Riversdale House Museum

Riversdale House Museum Riversdale, an elegant Federal home, was constructed between 1801 and 1807 for Henri Stier, a Flemish aristocrat, and completed by his daughter Rosalie and her husband George Calvert, grandson of the fifth Lord Baltimore.
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Today, this architectural gem has been restored to reflect the lifestyle of the Calverts in the early 19th century. Archaeology, archival records, and oral histories are used to provide modern-day visitors with a better understanding of 19th century life. Rosalie Calvert's letters are used to piece together the life of a gentry-class woman living in rural Maryland. Adam Francis Plummer, an enslave

Today, this architectural gem has been restored to reflect the lifestyle of the Calverts in the early 19th century. Archaeology, archival records, and oral histories are used to provide modern-day visitors with a better understanding of 19th century life. Rosalie Calvert's letters are used to piece together the life of a gentry-class woman living in rural Maryland. Adam Francis Plummer, an enslave

Operating as usual

09/06/2021
François-Auguste-René, vicomte de Chateaubriand (born #OTD in 1768), was a notable 19th-century French author--one that ...
09/04/2021

François-Auguste-René, vicomte de Chateaubriand (born #OTD in 1768), was a notable 19th-century French author--one that Rosalie found "quite imaginative" when she was reading one of his works in 1817.

Before becoming an author, Chateaubriand was a cavalry officer, but at the start of the French Revolution he sailed to North America rather than join the Royalists. His early work "Atala, ou Les Amours de deux sauvages dans le désert" chronicled his time in North America, particularly that spent with the Native American tribes in the Niagara Falls area.

Throughout his life, Chateaubriand's writings had a "profound influence on the youth of his day."

François-Auguste-René, vicomte de Chateaubriand (born #OTD in 1768), was a notable 19th-century French author--one that Rosalie found "quite imaginative" when she was reading one of his works in 1817.

Before becoming an author, Chateaubriand was a cavalry officer, but at the start of the French Revolution he sailed to North America rather than join the Royalists. His early work "Atala, ou Les Amours de deux sauvages dans le désert" chronicled his time in North America, particularly that spent with the Native American tribes in the Niagara Falls area.

Throughout his life, Chateaubriand's writings had a "profound influence on the youth of his day."

Do you have a little one who has recently started school? Are they still dealing with those first day jitters? Then tag ...
09/03/2021

Do you have a little one who has recently started school? Are they still dealing with those first day jitters? Then tag us in a photo of your little one at Riversdale and they'll be entered into a drawing for the chance to win this book by Jory John & Liz Climo! Drawing will be on Tuesday, September 14th.

Do you have a little one who has recently started school? Are they still dealing with those first day jitters? Then tag us in a photo of your little one at Riversdale and they'll be entered into a drawing for the chance to win this book by Jory John & Liz Climo! Drawing will be on Tuesday, September 14th.

We've got our (virtual) hard hats on while we make some changes to the riversdale.org website. This means that it won't ...
09/01/2021

We've got our (virtual) hard hats on while we make some changes to the riversdale.org website. This means that it won't be accessible for a little while...we'll update you when it's live again! 👷‍♀️👷👷‍♂️

We've got our (virtual) hard hats on while we make some changes to the riversdale.org website. This means that it won't be accessible for a little while...we'll update you when it's live again! 👷‍♀️👷👷‍♂️

Today marks the start of International Underground Railroad Month! As the place that Emily Saunders Plummer was freed, R...
09/01/2021

Today marks the start of International Underground Railroad Month! As the place that Emily Saunders Plummer was freed, Riversdale is a National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom site.

In honor of #UGRR month, all weekend, you can explore the stories of some of Riversdale's enslaved families and individuals with self-guided tours, a Kitchen Guild demonstration, and family-friendly activities. Tours are free all weekend, and you can also take part in Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day on the 18th by printing off a ticket through their website!

Today marks the start of International Underground Railroad Month! As the place that Emily Saunders Plummer was freed, Riversdale is a National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom site.

