ARLIS/NA Conference in D.C.: Tours and sites of interest to the FTC SIG


By now you will have noticed that there aren’t any specific FTC-related tours on the upcoming conference agenda.  Not to worry!  Kathy Woodrell, the Conference Local Arrangements Co-Chair, has created a list of tours and sites that should be of interest to our group.  (See below.  And, thanks, Kathy!)

NOTE:  If anyone has any particular interest in visiting one of the venues not included in the ARLIS/NA official tours, please note your interest here.  If enough people express interest, we can set a time and share cab fair.

Sandra Ley, FTC SIG Moderator



Tours of interest to the Fashion, Textile, and Costume SIG of ARLIS/NA, and to others interested in the Decorative Arts.

Compiled by Kathy Woodrell, ARLIS/NA 2014 Local-Arrangements co-chair

ARLIS/NA-sponsored tours:

Hillwood:  Home of heiress and socialite Marjorie Merriweather Post, Hillwood is extraordinary. Mrs. Post wore gorgeous clothing and shoes, and there are usually dresses, shoes, and dazzling jewelry on display. On the tour of the mansion you will see opulent  collections and objects including the largest collection of Russian Imperial art outside of Russia, and a phenomenal collection of Sevres porcelain and French decorative arts. The greenhouse is filled with blooming orchids, and you can wander the 25 acres of landscaped gardens and natural woodlands at your leisure.  

George Washington’s Mount Vernon and the Woodlawn Plantation: ;  This tour will highlight three historic homes. Household textiles are on view in each of these magnificent homes. Some clothing is on view at Mount Vernon. Personal posessions of George and Martha Washington are on view in the Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center on the grounds of Mount Vernon.

Diplomatic Reception Rooms at the Department of State : Two tours are being offered. One is combined with the Federal Reserve Board and its contemporary art collection. The other is the Diplomatic Reception Rooms at the Department of State. This is one of the finest collections of Federal and early American-era furniture; while textiles are not the emphasis of the collection, they can be seen in some of the exquisite furnishings. This tour will be of interest to decorative arts aficionados.

Behind-the-Scenes Lace Tour:  I have confirmed a tour of the lace collections at the National Museum of American History on Friday, May 2 from 10:00 to noon. [I am close to confirming a concurrent tour of the quilt collections for the group during the same time – everyone on the tour will see both lace and quilt collections. I will announce this tour on ARLIS –L as soon as it is finalized.]  See additional information below about other textile-related collections at this museum.

Non-ARLIS/NA tours and venues

National Museum of American History  The Museum has an exhibit of First Ladies gowns, which depict the fashion progression in the United States as worn by First Ladies throughout history. There is also a small exhibit on quilts and textiles in the National Museum of American History.  And don’t overlook the flag that inspired the Star-Spangled Banner – .  One of the largest textile fragments on display, seeing the remains of this flag that survived the Battle of Baltimore and inspired Francis Scott Key is a moving and patriotic symbol of our history.

Although not textile-related, who can resist peering into Julia Child’s kitchen from her Cambridge Massachusetts home? This is the kitchen where The French Chef was filmed for many years.   

The DAR Museum  has a large collection of quilts on display. In addition, their period rooms have a wide variety of household textiles, and occasionally include costumes and typical clothing of the period.

The National Gallery of Art West Wing has an amazing collection of Federal and Early-American era furnishings in the Kaufmann collection.  While not focused on textiles, this exemplary collection of furniture and related decorative arts objects is a recent addition to the National Gallery of Art collection, and is phenomenal.

The National Museum of the American Indian has many displays in cases that include beaded moccasins, ceremonial clothing, basketry, and other textiles from a variety of North American tribes. Although not textile-related, the cafeteria in this museum offers a wide variety of native-American foods.

Anacostia Community Museum has an astonishing exhibition of beadwork titled “Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence. Ubuhle was established as a platform where local African women could use the beading skills they inherited as a means of achieving financial independence. The museum also has an exhibition titled Home Sewn: Quilts from the Lower Mississippi Valley.

Textile Museum – The Textile Museum is currently transitioning to a new site and a new cooperative partnership. During the ARLIS/NA conference, no exhibitions are planned, and no collections can be seen. More information about the Museum’s newly announced partnership is available on the website. For those of you not attending the Society Circle event on Thursday, May 1, The Textile Museum is sponsoring an event at George Washington University titled “Do You Nuno? The Story of Nuno Textiles.” For more information please visit the Museum website above, and look under “calendar.”


Author: Sandra Ley

Sandra Ley is the visual arts and fashion design librarian for Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona.

2 thoughts on “ARLIS/NA Conference in D.C.: Tours and sites of interest to the FTC SIG”

  1. All, you will see that there is an ARLIS/NA conference tour to Hillwood on Thursday, May 1. If there is enough interest from this group I can make arrangements to add to this tour a stop in the textile lab or even see if the Curator of Textiles could be available to meet you (he normally is not onsite on Thursdays, but we can try!). Let me know, Kristen

    1. This sounds like a great opportunity. Thank you, Kristen!
      FTC’ers – please respond if you’re interested in this possibility.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s