To say that The WHDC has changed lives is an understatement. For some of our kids, it is the most profound experience in their educational careers.

Columbia (MO) Public Schools

Student Program: A west wing simulation for grades 6-12

Set in a recreated West Wing, The White House Decision Center challenges students to step into the roles of President Truman and his advisors to tackle some of the greatest challenges ever faced by a world leader.

The White House Decision Center is not a field trip—it’s experiential learning at its best. Inspired by President Truman’s legacy of leadership and developed by nationally recognized educators, our hands-on history lab is the standard-bearer for education programs at presidential libraries nationwide.

The White House Decision Center simulations immerse students in American history, the Executive Branch, and high-stakes decision making. Scenarios offered include:

  • Ending the War with Japan
  • Addressing Postwar Civil Rights in the U.S. Armed Forces
  • Reacting to the Soviet Blockade of Berlin
  • Responding to the Communist Invasion of South Korea
  • Addressing the End of the British Mandate in Palestine

The White House Decision Center curriculum includes four interactive classroom modules designed to complement state and national history standards and to enhance the onsite experience for your students.

Historical Simulations

The White House Decision Center simulations immerse students in American history, government, the presidency and high-stakes decision making. Gather your advisors and review the most recent intelligence. The fate of the world is yours to decide. Show more

Ending the War with Japan

It is August 1945. The United States and its allies defeated Hitler and Mussolini in Europe, but the war in the Pacific rages on. President Truman, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other key advisors are vigorously debating how to end the war with Japan quickly with as few casualties as possible. Should the U.S. remove or maintain the unconditional surrender term? Is the blockade, a land invasion, or a combination of the two the best way to end the war? Should atomic weapons, a new tool in the U.S. military arsenal, be used?

Addressing Postwar Civil Rights in the U.S. Armed Forces

It is July, 1948 President Truman is running for election and the Democratic convention is July 12-15, and Democrats are not in agreement with the President’s stand on civil rights. Although they successfully fought the Nazis and their racist ideology in Europe, African Americans serving in the postwar military are still limited to only certain roles and opportunities. The developing violence and civil rights crisis in America deeply troubles President Truman, who has called his advisors together to decide how to address postwar civil rights. How can this administration stop violence again African American veterans and citizens and push the country closer to the ideology that all men are created equal? Besides military options, what other solutions does President Truman have the power to make: economic pressures, diplomatic decisions, passed legislation? Gather your advisors together and figure out how to end racial injustice while staying within the powers granted to the Executive Branch by the U.S. Constitution.

Reacting to the Soviet Blockade of Berlin

The year is 1948. The Soviet Union has imposed a blockade on West Berlin, cutting off all land and rail routes. More than 2.5 million people risk mass starvation, and the power of the Western Allies is called into question. It is the first crisis of the Cold War. Should the U.S. use military power or diplomacy to support the Berliners? Does the newly passed Marshall Plan cover rescue efforts or will Congress be able to block legislation and support? Along with the humanitarian aspect, how can this administration keep the spread of Communism in check while expanding the role of Democracy in war ravaged Europe?

Responding to the Communist Invasion of South Korea

It is June 1950. World War II ended five years ago, and Americans are tired of war. President Truman is at home in Independence, MO when he receives a phone call from his Secretary of State who informs him that Communist North Korea crossed into Democratic South Korea. Korea is split in two and South Korea is a fragile democracy. The United States supports South Korea’s government but is it ready to enter into another military conflict? Does the new U.S. approach on foreign policy, based on on the Truman Doctrine, apply to democratic countries in Asia or just in Europe? What role does the newly formed United Nations play in an international conflict? What are the dangers of the spreading of U.S.S.R supported Communism and is it the role of the United States to stop that spread?

Addressing the End of the British Mandate in Palestine

It is May, 1948, and the British government has almost completed the withdrawal of their troops from Palestine after announcing the end of the British Mandate in December, 1947.Their exit opens a void in power in the region that will affect 1.9 million Arabs, Jews, and Christians living in Palestine and displaced people fleeing to Palestine. It will also impact relationships between Arabs and Jews, the authority of the United Nations, control of strategic oil reserves, and the balance of power in the Cold War. Should the United States recommend that Palestine be turned over to the United Nations under a trusteeship? Should we advocate in the United Nations a two-state solution: Palestine and Israel? What about the displaced Jews in Europe, three years after World War II and their longing for a homeland? If a Jewish state is created and war ensues, does the United States bear responsibility? What about the intentions of the Soviet Union?

Student Skills

The White House Decision Center provides a unique setting to enrich course content and practice historical methods including:

  • Close reading and information gathering
  • Primary source analysis
  • Comparing and contrasting multiple points of view
  • Synthesizing complex information
  • Group cooperation and communication
  • Speech writing and public speaking
  • Crafting evidence-based solutions for a complex problem

Standards Aligned

The White House Decision Center is designed to complement a rigorous course of study and to meet national standards for grades 6-12. Show more

Download Curriculum Standards

Since it opened in 2002, The White House Decision Center has welcomed nearly 100,000 students from across the nation. Our team of award-winning and nationally recognized educators is ready to help you create a profound educational experience for your students.

Program Fees

The White House Decision Center can accommodate up to 72 students per session, includes eight cabinet rooms and a press room, and offers numerous scenarios to match your curricular goals. Program cost is $12/student with a minimum group charge of $360. Program and transportation assistance are available through our “Bus Stops Here” field trip grants.

WHDC Reviews

“Through this program our students gained knowledge in problem solving, public speaking, civic engagement, and group cooperation.” –Teacher, Arma, KS

“In an age of over-testing directed by the state, the WHDC provides a real opportunity to experience participation in the executive branch of the U.S. government and develop an interest in government and politics. The WHDC experience is one that inspires students and grows life skills.” –Teacher, Kansas City, MO

“My students were able to gain an experience where they were immersed in history and had the opportunity to analyze primary sources and role play in the decision-making process with the WHDC…. Extremely valuable and powerful for my students.” –Teacher, Fort Osage, MO

“This is a valuable decision-making/problem-solving activity that teaches the value of multiple points of views and the long-lasting impact decisions have on everyone.” –Principal, Ash Grove, MO

“Although Truman is not a part of the 8th grade curriculum, we wanted our students to practice working with primary sources and working collaboratively. They really enjoyed the modules before the field trip, as well. The information led to a lot of in-depth conversations about world events at the time of Truman’s presidency.” –Teacher, Lee’s Summit, MO

“The WHDC offers a different approach to learning. It’s not always just about the content but the process students go through in learning. Students are able to experience history not just read about it.” –Teacher, Independence, MO