Dumbarton Oaks Gardens Closed for 8 Months

On Monday, July 10, the gardens at Georgetown’s Dumbarton Oaks — the Harvard-owned research library that exhibits Byzantine and Pre-Columbian art and artifacts in a pavilion designed by Philip Johnson — closed to the public. Over the next eight months, the water-supply network will receive a major upgrade, improving storm-water management throughout the property. The reopening date is March 15, 2018.

For three decades beginning in the 1920s, the Dumbarton Oaks gardens were designed and realized by Beatrix Ferrand, the sole woman founder of the American Society of Landscape Architects, working closely with Mildred Bliss, who owned the 53-acre estate with her husband Robert Woods Bliss. Later, other landscape architects, including Ruth Havey and Alden Hopkins, modified the gardens; nonetheless, they are one of the few largely intact major works by Ferrand.

In 1940, the Blisses donated the upper 10 acres of the property to Harvard University and another 27 acres to the U.S. government for a park. The remaining 10 were sold, becoming the site of the new Danish Embassy, designed by Vilhelm Lauritzen, at 3200 Whitehaven St. NW.

The museum at Dumbarton Oaks, located at 1703 32nd St. NW, reopened in April after renovations.


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