Tudor Place Celebrates 30 Years of Open Doors

Time sleeps and his scythe is broken for those who live in this house.
— Armistead Peter 3rd, last private owner of Tudor Place

Washington, DC –The house and garden at Tudor Place suggest a timelessness that is only partly accurate. As an estate, it’s survived more than two centuries and served six generations of one family. As a public museum, though, it’s an up-and-comer, an adolescent on a growth spurt with admired and award-winning education, collections, and research programs. Loyal support from members and donors since its 1988 opening has advanced the museum’s mission of bringing people closer to their own stories and the American story.

Unlike most historic houses, Tudor Place presents not one specific era or topic, but six generations of public and private life, indoors and out, from the agricultural era to the Cold War. No head count can be found for the museum’s inaugural house tour, on October 8, 1988. What can be known is that the site, which in its first three years combined served just 25,000 visitors, now hosts almost that many every year. Of 400,000 counted since 1988, more than a quarter, 121,820, visited since 2013. They include more than 3,000 pre-K-through-high school students annually.

When the museum was new, “the typical visitor was a Washingtonian,” often from the neighborhood, said Elizabeth Taylor, a former economist who delivered the museum’s first tour and still serves as a docent. Today, the museum attracts visitors from across and beyond the United States, as well. In 2017, TripAdvisor listed Tudor Place among the top 100 Things to Do in Washington (number 72 at press time), a rare accolade for a small site among more than 500 competing listings.

In addition to guided tours, a full calendar of public programs gives locals and members more reasons to visit and to return. The museum is known for innovative education and public programs for all ages, supported by a cohort of roughly 50 docents and garden and program volunteers. Its field trip modules meet standards of learning in several disciplines for both one-time visits and year-long partnerships. community favorites like Eggstravaganza, the Earth Day plant sale and picnic, and Tudor Nights themed evenings rank alongside meaty staples like Landmark Society lectures, weekly enrichment programs for tots, and garden programs from guided tours to botanical art classes. The annual spring garden party, first hosted by the Peters in the 1960s, is now a staple of Washington’s social season and the museum’s largest single fundraiser.

Tudor Place enters its third century with a Master Preservation Plan to ensure the future of collections and archive and foster sustainability in building landscape management. The museum has made great strides in 30 years to assess its collection and archive and plan for their future maintenance. When the museum opened, the collection was only partially plumbed; surprises and unlabeled treasures lay in boxes and unopened trunks stacked in closets, back rooms, and attics. More than 200,000 archival items and 15,000 objects now have been assessed, catalogued, and formally accessioned, as have thousands of trees, shrubs, and plants across the five-and-a-half-acre site, enriching interpretation and the visitor experience.

The staff increasingly extends interpretation off-site, as well, through lectures around the region and staff appearances on C-Span and other media. The publication in 2016 of “Tudor Place: America’s Story Lives Here, in collaboration with the White House Historical Association, also broadens access to the treasures housed here.



ABOUT TUDOR PLACE: America’s story lives here! Having celebrated its 2016 Bicentennial, Tudor Place is one of the nation’s finest and best preserved neoclassical estates, built by Martha Washington’s granddaughter and lived in by six generations of her family. Through landscape, architecture, and collections, it tells the story of a family and their young nation, showcasing American design, labor, politics, and technology from the agricultural to the digital age. The William Thornton-designed historic house features furnishings, art, and domestic artifacts collected and used by a family and their enslaved workers and servants over 200 years. In the 5½-acre garden, dotted among varied garden “rooms” and landscape features, visitors will find a 1919 Pierce-Arrow motorcar and the District’s oldest exhibited smoke house. House tours are offered hourly, Tuesday through Sunday.

At Brews, Booze & Bites Festival, Food History’s on the Menu

[updated September 6, 2017]

WASHINGTON, DC – Georgetown – An upcoming festival at Tudor Place in Georgetown will feature heritage food and drink, outdoor music and games, and their ties to local history. Brews, Booze & Bites, from 1 to 4 p.m. on September 16, will bring more than 20 purveyors of artisanal and local food, drinks, desserts and music to the historic Georgetown estate’s rolling South Lawn. A single ticket — $30 for members; $35 general; discounts available for groups of 6+ — covers all, including:

  • a full menu of sips and tastings in the historic garden;
  • two guided food tours focused on indoor and outdoor food traditions;
  • traditional American lawn games;
  • live music performed by the Foggy Bottom Whomp Stompers; and
  • free keepsake tasting glass.

