Tourists to the White House are a happy lot after Michelle Obama tore up a sign forbidding photography within its precincts. The new sign in place says 'Photography is encouraged' and asks visitors to share their experience.
It was show time for the first family's dog Bo who greeted visitors to the click of many cameras.
'Awesome' was the common refrain of most visitors, who did not mind the long wait as those ahead posed and snapped away pictures.
According to the new rule, cellphone cameras and still-photo cameras with fixed lenses no longer than three inches are allowed but video cameras, tablets, tripods and camera sticks are still prohibited. Flash photography and live-streaming are also banned.
The Secret Service has not commented on the new move.
Sharp spikes were simultaneously being installed on the fence outside the building to ward off jumpers following a recent incident where an intruder carrying a package climbed the fence but was arrested quickly.
In 2014, an Iraq war veteran carrying a knife scaled the fence, ran across the North Lawn and entered the residence before being tackled by a Secret Service officer.
Michelle Obama's video greeted each group as they entered the East Wing with early birds getting a chance to rip the copies of the sign banning pictures, like the First Lady did.
The rule change, coming after a 40-year ban, is in time for the July Fourth weekend which is the peak tourist season.
Families filing out of the White House grounds said the new rules had greatly improved their experience, reports the New York Times.
Robert Dallek, a presidential historian, believes the move is not without political considerations coming when critics have been accusing the administration of being out of touch.
It could also be an acknowledgment of a camera ban that fails to stop visitors from using cellphones to record and share personal experiences.