This small, charred piece of wood was removed from the White House during the Truman Restorations in the early 1950s. Congressman Gerald R. Ford from Michigan sat on the Public Works Committee that oversaw the renovation of the dilapidated mansion from 1949 to 1952. The White House renovation involved gutting much of the interior of the structure. In the process, workers found and removed charred lumber from the burning of the White House during the War of 1812.
This piece was believed to have been burnt in the 1814 White House fire started by the British. On August 24, 1814, British troops, led by General Robert Ross, marched into Washington, D.C., and torched most of the city's public buildings. President Madison returned afterwards and vowed to rebuild the nation's capitol.
For more information, visit the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum website: