Preserving the built environment - including buildings, landscapes, and archaeological sites - is a way to remember and learn from the past. Throughout the country as well as in Washington, DC, women often initiated preservation efforts. The Dumbarton House, located in Georgetown, is one example of women preserving historic sites in the capital city.
Built around 1800, the Dumbarton House was once home to Charles Carroll, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He reportedly sheltered Dolley Madison as she fled from the burning White House and invading British troops in 1814.
The National Society of Colonial Dames of America, a patriotic nonprofit organization founded in 1891, purchased the house in 1928. They preserved the mansion and adapted it for their headquarters. In 1932, the organization began a major restoration project to return the house to what it originally looked like when it was built.
Dumbarton House is still the headquarters of The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America. The house is also a museum that features artifacts from the 1700s and 1800s. Explore the museum on your own or take an interpretive tour.