New Things to See, Do at Reopened Dumbarton House

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Karen Daly, executive director of Dumbarton House, Council member Jack Evans and Jane Boylin of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America cut the ribbon to reopen the Q Street house. Photo by Robert Devaney.

The historic 1799 Dumbarton House on Q Street in Georgetown officially reopened its doors to the public Saturday, June 3, with a ribbon-cutting by D.C. Council member Jack Evans, Dumbarton House Executive Director Karen Daly and Jane Boylin of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America. The house is the national headquarters of the society.

Dumbarton House’s new emphasis on community engagement is now in full swing, Daly told The Georgetowner. “We are planning many events that we think will connect to the Georgetown and neighboring communities, in particular in the gardens around the house and in the park on the corner of 27th and Q Streets.”

The museum has been closed for almost nine months to install a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. “It required the careful wrapping, packing, moving, storing, moving again, unpacking and repositioning of almost all the two-story home’s priceless collections,” said Collections and Facilities Manager Jerry Foust. “But now, not only will the collections be better protected, the visitors will be more comfortable during the hot days of Georgetown summers,” Daly said.

On June 14, 15 and 16, the Picnic Theater Company will perform Noel Coward’s “Hay Fever” on the terrace.

July will see the popular Jane Austen Film Festival and a Jane Austen exhibition, a variety of talks, an archaeology festival, Dolley Days and Girl Scout programs such as “At Ease With Etiquette Tea” and “Playing the Past.”

“Women of Vision” highlights the inspiring stories and accomplishments of 19 women from today — such as educator Robin Woods Loucks and museum director Gail Harrity — and from the past — such as Emily Warren Roebling, who took over the supervision of the Brooklyn Bridge’s construction when her husband Washington Roebling became incapacitated.

“The Exchange,” a two-part, stand-alone exhibition, features a rarely exhibited first printing of the 1777 Articles of Confederation side by side with a copy of the 1818 second edition of the Federalist Papers. On display for just five weeks, it is meant to provoke debate about democracy and the roles of federal, state and local government.

The museum was closed for almost nine months to install a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. “It required the careful wrapping, packing, moving, storing, moving again, unpacking and repositioning of almost all the two-story home’s priceless collections,” sighed Collections and Facilities Manager Jerry Foust.

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