Adventures, Essential DC, History, Life in the Capital, The District, The Great Outdoors, Tourism

Tourism: Dumbarton Oaks

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘Amberture’

If you’re looking to escape from the Cherry Blossom hoards and find your own little piece of Washington DC for a few hours, the Dumbarton Oaks house, gardens and museum have your name on it.

In 1920, U.S. Foreign Service diplomat Robert Woods Bliss and his wife Mildred Barnes Bliss purchased a large portion of land and a 1801 Federal style house in the northern most section of Georgetown. The Blisses made significant architectural renovations and additions, such as the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection (DORCL) structure, which includes the 1963 Phillip Johnson designed Pre-Columbian Pavillion.  And more recently DORCL has welcomed a new library in 2005 and an extensive renovation of the house and museum was completed in 2008.

The museum houses, amongst other things, the significant art collection amassed by the the Blisses during their State Department life overseas.  This includes two fascinating collections of Byzantine and Pre-Columbian art and artifacts, as well as displays of tapestries, sculptures, paintings, and furniture dating from the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries, which can be seen in the Music Room.  Continue reading