In honor of #UGRR month, all weekend, you can explore the stories of some of Riversdale's enslaved families and individuals with self-guided tours, a Kitchen Guild demonstration, and family-friendly activities. Tours are free all weekend, and you can also take part in Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day on the 18th by printing off a ticket through their website!

08/27/2021

With this storm coming through, tonight’s concert is now cancelled!

If you are planning on visiting Riversdale soon, keep an eye out for the new tablescapes, researched and designed by A T...
08/27/2021

If you are planning on visiting Riversdale soon, keep an eye out for the new tablescapes, researched and designed by A Taste of History with Joyce White. Joyce is our resident foodways historian and she dug into the types of food enslaved men, women, and children might eat in the Chesapeake area.

In Frederick Law Olmsted’s A Journey on the Seaboard Slave States (c.1856), described what often consisted of supper: a small amount of fried bacon, eggs, cornbread (baked in the same spider pan that the bacon was fried), and some kind of fresh produce like sweet potatoes or greens. The vegetables and eggs (from chickens) were often produced by the enslaved themselves.

This meal was quite different in quantity and quality from the supper Olmstead ate with a slaveholding family, which he describes as consisting of “hot biscuit and corn-cake....fried fowl, and fried bacon and eggs, and cold ham; there were preserved peaches, and preserved quinces and grapes; there was hot wheaten biscuit, and hot short-cake, and hot corn-cake, and hot griddle cakes, soaked in butter; there was coffee, and there was milk, sour or sweet, whichever I preferred to drink. I really ate more than I wanted, and extolled the corn-cake and the peach preserve, and asked how they were made....”

¡No olvides que tenemos un concierto este viernes a las 6 de la tarde! Busque la mesa del Museo de Aviación de College P...
08/25/2021

¡No olvides que tenemos un concierto este viernes a las 6 de la tarde! Busque la mesa del Museo de Aviación de College Park que volará hacia nuestro vecindario. Aprenda sobre el museo de la aviación y el Riversdale House Museum, mientras escucha a los músicos de la Universidad de Maryland. 🎶

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Don't forget, we have a concert this Friday at 6pm! Look for the table from College Park Aviation Museum who will be Soaring into Our Neighborhood. Learn about the aviation museum, and Riversdale House Museum, while listening to the musicians from the University of Maryland! 🎶

Did you know that Riversdale House Museum is a part of Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail? As Rosalie Calvert ...
08/24/2021
Places - Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail (U.S. National Park Service)

Did you know that Riversdale House Museum is a part of Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail? As Rosalie Calvert witnessed and wrote about the Battle of Bladensburg, Riversdale joins many other sites on the trail. Read about or even plan a day trip when sites reopen to one of these for the full War of 1812 history experience! While our own sister sites Darnall's Chance and Mt. Calvert are featured on the trail, you might not realize some of the other 1812 connections in the area!

Every region near the Chesapeake Bay was affected in some way by the War of 1812. The British occupied the Bay through most of the war, using its tidal waterways to access towns all along the coasts. After declaring a blockade on the Bay in 1812, the British established a base on Tangier Island and....

Have you seen this article in the The Hyattsville Wire? What a gorgeous photo they've captured of the gardens. Laura and...
08/23/2021
Inside Riversdale House's Historic Garden

Have you seen this article in the The Hyattsville Wire? What a gorgeous photo they've captured of the gardens. Laura and her team of volunteers have been hard at work to create such a beautiful place for us to enjoy.

Remember, please don't pick any of the fruits, veggies, or flowers. This way, all of our visitors get to experience the garden as it's meant to be! 💚

It's the end of summer and the eight plots at the Riversdale House Museum historic garden are thriving with a variety of flowers in full bloom, summer vegetables and other field crops typical of the early 1800s.

Ahoy! Why not prepare for the Battle of Bladensburg by seeing what life like aboard a War of 1812 ship like the USS Cons...
08/21/2021
Home - A Sailors Life For Me!

