The Diplomatic Reception Rooms began in 1961 under the visionary leadership of Clement E. Conger (1912–2004). The first impression visitors have of the rooms is the Edward Vason Jones Memorial Hall, dedicated to the talented architect who transformed the reception rooms into the rare, classically balanced, and dignified rooms seen today. The Gallery, with its gracious Palladian windows, serves as a gallery for portraits, landscapes, and American Queen Anne and Chippendale furniture.
The John Quincy Adams State Drawing Room, where the Secretary of State receives distinguished guests, contains furnishings that are early American masterpieces selected for their historical associations with the founding of the republic.
The Thomas Jefferson State Reception Room reflects architectural elements inspired from Jefferson’s residence at Monticello. American Chippendale furniture appears with paintings of early views of America to create an intimately elegant room for official luncheons and dinners.
The largest room is named for the father of the American Foreign Service, Benjamin Franklin. Designed by architect John Blatteau, the room celebrates the long-standing role of the Secretary of State as custodian of The Great Seal. This elegantly gilded, state dining room is the primary room used to entertain guests. These rooms, and the $100 million collection contained within, are America’s gift to the nation.