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    For much of the last quarter of the 20th century, photojournalist Diana Walker chronicled the public and private lives of America’s most powerful men. From Ronald and Nancy Reagan waving and giving the “thumbs-up” from the president’s hospital room after his cancer surgery at Bethesda Naval Hospital to Bill Clinton leaving the White House kitchen one last time with a plate of French fries, Walker’s images have captured the American presidency at its most candid and helped shape the way we see the men who occupy our most august office.


    The Frazier International History Museum is presenting a traveling Smithsonian exhibition of Walker’s work — yet another step in the organization’s ongoing re-branding process after changing its name and focus from the Frazier Historical Arms Museum. “What really struck me about the exhibition was how much this one woman’s work has shaped America’s view of this public office,” says Kacie Carrico, the museum’s manager of special exhibits and programs. “She really seems to be the lens through which the world has viewed America’s presidents.”


    Through such images as George Herbert Walker Bush saluting U.S. troops during Operation Desert Storm; President Gerald Ford joking with vice-presidential candidate and future presidential candidate Bob Dole; and Jimmy Carter standing alongside Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin during the 1979 Israeli peace talks, the exhibition captures moments from recent history and helps us relive them. Walker worked for Time magazine covering the White House until 2001, and the exhibition includes images from the campaign trail and the first family’s private quarters. Divided into public and private moments, the show features 83 photographs and nine magazine covers.


    The Main Street museum will continue bringing in traveling exhibitions of varied cultural and historical significance, says Mark Zanni, the Frazier’s marketing manager, as it works to shift the public’s perception of the museum away from its beginnings as a showcase for arms and armaments. “We really are a history museum, and perhaps unfortunately, when we began we focused more on the object and not on what the object means in the context of history,” Zanni says. “It’s the history — it’s not just
    the gun.”


    “Diana Walker: Photojournalist” opened Dec. 16 and will run through March 4. For more information on the exhibition or on the museum, go to www.fraziermuseum.org or call 412-2280.

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