Tudor Place Historic House and Garden

Historic Site
Tudor Place Historic House and Garden photo
Emily Rusch - Tudor Place
The Neoclassical residence completed in 1816 is open to tours.
House viewed by guided tours on the hour; self-guided garden visits available whenever museum is open. House and Garden hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday noon-4 p.m. (Closed Mondays)
Dupont Circle (Red Line), Foggy Bottom (Blue/Orange Lines)
$10; $8 seniors, military and college students; $3 ages 5 to 17; younger free. Garden-only $2
Through 8/30

Silhouettes to Selfies: Slow Art, Fast Change

This exhibition explores the ways that technology and custom has changed the art of portraiture over the past two centuries.

Editorial Review

Historical importance: Martha Washington's granddaughter, Martha Custis Peter, and husband Thomas began construction on Tudor Place in 1805 with $8,000 inherited from George Washington. The stucco-covered neoclassical house, finished in 1816, with its distinctive circular domed portico, was designed by William Thornton, architect of the U.S. Capitol. Tudor Place has the largest collection of George and Martha Washington heirlooms and memorabilia apart from Mount Vernon. Like Dumbarton House, it had a view of the burning of the capital in 1814. President Andrew Jackson visited in 1837 on the anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans. Robert E. Lee, whose father was one of Washington's top cavalry officers and whose wife was Martha Washington's great-granddaughter, often slept here.

Tour highlights: Martha Washington thought she had destroyed all of her husband's letters, but three were found in a secret compartment of her desk at Tudor Place (the desk was given to Mount Vernon, but the letters remain). George Washington reluctantly sat for a miniature portrait on ivory that Martha Custis wanted as a wedding present; it's on display only on Monday.

Bring the kids? The staff says even kindergartners enjoy the house, but strollers must be left outside, and all exhibits are strictly hands-off. There will be special children's activities, including silhouette cutting and cardmaking, on Presidents' Day.

Tour information: Open house Monday from 11 to 1 for Presidents' Day ($15, age 18 and younger free). Regularly open for guided tours (about one hour) Tuesday-Friday at 10, 11:30, 1 and 2:30; Saturdays at 10, 11, noon, 1, 2 and 3; Sundays at noon, 1, 2 and 3. $6, age 65 and older $5, ages 13-21 $3, ages 6-12 $2. Groups of 10 or more require reservations.

Wheelchair access: Good.

While in the neighborhood: Sen. John and Jacqueline Kennedy lived at 3307 N St. NW for three years. On June 24, 1953, he proposed as they had dinner in Booth 3 of Martin's Tavern (Wisconsin Avenue at N Street NW; 202-333-7370).

Fun fact: The Peter children were named America, Britannia Wellington, George Washington and Columbia.

--Eve Zibart (Feb. 15, 2008)