National Geographic President and CEO John M. Fahey, Jr., presented a custom National Geographic map cabinet to President George W. Bush at the White House Wednesday morning, July 3. The handcrafted walnut cabinet contains copies of 22 of National Geographic's most current maps, including each of the continents, as well as its recent maps of Afghanistan and Pakistan and the Middle East.
President Bush expressed his delight to receive the cabinet. He also stressed to his visitors the importance of geography education and the role the Society plays in promoting geography education. The President praised the Society as "one of America's treasures."
National Geographic has presented custom map cabinets to every President since first presenting one to President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941. Roosevelt asked for two more that he then presented to United Kingdom Prime Minister Winston Churchill. In addition, some kings, queens, and even a pope have been presented National Geographic map cabinets.
The Society also presented President Bush a personalized leather edition of its most recent Atlas of the World. The President said it would remain in the Oval Office.
Accompanying Fahey were National Geographic Executive Vice President Terry Adamson, National Geographic magazine Editor Bill Allen, and National Geographic Chief Cartographer Allen Carroll. The President gave the group a tour of the Oval Office and his adjacent dining room and private study.
The map cabinet presented to President Bush contains a world map on its outside door and a Texas map on the inside of the door. Crawford, Texas, the site of President and Mrs. Bush's ranch, is specially marked on the Texas map.
As President Bush departed a later White House ceremony on Wednesday honoring the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial, he patted Chief Cartographer Allen Carroll on his shoulder, stating that the map cabinet was already up in the President's private study.