"The American President," an exhibit of compelling presidential news photos from The Associated Press, will be on display Sept. 8 through Election Day at Federal Hall National Memorial in New York.
The images, selected from AP Images' vast photo archive, show American presidents at war and at ease, in victory and in defeat, confronting national crises and facing personal scandals, running for office and leading the country on the world stage.
"The American President" features a number of AP’s Pulitzer Prize-winning images, including Paul Vathis' view of John F. Kennedy conferring gravely with his predecessor, Dwight D. Eisenhower, at Camp David after the unsuccessful Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961 and Ron Edmonds' split-second documentation of the 1981 assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan.
To mark the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, which operates Federal Hall, the mix of more than 70 photos also includes a collection showing presidents in Yosemite National Park, at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington and in other locations that are part of the National Park System.
The exhibit is set in the rotunda of Federal Hall, which stands on the Wall Street site where George Washington was sworn in as the nation's first president in 1789.
"The National Park Service is pleased to host the Associated Press exhibit focused on presidents and their relationship to the National Parks to commemorate the National Park Service Centennial, especially during this election year," said Shirley McKinney, the National Park Service’s Manhattan sites superintendent.
"The men and women who have covered the White House for the AP dating back to the middle part of the 19th Century have truly had a 'front row seat to history,' President George H.W. Bush says in an introduction written for the exhibit. "Through their lenses, succeeding generations of AP 'photodogs' have captured both the ecstasy and agony of the American presidency, and contributed in important ways to the historical record of each administration."
As the current presidential campaign commands wide interest across the country, the exhibit helps illustrate one constant in the ever-shifting media landscape: Coverage of the White House by AP journalists has been the dominant source of presidential news across the U.S. and around the world.
The photos underscore the need for AP photojournalists assigned to cover the White House to always keep their eyes on the president, so they won't miss those revealing, unexpected moments that could easily dominate thousands of front pages and websites around the world.
Visiting hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The exhibit runs through Nov. 11. Admission is free.
Federal Hall is located at 26 Wall St. Visitors may call 212-825-6990, or visit www.nps.gov/feha for more information.