Diplomatic Reception Rooms, U.S. Department of State

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Are the Diplomatic Reception Rooms funded by American taxpayers?

No. Everything you see here was given by American citizens who created the Diplomatic Reception Rooms as a gift to our nation in the spirit of philanthropy and patriotism. This includes the time and expertise of the architects who renovated the Rooms, the priceless art and objects throughout, and the funds required to perform conservation activities and maintenance, acquire new objects, and share the collection through educational initiatives. The Office of Fine Arts executes the mission of maintaining, growing, and sharing the collection while simultaneously raising the funds required to do so through annual gifts and grants.

Can I rent the Diplomatic Reception Rooms for my event?

No, the Diplomatic Reception Rooms are used only for official functions hosted by the secretary of state and other designated government officials.

Do only foreign dignitaries see the Diplomatic Reception Rooms? 

In addition to welcoming foreign diplomats and other official guests of our nation, the Diplomatic Reception Rooms are also a place to celebrate and honor exceptional Americans and their contributions to our world as global citizens. 

Why is there no signage or other interpretive material in the rooms?

While the Diplomatic Reception Rooms are akin to a museum in the quality of the collection and standards for documentation, conservation, and outreach, they serve first and foremost as reception spaces. Designed as period rooms, they are far fuller than a typical museum display. Every object has a fascinating provenance or story, and to attempt to share these in the physical spaces would be an impossible task, and detrimental to the Rooms’ effectiveness. The Office of Fine Arts instead strives to tell the many spectacular stories of the collection through their educational outreach and an informative website, where students, teachers, and the general public can access more complete collection information.

Are the Diplomatic Reception Rooms politically affiliated or influenced?

The Diplomatic Reception Rooms are a completely non-political entity that represent and serve all Americans, and have supported the diplomatic mission of the Department of State throughout decades of changing administrations and climates. The operation of the rooms and collection are organized and executed by a staff of art historians and other museum and administrative professionals.

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