Thing to Do

Explore the Dumbarton House

Color photo of exterior of Dumbarton House.

Preserving the built environment - including buildings, landscapes, and archaeological sites - is a way to remember and learn from the past. Throughout the country as well as in Washington, DC, women often initiated preservation efforts. The Dumbarton House, located in Georgetown, is one example of women preserving historic sites in the capital city.

Built around 1800, the Dumbarton House was once home to Charles Carroll, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He reportedly sheltered Dolley Madison as she fled from the burning White House and invading British troops in 1814.

The National Society of Colonial Dames of America, a patriotic nonprofit organization founded in 1891, purchased the house in 1928. They preserved the mansion and adapted it for their headquarters. In 1932, the organization began a major restoration project to return the house to what it originally looked like when it was built.

Dumbarton House is still the headquarters of The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America. The house is also a museum that features artifacts from the 1700s and 1800s. Explore the museum on your own or take an interpretive tour.

1-2 Hours
Living History
Pets Allowed
Entrance fees may apply, see Fees & Passes information.
Exterior of Tudor Place. tan walls with red domed porch. Green lawn in the foreground.
Tudor Place, Washington, D.C.

Photo taken by Carol Highsmith. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Explore More!

If you're in a curious mood after your visit to the Dumbarton House, take a fifteen minute stroll to Tudor Place located at 1644 31st Street NW. The house once belonged to Thomas and Martha Custis Peter. Martha was granddaughter of Martha Washington and the step-granddaughter of George Washington.

Thomas and Martha Custis Peter had three daughters named Columbia, America, and Brittania. Columbia and America died young, but Britannia lived to be 96 years old. Widowed when she was only 29, Britannia struggled to raise her only child Martha. When money was scarce, she rented out Tudor Place and eventually charged Union soldiers for lodging during the Civil War. Despite her financial struggles, Britannia was able to keep Tudor Place and many of the artifacts passed down from her great-grandparents.

Visit Tudor Place and view over 100 objects that belonged to George and Martha Washington.


Last updated: June 26, 2018