Ahoy! Why not prepare for the Battle of Bladensburg by seeing what life like aboard a War of 1812 ship like the USS Constitution? Kids (and adults!) can play their way through this game, swabbing the deck, navigating the hold, and managing money in the ship store. Good luck, sailors...let us know how you do!

Adam Francis Plummer met Emily Saunders in 1839, when she was visiting Riversdale from Three Sisters Plantation to care ...
08/19/2021

Adam Francis Plummer met Emily Saunders in 1839, when she was visiting Riversdale from Three Sisters Plantation to care for a sick aunt. They would be married in Washington DC in 1841.

From this moment until 1863, Adam and Emily never lived beneath the same roof. At first separated by about 5 miles, Adam would visit Emily and their children at Three Sisters every weekend. However, when Emily and some of their children were sold to the Thompsons, this visitation was made much more difficult due to an increased distance. By 1861, when she wrote this letter, Emily had been moved to one of the Thompson's properties, called Woodlawn. The proximity of Woodlawn to Baltimore gave Emily the chance to attempt a final escape with the children that remained with her in 1863. They were caught and arrested, and after being jailed for two months, Adam was able to come to Baltimore to bail them out and bring them back to Riversdale. This ended their decades-long separation, and they remained together in one home until her death in 1876.

Adam Francis Plummer met Emily Saunders in 1839, when she was visiting Riversdale from Three Sisters Plantation to care for a sick aunt. They would be married in Washington DC in 1841.

From this moment until 1863, Adam and Emily never lived beneath the same roof. At first separated by about 5 miles, Adam would visit Emily and their children at Three Sisters every weekend. However, when Emily and some of their children were sold to the Thompsons, this visitation was made much more difficult due to an increased distance. By 1861, when she wrote this letter, Emily had been moved to one of the Thompson's properties, called Woodlawn. The proximity of Woodlawn to Baltimore gave Emily the chance to attempt a final escape with the children that remained with her in 1863. They were caught and arrested, and after being jailed for two months, Adam was able to come to Baltimore to bail them out and bring them back to Riversdale. This ended their decades-long separation, and they remained together in one home until her death in 1876.

It is believed that the "malignant bilious disease" that Rosalie mentions in this November 1813 letter to her father was...
08/18/2021

It is believed that the "malignant bilious disease" that Rosalie mentions in this November 1813 letter to her father was typhoid fever.

Typhoid fever is a bacterial infection caused by Salmonella typhi, and is transmitted person to person through contaminated water or food. At this point in time, the infection was not understood, which allowed its rampant spread through the area. Marie Louise was not the only one to be infected even at Riversdale, with many of the enslaved and paid workforce becoming ill, as well as Marie Louise's sister, Eugenia.

It wouldn't be until 1879 that Karl Joseph Eberth discovered the specific bacterium in the the abdominal lymph nodes and the spleen of a patient. Almroth Edward Wright developed the first effective vaccine for typhoid fever in 1896, where it was first used in the military to protect soldiers who lived in close quarters.

It is believed that the "malignant bilious disease" that Rosalie mentions in this November 1813 letter to her father was typhoid fever.

Typhoid fever is a bacterial infection caused by Salmonella typhi, and is transmitted person to person through contaminated water or food. At this point in time, the infection was not understood, which allowed its rampant spread through the area. Marie Louise was not the only one to be infected even at Riversdale, with many of the enslaved and paid workforce becoming ill, as well as Marie Louise's sister, Eugenia.

It wouldn't be until 1879 that Karl Joseph Eberth discovered the specific bacterium in the the abdominal lymph nodes and the spleen of a patient. Almroth Edward Wright developed the first effective vaccine for typhoid fever in 1896, where it was first used in the military to protect soldiers who lived in close quarters.

Rosalie writes often to her siblings Isabelle and Charles about books and literature—including Sir Walter Scott, who was...
08/15/2021

Rosalie writes often to her siblings Isabelle and Charles about books and literature—including Sir Walter Scott, who was one of her favorites. It’s unsurprising when he was using Fingal’s Cave for inspiration!

