Yesterday the pirategirleee and I decided to pay a visit to the Daughter's of the American Revolution (DAR) Museum, on the occassion of their exhibit Telling Their Stories: 19th Century Samplers and Silk Embroideries. True, it is out of the period we research, but as historical embroidery enthusiasts, this is not an issue. After all, the world did not begin or end in the Sixteenth Century (or in the Pirate's case, the Fourteenth), and this sounded like an exceptionally good exhibit.
First of all, the actual building and location of the DAR is terrific. In my case, accross the street from my workplace. And can you believe that I have worked there for almost 16 years and never, once, paid a visit to the DAR? Unbelievable.
I can tell you this much. I will now become a regular.
But back to my story. The DAR is one of the most interesting, underrated jewels in our city. Did you know that when they purchased it back in the 1890's, the entire property was swampland? They told us that the men laughed at them when they got it.
Today, the DAR building, including Constitution Hall, which belongs to them too, is located in the popular D Street and Constitution Avenue, a couple of blocks from the White House, and it is worth a fortune.
Who is laughing now?
At any rate, when we started our visit, one of the docents told us that we should also visit their period rooms while we were at it. In particular, she recommended that we visit the Wisconsin room which is one of their most popular ones.
You see, they have thirteen period rooms, one for each of the original 13 states of the Union. Those rooms feature original furniture and objects, and each has been created thanks to the contributions of each state. Each one is different, and all of them are amazingly cool.
To make a long story short, we decided to go visit that particular room, and we ended up in a guided tour of the entire three floors, library included, lead by a lady well into her 80's, named Lee, who had an incredible knowledge of everything in the museum, and who would not be denied the pleasure to show us everything in sight. Following us were two other docents who requested permission to follow us, since they wanted to learn from the Master (Lee).
(We were later told that we were very lucky that we got her.)
I have to say, there was no visiting just one room. Not according to Lee anyway. This lady decided that she had a lot to show us, and therefore, we ended up doing the entire tour. Just try to say no to Lee. I dare you. The woman had more energy than any of us put together and, every time we said we would have to return later, she'd say "I have something to show you. Turn left."
And we did.
And it was worth it.
Every. Single. Time.
Anywhoo, the Wisconsin room was great, but my favorite ended up being the New Jersey one. This particular room features all wood panelling, and some very beautiful baroque furniture, stained glass windows, and an iron chandelier that would look great in any steampunk setting. Only that all this stuff was the real thing. And every single piece of furniture, as well as the panelling, had been carved out of a sunken ship. The chandelier was made out of the anchor. Really groovy.
Ohhh, and the Library! If you visit the DAR, you need to see that Library! It is something to behold.
And they also have a room dedicated to toys and dolls, and another one to instruments, and . . . and . . .
But you need to go see for yourself.
In the end, we were tired, but really happy that we went through the whole thing. I would strongly suggest to everyone to pay a visit. The exhibits are also free, and docent tours are given on Saturdays every half an hour.
Also for free.
And if you are really lucky, you might even get Lee.