The menu includes a side of history with every satisfying bite or sip, highlighting local history, foodways, and Tudor Place tie-ins for everything from barbecue, oysters, bruschetta, honey, olive oil, and vegetarian sushi, to ice cream, pastries, beer, cider, whiskey and spirits. (Confirmed vendors listed below.)

This is the second annual fall food festival at Tudor Place; the first, in October 2016, commemorated the site’s bicentennial. Food history and land use has been intertwined with the history of Tudor Place since the day in 1805 when it was purchased by the Peter family as 8½ acres of farmland. Completed in 1816 and lived in by six generations of one family, the house and landscaped garden on 5½ acres are now a museum with a collection including food and agriculture implements, lore, and documents including recipe books and planting notes.

Brews, Booze & Bites will take place rain or shine. Admission is limited to ages 21 and older. Registration is recommended, and can be purchased here. Discounts are available for groups of six or more.

Contacts and Registration
  • Register.
  • For vendor information, email us.
  • For group discounts, email or call 202.580.7321.
  • For press inquiries, email or call Mandy Katz, 202.486.7645.
Tour Schedule
  • Outdoor Edibles – 1 and 3 p.m
  • Follow the Bacon house tour – 2:30 and 3:30 p.m.
Confirmed Performers and Purveyors


Tudor Place Book Wins Prestigious Awards

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, DCTudor 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.

Tudor Place: America’s Story Lives Here can be purchased at the Tudor Place Museum Shop, the museum’s online shop, through the White House Historical Association, and on Amazon.com.

Buy It Now

25th Annual Garden Party Set for May 24, 2017



Development Director Mary Michael Wachur Invitations have been mailed,
202.580.7323 | mwachur@tudorplace.org please register online.
Communications Director Mandy Katz
202.580.7329 | mkatz@tudorplace.org

 Ticket Info

Washington, DC – Blair Bourne and Sassy Jacobs will chair the 25th Annual Spring Garden Party at Tudor Place, the 1816 National Historic Landmark estate in Washington’s Georgetown Historic District. The popular event is the museum’s most significant annual fundraiser, supporting education, operations, and preservation of the historic house and the 5½-acre landscape where the party takes place.

Co-Chairs Sassy Jacobs (top left) and Blair Bourne to honor Tim Matz (below).

Chairs Sassy Jacobs (top left) + Blair Bourne to honor Tim Matz.

Cousins, Co-Chairs Blair and Sassy previously served as members of the Garden Party Committee, and Sassy — in one of her first jobs — scheduled events and weddings here as a Tudor Place employee. Gala honoree Timothy B. Matz is a loyal and longtime friend and supporter of the museum. A partner in the law firm of Silver, Freedman, Taff & Tiernan, Tim served on the museum’s Board of Trustees from 2006-2014, serving two terms as board president. He also led the search committee that selected Mark Hudson to succeed retiring Executive Director Leslie Buhler in 2015.

More than 25,000 members of the public visited Tudor Place during its Bicentennial year, 2016. The site opened to the public as a museum in 1985 following nearly two centuries of ownership by a single family descended from Martha Washington.

Tours and education programs serve more than 3,000 school children each year from D.C. and nearby communities, including numerous Title I schools, and serve as a living classroom for all ages on history, the environment, art, and architecture.

Funds raised at the Garden Party support these programs, as well as award-winning conservation, archaeological research, and advanced horticultural practices in one of the District’s best preserved green spaces.

New Installation: Home for the Holidays – Christmas, 1945

Party Like It’s 1816! May 25 Gala to Feature Historic Personages + Vintage Motor Car

Media Advisory
May 18, 2016
Contact Mandy Katz
email | phone: 202.486.7645

Lavishly Honoring the Bicentennial of American Treasure Tudor Place

May 25, 2016 | 6 – 9 p.m.

Washington, DC–Traditional Georgetown understatement will be nowhere in attendance at the annual Garden Party fundraiser for Tudor Place this Wednesday, May 25, when 500 guests are expected to celebrate the site’s Bicentennial in grand style. Along with philanthropists, elected officials, donors, diplomats from 10 countries, and others, “historic attendees” will include Tudor Place’s founders and their servants, kin, and famous friends including the Marquis de Lafayette; John Luckett, who escaped both slavery and the Union Army before working at “Tudor;” and the first President himself, “Grandfather” George Washington.

Party Chair Marcia V. Mayo has spared no extravagance of imagination for this music-filled evening adorned with lush lighting, abundant blooms and costumed interpreters representing fascinating personages from the site’s storied past.

