DC History Center

DC History Center The DC History Center is an educational nonprofit that deepens understanding of our city's past to connect, empower, and inspire. Celebrating 125 years of telling DC stories.
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Operating as usual

Attention photography enthusiasts! 📢 DC History Center is excited to announce that throughout the month of February, we ...
01/29/2021

Attention photography enthusiasts! 📢 DC History Center is excited to announce that throughout the month of February, we will be engaging with DC-based street photographers who contribute to documenting our local history and environments. We will highlight their contributions to documenting our city’s history and the development of its built environment and showcase their work within four street photography themes: people, activism, architecture, and nature. Stay tuned!

📸: View southeast down Pennsylvania Ave NW from the 1300 block, ca. 1960's (Carlton J. Corliss D.C. History research collection, CHS 16187)

Register for our next program, Drawing Lines: How Race Shaped DC’s Housing Landscape. Social impact designer April De Si...
01/22/2021

Register for our next program, Drawing Lines: How Race Shaped DC’s Housing Landscape. Social impact designer April De Simone and historian Sarah Shoenfeld will discuss the structural racism behind housing policy from the early 20th century to today, and the effects it had on our city and on the lives of Washingtonians. Together they will consider how the lessons of history can inform the work of activists and engaged citizens in imagining and demanding housing justice.

Sign up today!
https://buff.ly/3sXSUim

Even though this year’s celebrations will not include an Inaugural Ball, we thought we would share this piece of Inaugur...
01/20/2021

Even though this year’s celebrations will not include an Inaugural Ball, we thought we would share this piece of Inauguration Day ephemera from our collection.

The patriotic fervor inspired by early inaugurations, and the rush of citizens to the capital to witness them, took Washingtonians by surprise. Visitors clogged streets and fought over places to sleep. By the time of Garfield and Arthur’s inauguration in 1881, local Washington political leaders had taken on the organizing and execution of housing the inaugural visitors and hosting official celebrations.

📸: Program for the James A. Garfield and Chester A. Arthur Inauguration Ball on March 4th, 1881 (James A. Garfield 1881 ephemera, E 1342)

It’s Inauguration Day! We salute the peaceful transfer of power and look forward to the administration of President Joe ...
01/20/2021

It’s Inauguration Day! We salute the peaceful transfer of power and look forward to the administration of President Joe Biden, a long-time Washington political leader, and Kamala Harris, our first Black woman vice president and Howard University alumna. As we celebrate this day from homes across the area, we're reflecting on the words of Founding Father John Dickinson, “By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall.”

📸: A large crowd gathered on the grounds of the Capitol for the inauguration of President Warren G. Harding, March 4, 1921 (Alden Family Papers, CHS 11075 AL3.86)

Today we honor and celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This holiday recognizes the fight for civil...
01/18/2021

Today we honor and celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This holiday recognizes the fight for civil rights and social justice through nonviolent protest. As we approach our 46th president’s inauguration, let’s continue to protect the people of DC and contribute to the growth of our communities.
📸: Martin Luther King, Jr. with leaders at the March on Washington, August 28,1963, by Warren K. Leffler. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

At the DC History Center, we’ve been reminded of how frequently Washingtonians are eyewitnesses to devastating events th...
01/15/2021

At the DC History Center, we’ve been reminded of how frequently Washingtonians are eyewitnesses to devastating events that shake the nation. To draw from another era of bitter division and anger, we know that during the Civil War, in 1864, a 10-year-old named Henry Davis and his brother lived on Ninth Street NW. The night Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, Henry was peacefully asleep, but his brother peered out the window and witnessed assassin John Wilkes Booth struggle onto a waiting horse behind the theater and race away down the alley.

Our work starts with the lived experience of Washingtonians, so we want to hear from you. Share your story as part of our In Real Time initiative. How has the January 6 riot and its immediate ripple effects touched your life? And what does it mean to you?

Please consider sharing your story: https://buff.ly/2LsBzgE

Illustration courtesy of the DC Public Library.

Tune in to the Wizards game tonight!🏀As seasoned DC sports fans will know, before they became the Washington Wizards in ...
01/06/2021

Tune in to the Wizards game tonight!🏀

As seasoned DC sports fans will know, before they became the Washington Wizards in 1997 they were the Washington Bullets, the Capital Bullets, and before that, the Baltimore Bullets! As it was reported at the time, owner Abe Pollin (d. 2009) decided to change the team name to its current iteration because he did not want to contribute to the city's reputation for violent crime.

The ca. 1971-1973 trading cards pictured are from the Joe Judge Basketball Trading Card collection (MS 0910).

Fun fact: Michael Jordan played for the Wizards from 2001-2003.

