America’s Silent Ambassadors
Spanning 42 rooms and more than 28,000 square feet, the Diplomatic Reception Rooms are home to an unparalleled collection of more than 5,000 fine and decorative art objects that tell stories from our nation’s founding era and formative decades. Many of these objects were created, owned, and used by the men and women who dreamed of self-government and who made independence a reality. This collection reflects the pride, craftsmanship, and spirit of 18th- and early 19th-century America and forms a vital link between our proud past and the endeavors of today’s leaders to represent the best of America through the art of diplomacy.
Since their inception in 1961, the Diplomatic Reception Rooms have served as the setting for many accomplishments of American diplomacy that have guided the course of world history. In these State Rooms, the United States signs treaties and trade agreements, conducts crucial negotiations, holds summits and swearings-in, hosts official State visits, honors the achievements of global citizens, cultivates friendships, exchanges ideas, and tends to the afflictions and aspirations of our dynamic world. Here American diplomacy is conducted at the highest levels. And when diplomacy is successful, peace is assured. No other museum rooms and collections serve such lofty purposes or have such a profound global influence.
For The People & By The People
Great attention is given to ensure that the Rooms evoke hospitality and provide an appropriate ceremonial space for welcoming world leaders and diplomats. The Rooms also serve as a rich resource for the tens of thousands of visitors and students who are introduced to the collection each year through educational initiatives.
Remarkably, the Rooms and their collection were constructed, amassed, and continue to be maintained exclusively through the private gifts of philanthropic and patriotic individuals. Collectively, they are a testimony to the civic engagement and generosity of the American people and to their desire to advance American diplomacy.
- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton meets with His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the U.S. Department of State on February 18, 2010.
- Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken and His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales co-host a reception to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Marshall Scholars program at the U.S. Department of State on March 19, 2015.
- U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis join Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi and General Fang Fenghui, Chief of the People’s Liberation Army’s Joint Staff Department, for the inaugural U.S.-China Diplomatic and Security Dialogue on June 21, 2017 in the Thomas Jefferson State Reception Room at the U.S. Department of State.