Here is a small Christmas gift for you: The Real West Wing Tour Guide (circa 2007).

While the general public can often get a White House East Wing tour through the office of their Member of Congress, West Wing tours can only be given by White House staff.

Through most of President Bush’s time in office, staff were allowed to give tours Tuesday through Friday evenings, and also on weekends.

One summer (I think it was 2003) my West Wing colleague Krista Ritacco and I thought it would be helpful and fun to create a written tour guide for staff. We could improve the quality and accuracy of information and generally help make tours better for both the visitors and the tour guides.

We recruited Krista’s intern, then-Duke University student Sarah Hawkins, to research and write the first version. We then produced simple decks of index cards which we distributed to friends and colleagues on the White House staff. They quickly became an underground hit and were frequently used on tours.

The project went through several iterations, the last quasi-public version of which was developed by Ashley Hickey.

Karen Evans came up with the idea of upgrading it from index cards to a more professional appearance. This is the version you see below, produced by Karen Evans, Tony Summerlin, and the Touchstone Consulting Group on a volunteer basis without using taxpayer dollars. We never distributed this version broadly, even to other White House staff. The contents are identical to the last “public” version, but this version looks even better.

I am distributing this under a Creative Commons License – you can distribute, share, and display this, but you must attribute it, you may not edit it, and you may not use it for commercial purposes.

I expect that today’s West Wing is somewhat different, especially in the displayed artwork and decor. Nevertheless, I hope you find this interesting and enjoyable.

Merry Christmas. Please click on the cover below to see the Guide. If you get an error message, please update your version of Adobe Acrobat Reader. And thanks to those submitting errata in the comments.