Happy New Year!🎉📸: Service members raise a glass at "Friendship House," 3308 R Street NW, the home of Evalyn Walsh McLea...
01/01/2021

Happy New Year!🎉

📸: Service members raise a glass at "Friendship House," 3308 R Street NW, the home of Evalyn Walsh McLean. She moved there in 1942 after her "Friendship" estate home was razed to build McLean Gardens. (Evalyn Walsh McLean photograph collection, EM 114)

In response to the momentous events of 2020, and finding ourselves ready to revisit our mission, DC History Center is go...
12/31/2020

In response to the momentous events of 2020, and finding ourselves ready to revisit our mission, DC History Center is going into 2021 with a new identity and purpose!

Our new identity reflects the diversity and values of the District as a whole. Our logo is designed by Friendly Design Co., with a frame that evokes the DC map and symbolizes how historians work to frame events with context and nuance.

Hear more from our Executive Director Laura Hagood and check out our new website >> https://buff.ly/3rIxZyU

At the end of this challenging year, we honor and recognize the healthcare workers and volunteers around the world who h...
12/30/2020

At the end of this challenging year, we honor and recognize the healthcare workers and volunteers around the world who have put their lives on the line to serve during this global health crisis.
📸: Four nurses pose in front of Walter Reed General Hospital, ca. 1918 (Alden family paper, CHS 11075 AL3.56A)

Reflecting on the Black Lives Matter movement, we hear echoes of the protest movements of the past. Amid the pandemic an...
12/29/2020

Reflecting on the Black Lives Matter movement, we hear echoes of the protest movements of the past. Amid the pandemic and unprecedented disruptions, protesters continue to call for justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and the countless names throughout history.

#ThenandNow
📸: Protesters outside the White House demand that President Truman responds to yet another lynching, this time in Monroe, GA, 1946. (James M. Goode World War II photograph collection, courtesy of Smithsonian Institution, WWII 027)
📸: The People Occupy the White House, Shelby Swann (August 2020) BlackkSwann Shots

Reflecting on all the movements that changed policies and brought us here today: Celebrations of the 100th anniversary o...
12/28/2020

Reflecting on all the movements that changed policies and brought us here today: Celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote played a major part in galvanizing American communities to vote in 2020. This has been a powerful year for communities across America.

Check out the National Woman's Democratic Club’s program honoring the suffrage victory.>> https://buff.ly/34NmtbG

📸: A delegation of Baltimore suffragists assembled at the Carnegie Library, 1913. Courtesy, Fred Schutz Historical Collection, Panoramic Images, Inc.

DC History Center is getting into the Christmas Spirit! A very merry Christmas to you and yours from the DC History Cent...
12/24/2020

DC History Center is getting into the Christmas Spirit! A very merry Christmas to you and yours from the DC History Center.
📸: Illuminated decorations strung across Pennsylvania Avenue and view of the Capitol Building at night, ca. 1923. (General photograph collection, AL 012.139)

12/23/2020
dcregs.dc.gov

Congratulations, Loretta Neumann, for receiving a ceremonial recognition of your outstanding contributions to Ward 4 and the city by the DC Council! Your leadership in historic preservation, conservation, and particularly Civil War commemoration on behalf of the city's communities and natural areas have enriched us all. To list a few of her accomplishments, Neumann is the Director of the American Heritage Rivers Initiative, President of the Takoma Theater Conservatory, and has led the struggle to preserve the reminders of the Civil War in DC. Loretta Neumann, a well-deserved honor!

Today is Winter Solstice, the first day of winter and the shortest day of the year. Bundle up and enjoy the season ahead...
12/21/2020

Today is Winter Solstice, the first day of winter and the shortest day of the year. Bundle up and enjoy the season ahead! And here’s a one-horse, open sleigh to get you in the spirit.
📸: Three figures pose in their one-horse, open sleigh with the Washington Monument in the background, ca. 1920. (General photograph collection, CHS 14134)

🍻 Did you know there are now more than 70 breweries around Washington, DC? Quite a feat considering there we went 55 yea...
12/19/2020

🍻 Did you know there are now more than 70 breweries around Washington, DC? Quite a feat considering there we went 55 years without one! In 1956 the Chr. Heurich Brewery Co. closed, and there was no local production brewery until DC Brau opened in 2011. What’s your favorite local beer? Give them a shoutout!

German-born Christian Heurich was one of the city’s most successful brewers and businessmen. In 1872 he started the Chr. Heurich Brewing Co. and by 1895, its newly built facility could produce 250,000 barrels a year and contained an ice plant with a daily capacity of 120 tons. Find out more about their history in craft brewing here >> https://buff.ly/2J96222

Fun fact: The Heurich family’s mansion in Dupont Circle was the headquarters of the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. for nearly 50 years.

