The White House and Google launch a new virtual tour with audio captions


WASHINGTON — The White House, in collaboration with Google Maps and Google Arts & Culture, unveiled an innovative virtual tour of the iconic mansion on National Civics Day. This virtual tour, accessible from computers and smartphones, enables users to explore every nook and cranny of the White House as if they were on an in-person tour.

This update to the virtual tour is driven by the first lady, Jill Biden's, commitment to making the White House accessible to a wider audience. As a longtime community college professor, Biden envisions teachers utilizing this resource to educate students about the White House and its rich history, as highlighted by her spokesperson, Elizabeth Alexander.

Jill Biden's goal is to ensure that not only those who can visit Washington, D.C., get a chance to tour the White House, but that she is bringing the White House experience to people all around the country," said Alexander.

Additionally, on the same day, Jill Biden traveled to Philadelphia for a National Civics Day event hosted by Nickelodeon, ATTN:, and iCivics. At the event, they introduced 'Well Versed,' a new animated series that combines music and animation to teach children about democracy and the Bill of Rights.

During the event, Jill Biden eloquently spoke about the historic Constitutional Convention held at Philadelphia's Independence Hall in 1787. It was at this convention that the nation's founders forged a government where power lay in the hands of the people, not in the hands of kings and queens. She emphasized the enduring nature of this principle, calling it a cornerstone of the nation's uniqueness. 

Jill Biden remarked, 'This is still how our country operates, and it's one of the elements that makes it so remarkable. When we comprehend civics, how our government functions, and how to hold it accountable, we empower ourselves to collaborate and make our country the best it can be.'

Inclusivity is a significant part of the virtual tour's design. It is the first Google virtual tour of the White House to incorporate audio captions to cater to individuals with disabilities. These audio captions, narrated by White House social secretary Carlos Elizondo, provide historical insights about each room as they appear on the screen.

Notably, this virtual tour also marks Google's inaugural inclusion of Spanish translation for a White House tour and features official portraits of former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama. The tour commences with a brief video of President Joe Biden and the First Lady extending a warm welcome to visitors, replicating the same message played at the White House Visitors Center for in-person guests.

The tour was crafted using Google Arts & Culture's storytelling tool, employing Google Street View technology to capture images of the East Wing Entrance and every room along the public tour route. This includes notable spaces like the library, the China Room, the Green, Blue, and Red rooms, the East Room, and the State Dining Room.

Ben Gomes, Senior Vice President of Learning and Sustainability at Google, conveyed that Google's arts and culture division is committed to the mission of making global culture accessible to people worldwide.

The virtual tour is readily accessible on the White House website, as well as through Google Maps and the Google Arts & Culture page.