What happens to all the President's photos

When a President leaves office what happens to all his photos in all the government office buildings? Are they thrown out, or sent into storage? Or is there a procedure for giving them away?

A couple of us were just in one of those conference rooms and wondering about that. I suppose the photos of the President may get squirreled away as unofficial souvenirs, but what about all the pictures of Biden, or the Secretary of whatever? I am confident that as government property, they cannot simply be given away (lots of books get destroyed at government libraries for this reason), so I assume that Joe and the others will be headed for an incinerator somewhere.

They’re put down the Memory Hole.

They remove the old photo from the frame and replace it with the photo of the new person. Then they shred the old photo, or someone just takes it home. Nobody cares about a 5 cent photo of the ex-president, even if it is technically “government property”

My guess is they are taken home by some federal employee as a souvenir. I can’t see the US Government trying to keep track of them and then recalling them back to be either stored or destroyed.

I suspect many federal offices will remove the photo of the current president shortly, to be replaced by the new president once the photo is made available, only to have the old photo reappear sometime later.

Or the current photo will just not get updated at all, even though a new photo will have been sent out.

I thought the new administration always turned the old administration photos in to dart boards.

This begs the question of “WHY”. Why do all those government offices need a photo of the president? Surely they know what he looks like. Can they put it in a corner out of sight if they don’t like him or his politics?

Some senior officials, and certainly Ambassadors in the UK might have a picture of The Queen, but it is not all that common. I very much doubt that more than the odd one or two will have a pic of Theresa May.

I see in films and TV shows that any provincial government manager in the US will have a Stars and Stripes prominently displayed in his office - again - Why?

In my experience, there hasn’t been a picture in every office, just one place in the building, along with a picture of the head of the department or agency.

In the Army, the President and Secretary of Defense are part of the Chain of Command, and the local CO always likes to have photos of the entire Chain of Command in his headquarters – from himself all the way up to Commander in Chief – so he can remind himself that he is just a promotion or two away from becoming President of the United States. :wink:

They’re sent to a farm upstate where they can run around and play with other photos.

I think her portrait is actually more common in such places in Canada. There’s a standard government-issue portrait, produced in bulk for government offices, and also available to the general public for free. In some of them she’s even standing in front of a backdrop set up to look like…

…this, with some random furniture and a Canadian flag thrown behind her to make it look like a government office.

No, no, the “provincial” government managers are to the north of the 49th parallel. :stuck_out_tongue:

It’s so some people will shut up about not seeing the flag. Easier to make the minor expenditure that have to deal with dingdongs asking why there’s no flag over and over and over.

Yeah, it’s a strange practice. In the 70s and early 80s all of my classrooms had photos of the President hanging on the wall. That was odd too.

As a small child, although not American there were some very old American magazines about. One of these, I think, was Esquire. Anyway it was large and flat with a lot of black and white pictures as was common in the olden times.

These magazines dealt with the Kennedy assassination and his legacy, in a star-struck way ( even at the age of 4 I could be suspicious of a snow job ), and one detail in the description of the immediate aftermath forever stayed with me. That very night, all around the world, in the bases and US installations, the official photos of JFK were taken down and LBJ beamed in his place.

No, it is not from fear that people forgot what he looks like. I think it is a pride and inspiration thing.

Many companies, especially old and successful ones, will prominently show a portrait or sculpture of “Our Founder” in some prominent place. Many religious institutions will do the same for their present leader and/or past leaders.

It may also be a subtle form of intimidation: This is our leader, and if you “don’t like him or his politics,” you should either keep quiet or work somewhere else.

Public offices wouldn’t have a photo of the PM of the day, because that might seem partisan - unless it’s part of some informational display (say, a government department might well have photos of the ministers in the department, along with other senior officials) in the entrance lobby.

Off the top of my head, I’d expect to see a picture of the Queen in our diplomatic offices abroad, and probably in the formal rooms of military bases. I’m not sure there are any rules about it.

Every Thai person I Know has a photo of the king of Thailand in a prominent place. If you ask our little grandson who it is he replies, “That’s the King!”


In my waning days in the Army, I was in charge of the big row of photos of the chain of command for our Corps HQ, going all the way up to the Prez. When there was a change of command/responsibility or the Secretary of Defense switched, I took the old photo down and put it in a folder. The folder was secured in a locked file cabinet, right outside the door to the Corps commanding general’s office. After a certain amount of time, I shredded the contents.

This is roughly what happens to most documents in government service. Sorry, I wish it was more exciting, too.

I think the Royal Court of Arms are more common in the UK.