Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, one of the country’s premier homes for Pre-Columbian American and Byzantine art and artifacts, sits quietly in a Georgetown mansion less than a mile up the road from the Graham. And while much of the complex is a research library closed to the public, the museum and its extensive gardens are open to visitors, a fact anyone tired of the crowds at the Smithsonian’s museums should well remember.
Like many institutions that make up Georgetown culture, Dumbarton Oaks is affiliated with higher education. An institute of Harvard University, it is at once a research center, museum, library, garden, and concert venue.
The center’s collections from the Byzantine empire as well as Pre-Columbian Latin Americas and its devotion to furthering research on those topics, have led Dumbarton Oaks to become an authoritative source in the field.. Visit the museum, which is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11:30am to 5pm, to peruse ivory icons and other artifacts (numbering roughly 1,200 in total) that span 11 centuries of Byzantine history. Also on view? Pharaonic Egyptian as well as Ancient Greek and Roman works of art. In the Pre-Columbian galleries, stone Aztec carvings, jade from Teotihuacan cultures, and silver from Incan Peru line the walls.
The exploration continues outside in the Gardens at Dumbarton Oaks. Lofted up at one of the highest points of Georgetown, the grounds feature plantlife from around the world, beautifully landscaped in sculpted garden beds. Find peace in the Star Garden, where a statue of Aquarius sends a fountain of water into a yellow marble basin, surrounded by an array of other r astrological figures. Another hidden spot is the Pebble Garden tucked behind wisteria-covered walls, with imported Mexican rocks surrounded by curvy grass outlines.
Walk throughs and guided tours of both the gardens and museum at Dumbarton Oaks make it an easy and thoroughly enjoyable destination for all Georgetown visitors. The best part? If you’re planning on visiting Dumbarton Oaks you can use the booking code DBO for a ten percent discount when reserving your room with the Graham. We hope to see you soon!