In anticipation of our Picnic Pod Concert with the Polka Terps tonight, here's a little history about polka music!The po...
08/13/2021

In anticipation of our Picnic Pod Concert with the Polka Terps tonight, here's a little history about polka music!

The polka was originally created in Bohemia (now the Czech Republic) and the word refers to the "half-tempo and the half-jump step of the dance." By 1839, polka had made its way into the ballrooms of Paris and a period of "polkamania" took hold. It of course eventually spread to the rest of Europe, and made its way across to America by the mid-1840s.

Face coverings are not required outside, but we ask that you spread yourselves apart from other groups. You will need a mask if you need the restrooms inside. Contact tracing and participant waiver information are required for all participants, so please check in with a member of staff before finding a seat.

Image: "Dancing the Polka" by Benjamin W. Thayer & Co (Boston Public Library)

In anticipation of our Picnic Pod Concert with the Polka Terps tonight, here's a little history about polka music!

The polka was originally created in Bohemia (now the Czech Republic) and the word refers to the "half-tempo and the half-jump step of the dance." By 1839, polka had made its way into the ballrooms of Paris and a period of "polkamania" took hold. It of course eventually spread to the rest of Europe, and made its way across to America by the mid-1840s.

Face coverings are not required outside, but we ask that you spread yourselves apart from other groups. You will need a mask if you need the restrooms inside. Contact tracing and participant waiver information are required for all participants, so please check in with a member of staff before finding a seat.

Image: "Dancing the Polka" by Benjamin W. Thayer & Co (Boston Public Library)

Elizabeth Parke Custis married Thomas Law in 1796, but just a few short years later they were not often living in the sa...
08/12/2021

Elizabeth Parke Custis married Thomas Law in 1796, but just a few short years later they were not often living in the same place. They separated in 1804 and divorced in 1811, shocking society in the Federal City.

Which is unsurprising, considering in the 19th century, Webster's Dictionary defined marriage as "the act of uniting man and woman, as husband and wife, for life." Divorce was extremely difficult in this period, but attainable by those who could afford it. This was in addition to the wife needing to prove that she had fulfilled her duties, despite the fact that her husband husband willfully did not.

Elizabeth Parke Custis married Thomas Law in 1796, but just a few short years later they were not often living in the same place. They separated in 1804 and divorced in 1811, shocking society in the Federal City.

Which is unsurprising, considering in the 19th century, Webster's Dictionary defined marriage as "the act of uniting man and woman, as husband and wife, for life." Divorce was extremely difficult in this period, but attainable by those who could afford it. This was in addition to the wife needing to prove that she had fulfilled her duties, despite the fact that her husband husband willfully did not.

Campfire traditions are the best... Don't miss out on Campfire Chanties and Stories: Tales of the Battle of Bladensburg ...
08/10/2021

Campfire traditions are the best... Don't miss out on Campfire Chanties and Stories: Tales of the Battle of Bladensburg to create some new ones!

https://fb.me/e/19KlnFGk1

Today we're flashing back in time to look at an article from December 1950 in the Maryland Historical Magazine. Edith Ro...
08/06/2021

Today we're flashing back in time to look at an article from December 1950 in the Maryland Historical Magazine. Edith Rossiter Bevan wrote an article called "Gardens and Gardening in Early Maryland." Here, she tells us quite a few interesting things about the early days of the St. Mary City settlement in the Maryland colony. She wrote:

"Every man who landed on the shore of St. Mary's River in the early spring of 1634 had been instructed to bring with him 'Seede Weate, Rie, Barley and Oats, Kernells...of Peares and Apples for making thereafter Cider and Perry...'. Soon the little City of St. Mary's was laid out and each settler was allotted enough ground to build a house and plant a garden at the 'backside'.

A year later, a report gives a fuller picture of everything the settlers brought with them: "...English Pease...Muskmellons, Cowcumbers, with all sorts of garden Roots and Herbes, [such] as Carrots, Parsenips, Turnips, Cabbages, Radish, with many more. . . . They have Peares, Apples and several sorts of Plummes, Peaches in abundance...Mellons and Pumpions; Apricockes, Figgs and Pomegrantes... [and] Orange and Limon Trees..." Many of these would one day be grown at Riversdale as well.