📸 A Chr. Heurich Brewing Co. employee seals kegs for distribution at its Foggy Bottom facility, ca. 1950 (General photograph collection, CHS 07531)

Shop with DC History Center for the holidays! We're proud to offer quality items that reflect our mission, as well as it...
12/17/2020

Shop with DC History Center for the holidays! We're proud to offer quality items that reflect our mission, as well as items inspired by our exhibits and collections.
Check out our new online gift shop >> shop.dchistory.org

How is your quarantine grooming routine going? At-home cuts can be a fun exercise in self-expression. But it’s also yet ...
12/16/2020

How is your quarantine grooming routine going? At-home cuts can be a fun exercise in self-expression. But it’s also yet another reminder of the loss of community during these Covid-era times, as barbershops and beauty salons are more than a place to get a trim; they are a safe place for storytelling and community bonding.

📸: Clients sit for a shave inside a local 1950s Black barbershop. Photo by Robert H. McNeill, used with permission (Remembering U Street photograph collection, RU BP 27).

DC History Center's cover photo
12/14/2020

DC History Center's cover photo

DC History Center
12/14/2020

DC History Center

Check out this incredible photography collection by Nancy Shia, photographer and local activist, who captures DC through...
12/11/2020
Out My Window

Check out this incredible photography collection by Nancy Shia, photographer and local activist, who captures DC through the decades! https://www.outmywindowbynancyshia.org/

D.C. Latino Festival Mt. Pleasant Uprising Homelessness Gentrification Out My Window: 40 Years of D.C. History in PhotosFor 40 years, the respected community photographer and local activist Nancy Shia has taken countless photographs that are an invaluable historical archive of a Washington D.C. comm...

Small and local businesses are places where people make memories, meet their future spouse, or start life-long friendshi...
12/11/2020

Small and local businesses are places where people make memories, meet their future spouse, or start life-long friendships. In 2020, we’ve sadly seen an acceleration in the closure of many favorite local haunts. In remembrance of establishments that have closed this year or in years past, we want to know, what is your favorite bygone DC bar or restaurant? Share a memory with us.

📸: Patrons dine at a restaurant counter on 12th Street NW, ca. 1942. Photo by Robert H. McNeill, used with permission (Miller-Gillette Washington Seen photograph collection, MG 8.26).

As this year draws to a close, we’ve been missing and reflecting on some of the ordinary parts of our pre-Covid lives—li...
12/10/2020

As this year draws to a close, we’ve been missing and reflecting on some of the ordinary parts of our pre-Covid lives—like riding the metro. With new policies and changes in discussion for Metro here is a photo from the beginning.

📸 Two men stand amid the construction of a Metro interconnect station, ca. 1972. (General photograph collection, CHS 11357A)

Check out this great grant opportunity! ⁦>>https://humanitiesdc.org/grants/voices-from-the-frontline/Humanities DC is fu...
12/09/2020
Voices from the Frontlines

Check out this great grant opportunity! ⁦>>https://humanitiesdc.org/grants/voices-from-the-frontline/
Humanities DC is funding projects to document the local voices from the frontlines of the many historical events of 2020. The application deadline is January 8, 2021.

Voices from the Frontlines Small Grant APPLICATION DEADLINE IS JANUARY 8, 2021. Request for Proposals This has been an unprecedented year punctuated by moments of extraordinary hope and extreme challenges. While the coronavirus pandemic has devastated our communities’ health and economic well-bein...

DC History Center's cover photo
12/04/2020

DC History Center's cover photo

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in DC! 🌲 December 3rd marks the 97th year of the National Tree Lighting Cere...
12/03/2020

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in DC! 🌲 December 3rd marks the 97th year of the National Tree Lighting Ceremony. This annual tradition began in 1923 when President Calvin Coolidge lit a 48-foot fir tree on the White House Ellipse. Washingtonians can watch the tree lighting and holiday performances safely from home starting today.

