Cold War Reminder: The Tudor Place Bomb Shelter

by Mark Hudson, Executive Director

Tudor Place is most often associated with events in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Nestled beneath the Garage, however, is a reminder of the Cold War era of the 1960s. The Bomb Shelter, completed in 1969, offers insight into the nation’s psyche at that time and the anxieties of Tudor Place’s final private owner, Armistead Peter 3rd. Whether built primarily as a shelter from a nuclear blast and fallout, or as a safe retreat from civil unrest, Mr. Peter took great care to ensure that the space would protect the Tudor Place household.

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Garden Getaways, near and far

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Press Release: Tudor Place Announces Travelers’ Choice Award by Tripadvisor


Press Release 

May 18, 2021

Washington, DC – Tudor Place Historic House & Garden announces it has been recognized as a 2020 Travelers’ Choice award winner by TripAdvisor. Based on a full year of TripAdvisor reviews prior to any changes caused by the pandemic, award winners are known for consistency receiving great traveler feedback, placing them in the top 10% of hospitality business around the globe.

Read the full press release here.




Washington’s Revolutionary War Encampment at Tudor Place

3 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 exhibition’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 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. Also April 30, a private dinner for donors, served in the tent, will feature a menu and entertainment reminiscent of how Washington would have dined.


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.Saturday evening, April 30, donors will enjoy a historically themed private banquet served in Washington’s reproduction dining tent.

Press are invited to cover any or all three 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)
  • 6 pm, Saturday, April 30 (private donor banquet)

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)
  • Gala sit-down dinner catered with a menu based on cuisine Washington and his officers would have recognized (Saturday evening)

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1st Annual Tree Fest Celebrates the Tudor Place Canopy


Tulip poplar in fall

March 29, 2014 | 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Register Now

The shelter and dignity of the property’s historic trees — and the risks they face from the violent weather of recent years — have inspired a new event at Tudor Place: a Tree Fest, free and open to the public. Our local environment and the canopy of heritage trees are the focus, and there will be something for everyone!

  • An artisanal Market Fair offering sustainable merchandise and information from people and organizations working on behalf of the environment and landscape.
  • For families, puppet shows at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., and games and crafts all day.
  • A 1 p.m. guided walk with tree expert Melanie Choukas-Bradley, author of City of Trees, will help you learn to understand and identify local species.
  • A chance to say “hello” to the newly planted white oak tree! It replaces the two-century-old specimen lost last year to age and storm damage and represents Tudor Place’s ongoing investment in the tall trees of tomorrow.

NOTE: Public transportation recommended. Tudor Place is easily reached by bus, Metro and a short walk, and bicycle (including Bike Share).

Vendor Information

Now taking vendor registrations for October! The Tree Fest is fully subscribed, but we are taking registrations from vendors and organizations now for the October 18 Fall Harvest Fest, also free and open to the public. Are you a talented regional artisan or food purveyor? Do you have crafts, merchandise, creative eats, and/or useful information to offer? Please contact us today!

Special for “Where” Readers: 20% off Tours!

girl with mask


Here — at Tudor Place!

Use promo code “WHERE” when booking to receive 20% off regular guided tours.

Tales of a Tudor Place Intern: The Peppercorn Puzzle

By Sarah Dickey, 2011 summer Collections Intern

Sealed for 90 years, this packet revealed surprises
when our Collections experts opened it.
Sarah was one of several interns
inventorying collections in 2011.

One day this summer, conducting textile inventory with Collections Assistant Joni Joseph, we came across a box that contained several feather fans. Many were in small boxes that had been wrapped with newspaper and tied with string. One of the boxes was wrapped in sheets of the New York Herald from May 22, 1921, and did not appear to have been opened since that date:

Its wrapping, a Long Island newspaper, dated the object to May 22, 1921.

Carefully removing the string and paper, we found a box containing a bright pink feather fan with a tortoiseshell handle. Although the fan was beautiful and extravagant, what caught our attention first was debris covering both it and the bottom of the box.

Part of Caroline Peter’s luxurious wardrobe (including Hermes, Lanvin and stylish gowns from several eras), this
dramatic feather fan was littered with mysterious black debris. What was it?

Our first thought was pest damage, the worst nightmare of any Collections Manager. Upon closer inspection, though, we realized it was actually some sort of plant material. We turned to conservator Barbara Roberts, who determined it was… peppercorns!

Now, why would a fan be sealed in a box strewn with peppercorns? Our instinct was, it must be a home remedy to repel moths or other bugs. Preliminary internet research produced no evidence to back this up, however. Only after more in-depth studying did Joni confirm our suspicions at last, in a 1919 how-to book, Housewifery: A Manual and Text Book of Practical Housekeeping. Writing shortly before our fan went into storage,in a chapter called “To Put Away Clothing,” author Lydia Ray Balderston instructed:

The thoroughly clean garment should be packed in moth-proof containers, which range all the way from tight newspaper wrappings, and sheets of tar paper, to tar-paper bags and cedar chests. Pepper, tar balls, camphor, cedar chips, or a combination of cedar, camphor, and tar, such as is sold in packages, are usually enclosed with garments as an extra precaution. The object of these materials is to keep out moths and other insects, as they are pungent and irritating to the air passages of the insect.

— Balderston, Lydia Ray.  Housewifery: A Manual and Text Book 
of Practical Housekeeping.Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1919.


Sarah Dickey at Tudor Place.

The peppercorns certainly worked, as the fan showed no sign of pests or pest damage. It would be interesting to know whether someone at Tudor Place had read this very same manual, or whether the method was common practice at the time. Whatever the case, it was gratifying to see that whoever wrapped this fan 90 years ago was as concerned about preservation and conservation as we are!

Sarah Dickey recently received her M.A. in Museum Studies from George Washington University, with concentrations in Collections Management and Anthropology.