If you'd like to read the full article, head here: tinyurl.com/GardensBevan

Today we're flashing back in time to look at an article from December 1950 in the Maryland Historical Magazine. Edith Rossiter Bevan wrote an article called "Gardens and Gardening in Early Maryland." Here, she tells us quite a few interesting things about the early days of the St. Mary City settlement in the Maryland colony. She wrote:

"Every man who landed on the shore of St. Mary's River in the early spring of 1634 had been instructed to bring with him 'Seede Weate, Rie, Barley and Oats, Kernells...of Peares and Apples for making thereafter Cider and Perry...'. Soon the little City of St. Mary's was laid out and each settler was allotted enough ground to build a house and plant a garden at the 'backside'.

A year later, a report gives a fuller picture of everything the settlers brought with them: "...English Pease...Muskmellons, Cowcumbers, with all sorts of garden Roots and Herbes, [such] as Carrots, Parsenips, Turnips, Cabbages, Radish, with many more. . . . They have Peares, Apples and several sorts of Plummes, Peaches in abundance...Mellons and Pumpions; Apricockes, Figgs and Pomegrantes... [and] Orange and Limon Trees..." Many of these would one day be grown at Riversdale as well.

If you'd like to read the full article, head here: tinyurl.com/GardensBevan

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4811 Riverdale Rd
Riverdale Park, MD
20737

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TOUR HOURS Fridays & Sunday noon-3:30 pm (tours depart from the Visitor Center on the quarter hour, 12:15-3:15pm) Groups of 10 or my by appointment VISITOR CENTER & OFFICE/STAFF HOURS Monday – Friday 9am-5pm Sunday – noon-3:30 pm Riversdale, an elegant Federal home, was constructed between 1801 and 1807 for Henri Stier, a Flemish aristocrat, and completed by his daughter Rosalie and her husband George Calvert, grandson of the fifth Lord Baltimore. Today, this architectural gem has been restored to reflect the lifestyle of the Calverts in the early 19th century. Archaeology, archival records, and oral histories are used to provide modern-day visitors with a better understanding of 19th century life. Rosalie Calvert's letters are used to piece together the life of a gentry-class woman living in rural Maryland. Adam Francis Plummer, an enslaved man owned by the Calverts, wrote a rare first-person account of slavery. Their stories have been preserved and are retold at Riversdale. The museum is open to the public for docent-guided tours and for a variety of special events. It may also be rented for weddings, receptions, luncheons, and business meetings. The Riversdale Historical Society, a volunteer organization, works with M-NCPPC staff to preserve the cultural heritage of Riversdale and maintain the mansion as an historic house. For more information, visit us at www.riversdale.org or http://history.pgparks.com

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Comments

An interesting program on CSPAN-3/Book TV
Just want to be sure.. Is the annual 12th Night Supper-Ball not planned for next January (2021), or did I miss the ticket sales..? Thanks for any update..
Cooking up Joyce White's steak and ale pie for tonight. (Using Guiness Kaliber for the ale.)
The grocery store was out of rosemary. Knew I could find some at Riversdale.
HELLO, from Antwerp, Belgium. This article about the museum and the folk festival, appeared today in the antwerp newspaper, " Gazet van Antwerpen" .Brasschaat is a municipality not far from Antwerp
Thank you all!
Love the events at Riverdale House Museum!❣️
I finally saw the Rubens’ painting of Romulus and Remus at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh that was once at Riversdale Mansion. It’s a little larger than our copy in the Parlor. I’m going to email the curator to tell him about its provenance at Riversdale if he doesn’t already know. The museum is quite fabulous and sits on 100 acres outside of the downtown near the airport. It looks a little like an airline hangar.
This painting has traveled far from Riversdale Mansion and is on a long term loan to the North Carolina Museum of Art.
I like the music but please forgive the background noise.
The color of the dress is so beautiful against the blue walls.
My favorite room.