Pierce-Arrow grill and hood ornament

Automotive Special Appearance: 1919 Pierce-Arrow

Members of the press wishing to cover this lavish event and/or extensive preparations for it in the days preceding are asked to contact us now.

In ardent supporter and museum Trustee Ms. Mayo, Tudor Place has found an extraordinary chairperson to mark an extraordinary milestone, the 200th anniversary of an immaculately preserved American house and garden.In keeping with the site’s slogan, America’s Story Lives Here, she has created an event to evoke the site’s storied history and key figures who helped shape it.

In addition to unusual people and lavish music, spectacular cars will feature at the event. As guests enter, they can enjoy examining the museum’s dashing 1919 Pierce-Arrow motorcar, relocated to the front of the historic house (weather permitting) for special viewing. As they depart, they will be met by the fantastically patterned “Lilly Jeep” from Lilly Pulitzer, which opens its Georgetown boutique this week. In between, they can mingle in the five-and-a-half-acre garden, reception rooms of the historic house, and the elegant South Lawn dining marquee dripping with chandeliers and blooms.

TO SEE AND HEAR:collage of Garden Party hats

  • Costumed interpreters representing the historic estate’s past owners, servants, and famous guests, with cast and costumes by Washington National Opera
  • Performers from the Washington National Opera Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program
  • Original, custom-built 1919 Pierce-Arrow motor car and Lilly Jeep.
  • 5 ½ acres of historical gardens and elegant event marquee on South Lawn.
  • Hats.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016, 6-9 pm

WHERE: 1644 31st St. NW, Washington, DC 20007


Garden Party guest in North Garden

The annual Garden Party, now in its 24th year, is the most significant annual fundraiser for Tudor Place, one of the nation’s first National Historic Landmarks. Tudor Place Foundation since 1983 has preserved and operated the National Historic Landmark as a museum. Its historic landscape, buildings, collections, and archive comprise one of the nation’s largest and most intact urban estates from the Federal era. Cultivated since the 18th century, the landscape provides a living history of American land use over time and a rare expanse of green space in the urban environment. The house and collections, including more than 200 objects owned by George and Martha Washington, mark American progress and change from the agricultural to the digital age, an unparalleled record of social, cultural, political, and labor history.

As a pioneer in historic horticulture and sustainable public gardening, the Tudor Place landscape serves as a learning laboratory for school groups, garden clubs, artists, researchers, and horticulturalists. More than 23,000 people visit the house and garden each year, including more than 3,000 school-aged children from D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, many in Title I schools.

Pierce-Arrow image by Bruce White.
North Garden image by James Brantley.


Washington’s Revolutionary War Encampment at Tudor Place

2 Ways to Cover “The First Oval Office” in its Sole D.C. Appearance

First Oval Office photo and painting

(L) Washington’s Revolutionary War Encampment in 2015 (credit: The First Oval Office). (R) First Oval Office watercolor by Peter Waddell.

media advisory
April 24, 2016 Communications Director Mandy Katz
Bicentennial Communications Assistant Jen Pollakusy
mobile: 202.486.7645

A Tudor Place Bicentennial Event

     George Washington Parke Custis’s most famous acquisition from his grandparents’ home at Mount Vernon was Gen. Washington’s Revolutionary War “marquee,” a hard-used tent in which Custis hosted parties and commemorations. But Custis’s Lee descendants lost it when they sided with the Confederacy, and after the Federal government took the tent for safekeeping, it took Lees descendants more than a century to reclaim it, later selling it for public exhibition. While the original undergoes conservation, reproductions of Washington’s headquarters tent and the dining tent that stood alongside are on tour, coming to just one site in the capital region for just one weekend, and featured during two public events.

Washington, DC – On April 29 and 30, George Washington’s Revolutionary War headquarters and dining tents will be the site of three novel events at Tudor Place in Georgetown, during the encampment’s only stop in the Washington, D.C., region. On the Tudor Place South Lawn, visitors can tour the scrupulous reproduction of “The First Oval Office” and many of its furnishings, experiencing the linen-walled spaces where General Washington and his staff slept, ate, and strategized during critical moments of the Revolutionary War.

Tudor Place has invited the public to view the tent in two settings: an adults-only “sneak peak” evening party, April 29, and a day-long “encampment,” April 30, featuring the tents, colonial crafts and activities, and story-telling and history discussion about the roles of women and African-Americans during the Revolutionary War.


