Mementos and art pieces honoring Socks, Checkers, Fala, Bo and more presidential pets are looking for a new owner.
The Presidential Pet Museum, started by former White House groomer Claire McLean, first began in 1985. According to ABC News, that was the year McLean’s mother painted a portrait of Ronald Regan’s dog Lucky, which McLean, now 83, completed by adding actual pieces of fur from the black dog’s coat to the canvas.
This single painting inspired McLean to capture the nation’s love for all of the First Pets in one place. In 1999, the groomer founded the Presidential Pet Museum in Williamsburg, Virginia, filling it with unique pieces from pets of the White House’s past.
The museum now houses the largest collection of presidential pet memorabilia in the world, including the bell from William Taft’s cow Pauline, the last bovine to graze on the White House’s South Lawn, and a life-size bronze statue of George W. Bush’s terrier, Barney.
Unfortunately, the museum is having trouble getting the funding it needs to stay open. So McLean has decided to auction off her creation to someone who is willing “to run this beloved, quirky museum.” The auction on Flippa.com, which includes all of the museum’s belongings and its website, currently sits at $4,500 — a steal for all the history included in the sale.
“As a concept it’s very popular, the website has gotten a good bit of traffic,” Dave Baker, current owner of the museum’s website and editor-in-chief of a pet blog called Petful, told ABC. “But, it never got the funding to become something bigger than it was.”
If you think you are the person to take the museum to the next level, McLean has all of the museum’s contents packed up and ready to go.
“We’re really hoping to find someone who has a passion like she does and who can carry on her legacy,” Baker said. “We don’t look at it as the end of the Presidential Pet Museum, by any means. This is like a new chapter for it.”