WASHINGTON (AP) — The Smithsonian is taking the first ladies’ gowns off display for about three weeks as the National Museum of American History prepares a new home for the popular dresses in Washington.

The “First Ladies at the Smithsonian” exhibit is closed beginning Tuesday. A new exhibit, “The First Ladies,” opens Nov. 19 in a new gallery.

A spokeswoman says the new gallery will feature more than 24 gowns, including those of Michelle Obama, Barbara Bush, Nancy Reagan and Jacqueline Kennedy. Part of the exhibit looks at how first ladies have shaped their roles as the role of women in society has changed.

The museum is preparing to renovate its west wing with new permanent exhibits on the presidency, first ladies and other political topics. Construction is scheduled to begin next year.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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