📸: A community Christmas tree shines brightly in front of the east front of the Capitol, ca. 1914. (Willard R. Ross photograph collection, CHS 10183)
National Park Foundation

12/02/2020

During this time of prolonged uncertainty, generosity brings together communities across the globe. Generosity gives everyone the power to make a positive change in their communities and is a fundamental value anyone can act on.
Thank you so much for your support on #GivingTuesday! #ThankYouWednesday

12/01/2020

Today is the day! This #GivingTuesday, we hope you will consider making a gift to our History is Relevant Campaign: /buff.ly/3kML9GC
We’re proud to be a part of this global celebration of giving!
#givedc #dcgives #empowerdc #youaredchistory #makedchistory

Tomorrow is World AIDS Day, an international day dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic and mourning those ...
11/30/2020

Tomorrow is World AIDS Day, an international day dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic and mourning those who have died of the disease. World AIDS Day has been held annually on December 1 since 1988. The National AIDS Memorial Quilt was first displayed on the National Mall on October 11, 1987, during the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. #dchistory #nationalmall #worldaidsday

📸: A man gets a closer look at a piece of the AIDS Memorial Quilt, on display on the National Mall, October 1989 (Johari Rashad photograph collection, RAS 135).

Tomorrow is #GivingTuesday, a global day of generosity. Participate in the power of people and organizations to transfor...
11/30/2020

Tomorrow is #GivingTuesday, a global day of generosity. Participate in the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world. In this time of uncertainty, there's a fundamental truth that gives us hope - that together we can do extraordinary things. Support the DC History Center tomorrow on #GivingTuesday!

Will your knife skills make the cut this year? 🦃 We wish everyone a safe and healthy—and delicious—Thanksgiving this yea...
11/26/2020

Will your knife skills make the cut this year? 🦃 We wish everyone a safe and healthy—and delicious—Thanksgiving this year. Enjoy! #turkeyday #dchistory #thanksgiving
📸: Woodward & Lothrop shoppers hoping to sharpen their turkey-carving abilities observe a Willard Hotel chef during an EKCO product demonstration, ca. 1960. (General photograph collection, CHS 15018.29)

Giving Tuesday is one week away! The messages of hope, connection, and community have never been more needed. Let’s crea...
11/24/2020

Giving Tuesday is one week away! The messages of hope, connection, and community have never been more needed. Let’s create a 🌊 of good on December 1! Share how you’re giving this year and let's inspire Washington, DC!

We all have gifts to give. You can support DC History Center in a number of ways. Whether its volunteering your time and expertise, sharing how DC history inspires you, or donating to our History is Relevant Campaign: /buff.ly/3kML9GC, and spread thanks!

Save the date: Giving Tuesday is right around the corner! On December 1, take part in the global generosity movement that empowers people to make positive change. When you participate locally in #GivingTuesday, you have a direct impact on your community. This holiday season, as the pandemic continues to test us all, we ask for your support to help pull the DC History Center through this national emergency. Please consider making a gift to our History is Relevant Campaign: https://buff.ly/3kML9GC
#givedc #dcgives #empowerdc #dchistory #makedchistory

11/21/2020

Due to the sharp increase in coronavirus cases in the DC region, the DC History Center has decided to close to the public until early 2021. The health and safety of our staff, volunteers, and visitors remain a top priority. We wish everyone a safe and healthy holiday season!

09/17/2020

The Historical Society sends its sincere condolences to the entire HITT Contracting Inc. family on the passing of Russell Hitt. HITT received the Historical Society's Making DC History Award in 2018 for Distinction in Corporate Achievement. For the award ceremony, we produced this video about the company's history and contributions to the DC area: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRBUC7vLmbQ&t=1s

We're excited to welcome visitors back to the DC History Center! Starting tomorrow, September 11, we will be open only o...
09/10/2020

We're excited to welcome visitors back to the DC History Center!

Starting tomorrow, September 11, we will be open only on Fridays and Saturdays. We can accommodate up to six visitors per hour, from 12 to 5 pm (last entry at 4 pm). All visitors are required to obtain free, timed passes to gain entry to the Hall of History and THE BIG PICTURE exhibit galleries. The Kiplinger Research Library and the DC History Center Store remain closed at this time.

Learn more about how we have adjusted our visitor experience to meet strict health and safety guidelines by visiting our Timed Admission page: http://bit.ly/timedtickets

Address

801 K Street, NW
Washington D.C., DC
20001

Archives/Navy Memorial/Penn Quarter: served by the Green Line and Yellow Lines. Judiciary Square: served by the Red Line.

General information

Research Services at the Kiplinger Research Library will resume on August 27, 2019.

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@DCHistory and the DC History Center in the Carnegie Library are managed by the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. The Historical Society of Washington, D.C., is a 501(c)(3) non-profit community-supported educational and research organization that collects, interprets, and shares the history of our nation’s capital. Founded in 1894, it serves a diverse audience through its collections, public programs, exhibitions, and publications. Washington is known throughout the world as a monumental federal city. Less well-known are the stories of Washington’s many diverse and vibrant communities. The Historical Society helps make this local history readily available to the public to promote a sense of identity, place, and pride in Washington and to preserve this heritage for future generations. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram! @DCHistory

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