Adventures written by the VAMONDE Team
Perhaps best known for its gardens with beautiful spring cherry blossoms, the Dumbarton Oaks estate also hosts a fascinating museum. While its collection is eclectic, it is primarily dedicated to exploring Pre-Columbian and Byzantine history and art. Take a walk through the museum by watching the video below.
Dumbarton Oaks was once home to Robert and Mildred Bliss. Robert was a diplomat, art collector and philanthropist who served as Ambassador to Argentina. His wife was the daughter of U.S. Congressman Demas Barnes. The couple donated the property, along with their extensive library and collections, to Harvard University in 1940. It is administered by the university to this day, as a "home of the humanities"
In addition to its extensive collections of Byzantine and Pre-Columbian artifacts, Dumbarton Oaks is also known for its beautiful gardens, and has become a focal point for those interested in Garden and Landscape Studies. It was originally designed by Beatrix Farrand, a landscape architect who famously worked on the White House as well. The Dumbarton Oaks garden is one of her few surviving works, and has been listed by National Geographic as one of the ten best gardens in the world.
Dumbarton Oaks hosts unique exhibitions that change periodically, as well as special events. Current exhibitions include "Woven Interiors: Furnishing Early and Medieval Egypt," "Ornament: Fragments of Byzantine Fashion," and "Piety and Pleasure: Western Travel and the Holy Land." Dumbarton Oaks is also famous for hosting classic music concerts. Check the link below to see what will be happening during your visit to D.C.
The museum and garden are open Tuesday-Sunday. Admission to the museum is free and it is open from 11:30AM-5PM. The garden is open from 2PM-6PM during its regular season (March 15-October 31) and may close due to hazardous weather conditions. Because it is so popular during the warm months, it is strongly suggested that visitors purchase their tickets in advance. The cost is $10 for adults, $8 for military and seniors (60+), $5 for students and children, and free for all Harvard faculty, students and staff (with university ID).
Cover photo "Dumbarton Oaks in April" by dc_gardens is licensed under CC BY 2.0