Special exhibition of the dining marquee, office, and sleeping quarters that served as George Washington’s Revolutionary War headquarters. The tents will open first for a “Sneak Peek” Tudor Nights cocktail party for adults, Friday evening, April 29, with appearance by costumed interpreter “Mrs. Martha Peter,” founder of Tudor Place, who will chat and answer questions about life on the estate, 18th-19th century politics and events, and early times in the nation’s capital. On Saturday, April 30, guests of all ages can tour the tents during the Revolutionary War Encampment program with activities and features including Mrs. Peter and soldier-enactors, storytelling, and colonial crafts. Press are invited to cover either or both  of these events.

  • 6:30 – 8:30 pm, Friday, April 29 (Tudor Nights “Sneak Peak” private event)
  • 10 am – 4 pm, Saturday, April 30 (public viewing)

Tudor Place
1644 31st St. NW
Washington, DC 20007

  • Revolutionary War Encampment featuring George Washington’s Revolutionary headquarters marquee and accompanying dining and baggage tent
  • Costumed interpreters to include Tudor Place founder “Mrs. Martha Peter,” played by award-winning actress and Smithsonian scholar Mary Ann Jung (Friday evening + Saturday afternoon), and two costumed revolutionary war interpreters (Saturday daytime).
  • In the HQ tent, furnishings including reproductions of Gen. Washington’s traveling camp stools based on the original in the collection at Tudor Place, one of two remaining from the original set of 18.
  • Candle-making and tea-blending demonstrations and activities (Saturday daytime)
  • Interactive storytelling and discussion about roles of women and African Americans in the Revolutionary War (Saturday daytime)
  • Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, tours of the tent and garden strolls by twilight, and conversation with Mrs. Peter during the Tudor Nights Tent “Sneak Peek” (Friday evening)

Remembering Austin Kiplinger, Tudor Place Champion

November 23, 2015 Mandy Katz
  Director of Communications
  ph: 202.580.7329

This is a charmed place. It just raises your spirits whenever you’re here. And I feel that way and I have felt that way for many years and I’m continuously reminded that there is a continuity in life, and the more we know about it, the better we can cope with changes that are coming… 

— Austin Kiplinger, Honoree, 20th Annual Tudor Place
Spring Garden Party, May 2012

The board and staff of Tudor Place mourn the loss of Trustee Emeritus Austin H. Kiplinger, known as “Kip,” who died November 20 at age 97. His passing leaves a void among lovers of D.C. history. His enthusiasm for preservation and gleanings from our shared past will be sorely missed.

“Working with him for 15 years, I found him to be gracious, ebullient, and generous in sharing his love for the history he knew so well of this city and of Tudor Place,” said Leslie Buhler, Tudor Place Executive Director until October 2015. “He connected the past to the present in very real terms,” she added, praising his “extraordinary memory, sparkle in his eyes, and thirst for knowledge.”

Mr. Kiplinger championed Tudor Place since the museum opened in 1988. He first delved into its history after he and his wife purchased Montevideo, a dilapidated 1830 house in Montgomery County, Maryland, in 1958. Montevideo’s builder, John Parke Custis Peter, was the son of Martha Parke Custis and Thomas Peter, the founders of Tudor Place. Peter built Montevideo to match the Federal-style center block of Tudor Place, his childhood home. His parents’ graves and those of two of their children remain on the property.

With painstaking attention to detail and sound preservation practices, Mr. Kiplinger restored Montevideo, raising his family there with a keen shared interest in its past and its “parentage” at Tudor Place, Ms. Buhler noted. When Tudor Place opened to the public in 1988, he joined the foundation’s Board of Trustees, becoming president two years later and serving in that role for eight years. He continued to support the museum for the rest of his life. Tudor Place celebrated his lasting leadership and commitment in 2012 by naming him honoree of  the 20th Annual Spring Garden Party.

On that occasion, he recalled first encountering Tudor Place not as a homeowner, but as a boy. “When I was in my teens and a student at the great, distinguished Western High School here in Georgetown,” he told the audience of several hundred gathered in his honor, “I used to wander past this great place up on the hill and wonder about it and wonder what went on behind that gate. And little did I know at the time that a lot of American history went on behind that gate, a reflection of it at least, in five generations of one family.”  (See the video.)

A pioneering publisher and journalist, Mr. Kiplinger recognized innately the importance of knowing history to understanding modern times. At Tudor Place, he said in his Garden Party address, six generations of one family “lived through some of the most tortured times in any nation’s history…  And we can deal with the present and the future better if we know something about the past.”

