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Octagon Museum

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Address: 1799 New York Ave Northwest, Washington DC, DC 20006
Phone Number: 202 638 3105
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Thu - Fri 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Fee: Yes

The Octagon Museum was built between 1798-1800 by John Tayloe at the...

The Octagon Museum was built between 1798-1800 by John Tayloe at the suggestion of George Washington. In 1814, the house was offered to President Madison as temporary quarters after the White House was burned in the War of 1812. The Treaty of Ghent was signed there, thus ending the war.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

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Great home!

This is an impressive and complex building, and well worth the visit! It's free and self-guided, which is nice because you can come in at any time they're open and go at your own... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed June 12, 2015
Washington DC, District of Columbia
via mobile

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12 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Level Contributor
62 reviews
47 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 26, 2015

Although it is called the Octagon House its configuration is more complex than that. A self guided tour takes you through the house explaining each room as you go. It isn't crowded so you have time to explore on your own. You can learn about the war in 1812 and the fact that the treaty ending the war was finally... More 

Thank odysseusChicago
Gaithersburg, Maryland
Level Contributor
156 reviews
59 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 17, 2015

The Octagon House is run by an architecture institute, whose modern building is behind the historic house that was built by a Virginia plantation owner when the city was just being established as our nation's capital. That it has survived pretty much intact with original floors, moldings, staircases, windows, brickwork, etc., is amazing, given the multiple occupants and uses, plus... More 

Thank Sally L
Columbus, Indiana
Level Contributor
67 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 21, 2015

Today, square and rectangular rooms in a house are the norm, but here's a structure built on a different plan (literally) - the core of the house is, as the name implies, an octagon. While perhaps not the most practical concept, it generally works well and makes for a very interesting federal style house. Certainly worth a visit just for... More 

Thank interceptpubs
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
2,218 reviews
1,228 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2,707 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 12, 2015 via mobile

This is an impressive and complex building, and well worth the visit! It's free and self-guided, which is nice because you can come in at any time they're open and go at your own pace, but I would have benefitted from a guided tour myself. Either way, it was interesting!

1 Thank WhitO5214
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
26 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 29, 2015

This is such a great place to visit with so much history. I loved how you could roam freely around the house without a guide. You could just wander from room to room like you owned the place. It is supposedly the most haunted house in DC. I was sad not to see a ghost! This is a quick place... More 

Thank BookishAnnie
Alexandria, VA
Level Contributor
1,152 reviews
559 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 409 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2015

Built when the 18th merged into the 19th century, the Octagon House is the oldest still standing in Washington, DC. It housed President and Mrs. Madison during the War of 1812, driven from the White House by the torches of the British. The American Institute of Architects have taken the lead on restoring the house with rooms on three floors... More 

Thank jeffl499
Kenton, Ohio
Level Contributor
22 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 5, 2014

Got to walk around it and take some pictures. Was recommended to me to see by someone who works in DC. They didn't know it was only open on certain days of the week. Would like to see it on the inside next time i'm there since it was a presidents home at one time.

1 Thank Anna7189
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Level Contributor
256 reviews
113 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 160 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 23, 2014

The oldest remaining building in DC. Over it's long history the building has had many functions: Government Offices, temporary Presidential home, tenement and the list goes on. Given it's age and various functions it's in remarkable good condition, with lots of work yet to be done. Near the entrance of each doorway in the house you will find a laminated... More 

1 Thank Patricia W
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
321 reviews
108 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 303 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 8, 2014

Run by the American Institute of Architects. Madison lived there during the War of 1812 when the White House got burned. Besides the unusual shape, it has some interesting features like back halls and stairs used by servants. If you're in the area of Corcoran, DAR and Dept of Interior anyway, might as well drop in.

1 Thank Lucky_Eddie

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