Random White House Facts: The History of the Resolute Desk in the White House

The Resolute desk is a large, nineteenth-century partners’ desk often chosen by presidents of the United States for use in the White House Oval Office as the Oval Office desk. It was a gift from Queen Victoria to President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1880 and was built from the timbers of the British Arctic Exploration ship Resolute. Many presidents since Hayes have used the desk at various locations in the White House, but it was Jackie Kennedy who first brought the desk into the Oval Office in 1961 for President John F. Kennedy. It was removed from the White House only once, after the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, when President Johnson allowed the desk to go on a traveling exhibition with the Kennedy Presidential Library. After this it was on display in the Smithsonian Institution. President Jimmy Carter brought the desk back to the Oval Office, where Presidents Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and now Barack Obama have used it. (via wikipedia )

Replicas of the Resolute desk have appeared in many movies. The desk was a key plot device in National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets, in which a secret compartment in the desk contained pieces of a clue to the location of treasure. The film also features another desk made from HMS Resolute, situated in Buckingham Palace, which was made for Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom.

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