Women’s History Museums in Washington, D.C.

Hillwood.jpg
Photo © Maxwell MacKenzie

Washington, D.C. is the home to several museums that focus on women's history and preserve and honor the contributions of women in America. Plan a visit and learn about some of the women who influenced the equal rights movement, local and national politics, the arts and more. While these important historic sites are interesting places to explore year-round, be sure to check out their special programs during the month of March when they celebrate Women's History Month. See special exhibits, attend educational lectures and participate in a variety of interactive activities that celebrate the contributions of women.

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    Daughters of the American Revolution Headquarters
    Courtesy of Daughters of the American Revolution Headquarters

    The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) was founded in 1890 as a women's organization dedicated to preserving American history and promoting patriotism. Its national headquarters, located in the heart of Washington, D.C., houses a museum, a library and a concert hall. The DAR museum features 32 Period Rooms that depict regional American furnishings from the 17th to the early 20th century.

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    Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site

    McLeod_Adam-Fagen.jpg
    Photo © Adam Fagen

    The Mary McLeod Bethune Council House served as headquarters for the National Council of Negro Women from 1943 to 1966. This site commemorates the life of Mary McLeod Bethune, an African American woman who grew up in poverty in South Carolina, yet rose to become an influential educator, presidential advisor, and political activist.

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    National Museum of Women in the Arts
    © Tom Field

    The National Museum of Women in the Arts is located in the heart of Washington, D.C. and is the only museum in the world dedicated solely to celebrating the artistic achievements of women. The museum's permanent collection features more than 3,000 works of art by women from the 16th century to the present.

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    Clara Barton National Historic Site

    Clara Barton Historic Site
    © National Park Service

    The home of Clara Barton served as the headquarters and warehouse for the American Red Cross where she coordinated relief efforts for victims of natural disasters and war from 1897-1904. Clara Barton National Historic Site is located adjacent to Glen Echo Park, a National Park for the arts.

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    Hillwood.jpg
    Photo © Maxwell MacKenzie

    The 25-acre estate of Marjorie Merriweather Post displays an impressive collection of 18th and 19th century Russian and French decorative arts and formal and informal gardens. Marjorie Merriweather Post was the heir to the Post cereal fortune and was an art collector and a noted philanthropist. Hillwood Museum & Gardens is located between the Cleveland Park and Van Ness neighborhoods on the edge of Rock Creek Park in NW Washington, D.C.

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    Sewall-Belmont House Museum
    Photo © Bill Rand

    Sewall-Belmont House and Museum is a women's history museum that displays fine art and artifacts from the women's suffrage and equal rights movements. Visitors see furniture belonging to Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and National Women's Party Party founder, Alice Paul. The museum is a national historic landmark and has been the historic headquarters of the National Woman's Party since 1929. Family-friendly programs are available including arts & crafts and storytelling.

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    Woman's National Democratic Club Museum
    © Rachel Cooper

    The Woman's National Democratic Club provides a forum where Democrats gather to study and discuss current issues. The museum displays a collection of memorabilia and antique furnishings. The Woman's National Democratic Club is located in the historic Whittemore House, a nineteenth century home originally built for Sarah Adams Whittemore, a Washington, DC opera singer.

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    The National Women’s History Museum is a nonprofit educational institution established with the intent to build the first ever national museum in Washington, D.C. Since 1996, the National Women’s History Museum has been working to raise funds and secure a prominent site on the National Mall that celebrates and honors women’s contributions to American history and culture, ensuring that women’s voices are included in our national narrative. If you would like to support this project, you may send a donation to National Women’s History Museum, 205 S. Whiting Street, Alexandria VA 22304 or online.