“Mrs. Peter” Presents: Heirlooms from George and Martha Washington, A Presidents’ Day Open House

Martha Peter portrait, Georgetown harbor view

On Feb. 15, 2016, at 11 a.m., Mrs. Peter will honor her step-grandfather the first president with a public open house in her grand home in historic Georgetown Heights.


Washington, DCTudor Place will bring Presidents’ Day to life with a close-up look at rare artifacts from the George and Martha Washington Collection, interpreted by the original mistress of the house, on February 15, 2016, a key event in the National Historic Landmark’s year-long Bicentennial. The open house, suitable for all ages, will feature mementos of the first president and his wife, shown by Mrs. Washington’s granddaughter, Tudor Place founder “Martha Peter,” as interpreted by a costumed actress. Mrs. Peter will greet and chat with guests in the grand reception rooms she and her husband completed in 1816.

Among other artifacts she will present on Presidents’ Day, Mrs. Peter will show the unique miniature portrait she received as a wedding gift from the first president, for which (uncommonly) he sat in person. She will also display an original, June 1775, letter from General Washington to his wife, one of only three surviving pieces of their personal correspondence, otherwise shown only in facsimile. In it, Washington regrets movingly that he cannot return home to Mount Vernon because he has agreed to command the Continental Army.

A prominent 19th-century American family, the Peters built their estate on eight and a half acres of farmland in Georgetown Heights while construction was underway on the nearby District of Columbia. Through six generations, they and their descendants lived in, preserved, and expanded the house, garden, archive, and collections, establishing them as a museum in the 1980s.

With the letter as inspiration, visitors will be invited to try their hands at the art of quill and ink writing in the Pierce-Arrow Garage.


Presidents’ Day Open House for adults and children, with a costumed interpreter and featuring rare Washington objects and family stories. $10/adults, $5/children; free to members.


Monday, February 15, 2016
11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

  • “Mrs. Martha Parke Custis Peter” (historical interpreter), Washington granddaughter and first mistress of Tudor Place
  • Executive Director Mark Hudson and members of the curatorial and education staff

Tudor Place
1644 31st Street NW
Washington, DC 20007


Highlights of the Bicentennial Presidents’ Day Open House will include:

  • Live interpretation: Mrs. Martha Parke Custis Peter will receive guests in the rooms where she hosted Georgetown society in the early 1800s. She will share artifacts and recollections from her famous forebears and chat about life on the urban estate, recalling great changes and historic events she witnessed from the nation’s early years until 1854.
  • Reception rooms of the historic house, staffed by guides. The Dining Room will be set in Mount Vernon style with plateau, glassware, and pieces of Sèvres porcelain the Washingtons purchased from a French diplomat for the first Presidential household.
  • A rare personal letter (otherwise shown in facsimile only for conservation reasons) from George to Martha Washington in 1775, relating his appointment to command the Continental Army.
  • A portrait miniature of the first president, commissioned as a wedding gift for his step-granddaughter, Tudor Place founder Martha Peter.
  • A camp stool, one of two remaining from the original set commissioned from a Philadelphia furniture maker for General Washington’s Revolutionary War campaign.

#presidents, #prezday2016, #georgewashington, #tudorplace #TP200, #DChistory, #UShistory, #TeachingHistory #presidentsday #tudorplace200

Print Version