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“Unique Museum”
Review of Dumbarton Oaks

Dumbarton Oaks
Ranked #55 of 443 things to do in Washington DC
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Dumbarton Oaks is an institute of Harvard University dedicated to supporting scholarship internationally in Byzantine, Garden and Landscape, and Pre-Columbian studies through fellowships, meetings, exhibitions, and publications. It opens its doors to the public to visit its historic Gardens, designed by Beatrix Farrand; its Museum, with world-class collections of art; and its Music Room, for lectures and concerts.
Level Contributor
127 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
“Unique Museum”
Reviewed September 17, 2012

We went to the museum, which is free although it has limited hours. We had no trouble finding on street parking. You get two hours, and not a second more or you will get a ticket ($35) but you can easily see everything in less than that time.

On Saturdays they have a special tour of the house which is free but limited to 15 people. Its interesting and you can also view the gardens from the windows. The gardens are not free of charge,

The artwork on display was from 900 BC to 500AD approximately, yet it was all in such good condition that you would never guess the age.

We went with 3 teenagers, and we all found this interesting. You could try your hand at stone sculpting, see 2000 year old bling, chuckle at some absurdities, or just appreciate the intrinsic quality of the artwork and craftsmanship.

They didn't seem to mind photography.

Visited September 2012
1 Thank Maryland0505
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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266 reviews from our community

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Leesburg, Virginia
Level Contributor
85 reviews
44 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“great way to spend the afternoon”
Reviewed September 17, 2012

We enjoyed strolling around the beautiful gardens at Dumbarton Oaks. Keep in mind that there are some steps so, the garden is not stroller and wheel chair friendly.

There is also a museum with a collection of Ancient Roman, Byzantine and Pre-Columbian artifacts. It has a separate entrance around the corner from the garden. Look for it so you won't miss it.

There is an entrance fee to visit the gardens but the museum is free.

Visited September 2012
Thank MonaLisa1506
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alexandria, Virginia
Level Contributor
67 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Terrific destination and worth the search to find it”
Reviewed August 31, 2012

This is a beautiful museum affiliated with Harvard University. The museum offers beautiful mosaics, Greek and Italian art along with ver interesting wing of pre-Columbian. The hardest part is finding parking in this residential Georgetown neighborhood.

Take a good look at the map or call ahead to get best sense of actual front door. It is easy to end up walking around the large building to find the official "front door". Lockers provided for big purses, umbrellas, shopping bags. Walk over to Wisconsin Avenue for lunch or sodas. There is nothing onsite for beverages or snack other than a water fountain. Tiny elevator might be tough for many wheelchairs. Spectacular and historic setting. Call ahead or check website to make sure of their hours. As i recall they are not open as long as some DC museums.

Visited August 2012
1 Thank TheresaVA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“If Only the Staffers Were Not Quite so Rude and the Hours were Longer”
Reviewed August 27, 2012

It is truly a spectacular garden, but with only three visiting hours per day, it does require some planning to get here during that time frame. Also, the staffers (not the security guards, ironically enough) are incredibly rude and do their best to make you feel as if you are an intrusion on their lives, merely by showing up even a few minutes early, which, given the timeframe for visiting mentioned above, is surely a frequent occurrence.

Visited August 2012
Thank JHildom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DumbartonOaks, Public Relations Manager at Dumbarton Oaks, responded to this review, September 18, 2012
I'm so sorry to hear that you had a negative encounter with a member (or members) of our staff! Certainly showing up early should not have been perceived by staffers as "an intrusion in their lives." We're constantly monitoring our public face in these days of increased visitor numbers, and members of staff who interact with the public are partially evaluated on their ability to do so. I'm confident that any chronic issue has been or will be addressed. I'm glad that you enjoyed the gardens nonetheless; thank you for your feedback!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bethesda, Maryland
Level Contributor
107 reviews
71 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Great Pre Columbian Art...great gardens”
Reviewed August 24, 2012

This is a very special park in Washington and well worth a visit.. It's charming especially in Spring. The Pre-Columbian art collection is a treat.

Thank Pat S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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