Tudor Place extends condolences to Mr. Kiplinger’s his son and daughter-in-law, Knight and Ann Kiplinger, his companion, Bonnie Barker Nicholson, and the extended Kiplinger family.

Mark Hudson Appointed to Lead Tudor Place Into Its Third Century


July 27, 2015
contact: Mandy Katz

Tudor Place South Facade

Tudor Place and its iconic Federal-style south facade with Portico.
[credit: Ron Blunt Photography]

Tudor Place is pleased to announce the appointment of Mark Hudson as the museum’s next executive director, commencing October 5, 2015, on the cusp of the National Historic Landmark’s bicentennial year. Mr. Hudson succeeds Leslie Buhler,

who is retiring after 15 years of extraordinary leadership during which she established Tudor Place — first opened to the public in 1988 — as a noteworthy contributor to the nation’s historic and cultural life.

“Mark brings to the position extensive professional experience, a strong academic background, and remarkable enthusiasm for the future of Tudor Place,” said Geoffrey B. Baker, president of the Tudor Place Board of Trustees.  Mr. Hudson comes to Tudor Place from the Vermont Historical Society, which he has directed since 2009.  The Vermont Historical Society is a multifaceted statewide organization encompassing a museum and substantial collections, a genealogical research library, a biennial state History Expo, the Vermont Women’s History Project, and a publishing arm.

Mark Hudson“I have for a number of years been following the activities at Tudor Place, particularly with respect to the care of its extraordinary collections,” Mr. Hudson said of his appointment. With respect to the Master Preservation Plan and Bicentennial initiatives underway, Mr. Hudson noted, “having the opportunity to lead Tudor Place as it embarks upon these ambitious endeavors is amazing.”

Mr. Hudson looks forward to bringing to fruition the plan to secure Tudor Place’s historical and cultural assets for a new century. “As I have learned more about this historic treasure,” he noted, “my enthusiasm has grown. The museum’s master plan reflects a bold vision that demonstrates a commitment to the preservation and interpretation of this nationally significant site,” he said.

During Mr. Hudson’s tenure, the Vermont Historical Society received the 2012 American Association for State and Local History’s Leadership in History Awards for the History Explorer website and the publication, A Very Fine Appearance: The Vermont Civil War Photographs of George Houghton. His work at Tudor Place marks a return to our region, as he directed the Historical Society of Frederick County, Maryland, from 1998-2009. During his term there, the society secured accreditation from the American Association of Museums (in 2003) and received the 2005 Small Museum Association’s Hunter-Burley Award for advancing public access and professional growth in an individual institution. Early in his distinguished career, Mark was curator of the Boone County Historical Society in Missouri, his home state.

Mr. Hudson’s other professional and civic commitments include, since 2010, chairing the Vermont Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission by gubernatorial appointment. He served six times as a Museums for America field reviewer for the Institute for Museum and Library Services. His Board service includes the Save Historic Antietam Foundation (2006-2009) and Maryland Association of History Museums (1999-2005).

Mark was selected by Tudor Place Trustees following an extensive national search conducted by a firm specializing in museum placements.

See more blogposts.

May 20 Garden Party to Honor Museum Champion Ellen Charles



Mary Michael Wachur Click here.
Associate Director for Annual Giving & Events
202.580.7323 | mwachur@tudorplace.org

Some 500 celebrants will gather at Tudor Place on Wednesday, May 20, 2015, at 6 p.m. for the site’s 23rd Annual Spring Garden Party. The festive social event, chaired by Elizabeth Powell of Georgetown, draws prominent Washingtonians and guests from around the nation and abroad. Ellen MacNeille Charles, a transformative and longtime leader of Tudor Place, will be honored . Mrs. Charles’s special blend of experience, wisdom, and good humor benefits and enriches every organization she touches — including Tudor Place, where her leadership and advocacy have made an indelible mark. Tudor Place hosts more than 23,000 visitors annually. Its education programs serve more than 3,000 school children each year from schools in D.C. and surrounding communities, providing a living classroom on American history, the environment, architecture and other subjects.

Thank You, Sponsors

The Spring Garden Party, as Tudor Place’s most important fundraiser of the year, provides more than 20 percent of its annual operating budget. enabling it to serve as a destination for education and entertainment of broad audiences of local, national, and international visitors. Corporate sponsorship is led by Washington Fine Properties and Cooke & Bieler, and supported by Wagner Roofing, Davey Trees, and Huntington T. Block. Proceeds also support innovative programs employing Tudor Place as a living classroom for the teaching of American history, science and environmental studies, and architecture, for more than 3,000 public and private school children a year.