 West Avenue, Norwalk, CT will host a virtual First Ladies Tea on Sunday, Nov. 8, 2-4 p.m. The event, chaired by LMMM Trustee Hunter Arton, will feature a talk titled, The Media’s Fascination with First Ladies by Dr. Lisa M. Burns. The program will include a hat contest with prizes and a silent auction. Submissions for the hat contest are due no later than Nov. 1st. Please visit the Museum’s website for more details on how to enter the contest. Tickets are $20 for members and $25 for non-members and available online at www.lockwoodmathewsmansion.com. All proceeds will benefit the Museum’s cultural and educational programs.

Betty Ford holds impromptu press conference outside White House, August 1974
Credit: Courtesy of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library

Ms. Arton said, “The committee and I are excited to welcome our communities virtually for an afternoon tea while we learn little known facts about our leading ladies. It is sure to be an entertaining and educational event!”

First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a “Let’s Move!” Funny or Die game show taping with Billy Eichner of Billy on the Street, and Big Bird at Safeway in Washington, D.C., 2015, photo by Amanda Lucidon, White House Photo Office Collection

The press and public have been fascinated with first ladies since Martha Washington’s time. The first lady position is unique in that it is unelected, not defined in the Constitution, yet demands a great deal of its holders. They are among the most highly recognizable figures of any presidential administration, often treated as celebrities with the news media following their every move. They are public figures whether they like it or not. They are also political figures, due to their proximity to power via their husbands and the various duties they carry out for their husbands’ administrations. This presentation will focus on press coverage of first ladies throughout the years, including the various ways they’ve dealt with the constant media scrutiny and life in the public spotlight.

Barbara and Laura Bush visit Bryan’s House for Children with AIDS, Dallas, TX, October 1991
Credit: Courtesy of the George Bush Presidential Library

Dr. Lisa M. Burns is a Professor of Media Studies at Quinnipiac University. She holds a Ph.D. in communication from the University of Maryland at College Park. Her edited collection, Media Relations and the Modern First Lady: From Jacqueline Kennedy to Melania Trump was released in February 2020. She is also the author of First Ladies and the Fourth Estate: Press Framing of Presidential Wives and has published many journal articles and book chapters on first ladies. Dr. Burns’ research interests include political communication, particularly media coverage of U.S. presidents and political spouses; public memory; and media criticism. She frequently serves as a media expert on topics including first ladies, women in politics, and presidential campaign coverage.

Eleanor Roosevelt appearing on CBS radio, 1946
Credit: Courtesy of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library

The Museum’s virtual First Ladies Tea is generously sponsored in part by Connecticut Cottages and Gardens and BMW of Darien. The Museum’s 2020 cultural and educational programs are made possible in part by generous funding from LMMM’s Founding Patrons: The Estate of Mrs. Cynthia Clark Brown; LMMM’s Leadership Patrons: The Sealark Foundation; LMMM’s 2020 Season Distinguished Benefactors: The City of Norwalk and The Maurice Goodman Foundation; LMMM’s 2020 Distinguished Benefactors for Education: The Daphne Seybolt Culpeper Memorial Foundation, Inc. The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum is a National Historic Landmark. For more information on schedules and programs please visit www.lockwoodmathewsmansion.com, e-mail info@lockwoodmathewsmansion.com, or call 203-838-9799.

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