Wednesday 26 June 2019
By Stephanie Boyle, Director of Education, and Jerry Foust, Historic Site Director Summer in Washington, DC can be a roller coaster with weather oscillating from arid to humid, cool to hot, and dry to wet. It’s hard to know what the weather is from one part of the day to the next. Nevertheless, the gardens at Dumbarton House, your National Headquarters, grow on. The spring flowers and trees in bloom have given way to a more verdant palate and the summer season has brought a greater number of people out to enjoy the site. As June is coming to a close and July is set to begin, a number of blooms dot our landscape. The feature flora for June right now is the Monard Didyma (Bee Balm). Native to eastern North America, it was made into tea by Native Americans and European settlers to alleviate fevers and chills. The leaves emit a minty aroma and the bright scarlet tubular flowers entice the senses in our herb garden. But the bee balm is not alone in the herb garden; foxglove, primrose, cat mint, and Greek oregano are all flowering in the herb garden as well. The Hibiscus Syriacus (Rose of Sharon) is another bloom to which we are being treated. The North Garden is anchored on the northwest corner by our huge Rose of Sharon tree and it is loaded with blooms. Our “Red Heart” variety features white trumpet shaped flowers with a ruby red center and although it is a favorite of hummingbirds, I have yet to see one feasting on the nectar of this beautiful tree. The birds are not the only ones enjoying the peace and tranquility of our gardens however. We have a bunny (nicknamed Ninian) who has taken up residency in our North Garden. It can be seen running around and munching on clover in our backyard most every day of the week. Before the school year ended, we welcomed 5th grade DC Public School students for our Farm to Table field trip where students learn how food travels from the farm to kitchen tables in the 1800s and today. During their trip, they take an interactive tour of the herb garden and plant seeds to take home. This program integrates science, social studies, and nutrition to teach students about food production, healthy eating, and recycling. During the spring and summer we make full use of the grounds for public events as well. Our Sunday yoga series, now in its 5th year, kicked off in June and will continue through August. This is a great way to engage our local neighbors and get them to see Dumbarton House as a beautiful oasis in the bustling city. Dumbarton at Dusk, our evening third Thursday program, is another way to open our grounds and museum in the evening. Attendees have the chance to tour the museum and then enjoy the North Garden for music, food, and drinks. And finally, one of our favorite outdoor programs, the Jane Austen Film Festival, kicks off in July with Wednesday evening showings of 5 Jane Austen Film adaptations. Each year this film series brings 1,000+ guests to Dumbarton House to enjoy our beautiful gardens and grounds!
Tuesday 25 June 2019
On Sunday, June 23, 2019 our National Headquarters, Dumbarton House Museum was featured in a segment on NBC Washington! The conversation focused on the interpretation and preservation of the home, public programming, sustainability and the museum's new STEM exhibition. Some fun facts that you may not know about Dumbarton House, NSCDA Museum & Headquarters: - It's the only museum in Washington, DC to have received the Mayor's Award for Sustainability via the Department of Energy & Environment - It's the only house museum in Washington, DC that interprets the Federal Period (aka the era of Hamilton) - The museum was opened by the NSCDA in 1932! Click the image below to see the full video:
Friday 14 June 2019
Did you know that the NSCDA played a major role in building momentum to establish Flag Day as a nationally recognized day of remembrance? [caption id="attachment_12538" align="aligncenter" width="450"] [Two young girls hold American flags next to a plaque honoring Bernard J. Cigrand in Waubeka, Wisconsin, around 1949 as part of a Flag Day commemoration. UW Digital Collections][/caption]On June 14th, 1885, a 19 year old school teacher in Wisconsin named Bernard Cigrand displayed a 10-inch, 38-star flag in a bottle on his desk and asked his students to compose an essay on the significance of the flag. He chose this particular day because on June 14, 1777 Congress adopted the Stars and Stripes as the United States flag. And thus began Cigrand's life-long devotion to making Flag Day a national day of observance. In 1889, New York City kindergarten teacher, George Balch, held a Flag Day ceremony for his students, and his idea was later adopted by the New York State Board of Education. Two years later, in 1891, the idea of Flag Day had spread to Philadelphia, where the Betsy Ross House held a ceremony. In 1893, at the urging of the Sons of the Revolution, the Pennsylvania Society of The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America, lead by Elizabeth Duane Gillespie, adopted a resolution requesting the mayor of Philadelphia and all private citizens to display the Flag on June 14th. The Public Schools of Philadelphia joined the movement and hosted a large rally of students in Independence Square, each carrying a small flag while singing patriotic songs. Because of this, many credit Philadelphia as Flag Day's original home. However, it wasn't until May of 1916, that President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation calling for a nation-wide observance of Flag Day and not until August 3rd, 1949, that President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th as National Flag Day. Bernard Cigrand lived to see President Wilson's proclamation; his life-long quest fulfilled. Unfortunately he died in 1932, a full 17 years before President Truman's Act of Congress. Today many of our properties across the United States host Flag Day ceremonies and celebrations and we encourage all Americans to fly their flags in commemoration of the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777.