Join Curator Grant Quertermous for a “private” tour of Tudor Place, an episode of American Artifacts on C-Span’s American History TV. Learn historic highlights of the 1816 home while walking through its rooms, and see artifacts including the rare 1773 letter from George Washington, the bomb shelter, and an autographed picture of Woodrow Wilson.
Tudor Place is the product of all our different pasts. Its artifacts, images, voices, and ghosts—even the all-knowing tulip poplar—carry us back to our own origins as people and as a nation.
Joseph Ellis, Tudor Place: America’s Story Lives Here, Foreword
WASHINGTON, DC – Tudor Place: America’s Story Lives Here, the first full-length book on the Tudor Place estate, collections, and history, has received two prestigious prizes. Deemed “Best Regional Non-Fiction (Mid-Atlantic)” in the Independent Publisher Book Awards, the book was also named top regional title in the Independent Book Publishers Association’s 29th Annual Ben Franklin Awards. Covering the people, collections, architecture, and landscape of the National Historic Landmark, the book was published jointly in fall 2016 by the Tudor Place Foundation and the White House Historical Association. It richly chronicles life on the Georgetown estate that was home to six generations of one family descended from Martha Washington.
“We are proud of the book and pleased to see this recognition from the publishing industry,” said Executive Director Mark Hudson. “A historical study and catalog of the collections, it also makes a beautiful coffee table book and appeals to readers with a variety of interests.” he added. (Hudson said as much in December 2016 to The Washington Post.)
The IBPA awards are one of the highest national honors for independent publishers. The Independent Publishers’ “IPPY” Awards, the world’s largest international and regional book awards competition, recognize exemplary independent, university, and self-published titles. This year’s winners, selected from among 5,000 entries, will be celebrated May 30 during the annual BookExpo convention in New York. “One word to describe this year’s IPPY medal-winning books is vivid,” said awards director Jim Barnes – an adjective that certainly applies to the Tudor Place book’s stunning historic prints and images by photographer Bruce M. White as well as the accompanying essays.
Edited by former Tudor Place Executive Director Leslie L. Buhler, the text includes essays by Architect Emeritus of the U.S. Capitol William C. Allen, landscape historian Patricia Marie O’Donnell, and Buhler and former Tudor Place Curator Erin Kuykendall. The foreword is by historian Joseph J. Ellis. White’s arresting photographs appear alongside historic maps, prints and photographsfrom the Tudor Place and other archives.
Completed in February 2017, Phase One of the Master Preservation Plan’s lighting plan called for restoring historic lighting features across the grounds while installing discreet contemporary lighting for enhanced security and esthetics. Improved illumination at the main entrance, along the walkway to the Visitor Center, and on the path to the Dower House look beautiful in daylight and promote visitor safety at evening events.
With environmental stewardship a key aim of the Tudor Place Master Preservation Plan, sound water management becomes an essential goal. The museum will take a key step in that direction this summer with the expected installation of a cistern to conserve and control stormwater run-off. The project expands on past efforts to improve drainage around the historic house, with benefits extending as far as the Potomac watershed.
A decade ago, a new perimeter drainage system at the main house connected existing downspouts to drains installed in window areas. While this system successfully carried water away from the house, the resulting discharge on the South Lawn led to erosion and runoff. In 2016, an erosion-control intervention on the lawn’s southwest corner (using jute mesh, jute logs and silt fencing) temporarily mitigated the problem, but it’s a stopgap. The long-term solution is to install an underground cistern to capture the rainwater, treat it, and retain it for irrigation. On the rare occasions when runoff exceeds the cistern’s 21,000-gallon capacity, it will discharge through pipes directly into the city’s storm sewer system on 31st Street.
The full system will reduce erosion and runoff while also cutting our consumption of fresh water. We expect the work to happen in late summer 2017.