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Are you an art lover, a scholar with the zealous character, a rare book collector, or an individual with passion for research? Would you like to have a venue for a lecture or music concert or simply to visit a silent, tranquil and rejuvenating place? Then Dumbarton Oaks is exactly the right place and the best choice for you.
Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss were the founders of Dumbarton Oaks in 1920. They later donated it to Harvard University. The main intention was to make it “a place of natural serenity and intellectual adventure”, which has its originality up to this day. Dumbarton Oaks’ name is “a Home for the Humanities.” It boosts an artistic and well-furnished museum, flourishing immaculate, refreshing and therapeutically gardens, a fully equipped library with the rare books, a funded research institute, a spacious and comfortable events room and finally a music room that would change your mind about music.
This building was built in 1801and later redesigned to the Georgian style Mansion when the Blisses acquired it in 1920. Beatrix Farrand did redesign and develop the marvelous garden, and this made Dumbarton Oaks one of the most outstanding landscapes in Washington during that time.
Over the years, Dumbarton Oaks has served thousands of people who are in search of serenity and have intellectual hunger. They have never been disappointed. The Dumbarton Oaks music room was built in 1928, which consists of the architectural elements that have a unique antique. The floor and the ceiling have extraordinarily designs made by Armand Albert Rateau. These are from the Chateau de Cheverny’s templates in Paris, France. The mantel piece also originated from France, Chateau de Theob on specifically. Accredited with peace, Dumbarton Oaks is the place where the famous Washington conversations are the apex of the Second World War took place. The delegations from the United States, Soviet Union, United Kingdom and China were at the Dumbarton Oaks music room taking about international organization, and the outcome of the famous United Nations Chatter. The music room also provides a place for events such as lectures and music concerts that can be fully facilitated.
The Dumbarton Oaks Museum has some of the rare collections of all forms. The galleries compose of the specialized collections ranging from Byzantine, Pre-Columbian art, the European masterpieces and various house collections. The Byzantine collection is made up of art from Byzantine Empire and the other collections from the neighboring empires between 330 to 1453 CE. The Dumbarton Oaks Museum represents the sculpture and mosaics as well as the culture of the Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians based on their metal work. The displays in the byzantine gallery depict themes on the funerary and ecclesiastical realms, religious adornments, private worship, religious icons, status emblems, representations of imperial power, identity and precious materials such as silver, ivory, gemstones plates, boxes, lamps, and jewelry.
The Pre-Columbian gallery, designed by Philip Johnson, consists of the artworks from the ancient cultures of Latin America. Its outstanding display consists of Aztec and Inka art. The other displays consist of the works created in cultures of the Olmec, Nasca, Maya Chavin, and Moche. Some items in the collection are architectural panels, unique metalwork, weavings, stone sculptures and ceramics which are a glimpse of the opulence of achieved, personal and portable items. These artifacts exhibit the expert of craftsmanship, regional variations in technologies tastes, ideologies and materials. The building made of glass and travertine, in which the Pre-Columbian Collection lays, was immaculately designed by Philip Johnson through his inspiration of a modernist aesthetic and Islamic architecture.
The House Collection gallery consists of Asian, American and European artwork as well as interior furnishings. It contains sculptures, furniture, paintings and tapestries spread from the fifteenth to nineteenth centuries. The outstanding works are done by Bernhard Stigel, Tilman Riemenschneider, El Greco and Bernardo Daddi.
The Bliss Gallery is the best form of introduction to Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss, the Dumbarton Oaks founders and presents the best reception to the visitors. The unique selection of the artworks in this area highlights the Blisses’ art collecting and passion for themes relevant to the collections and institutional research programs.
The Rare Book Gallery consists of the distinct exhibitions of the library’s collection of nearly a century. It adjoins the eighteenth-century French-style Rare Book Reading Room, specially designed by Frederic Rhinelander King.
The Textile Gallery consists of Andean and Byzantine textiles. The garments and hangings exhibit iconographic elements and ancient weaving styles in the earlier days in the society. The floor of the textile consists of a Byzantine mosaic detailed with the scenes. The ancient hunters and gatherers actively engaged with a tigress and a boar on a wide field elaborately strewn with the dense florets. The orientation gallery consists of information about Dumbarton Oaks. It provides computer access to the Dumbarton Oaks website, available services, collections database and also hosts occasional outstanding exhibitions.
Dumbarton Oaks has a research institute which is a part of Harvard University that exists to improve further and to publish a research in the fields of Byzantine Studies, Pre-Columbian Studies and Garden and Landscape Studies. Blisses have initiated this useful program. A detailed program of project grants essentially supports all archaeological research and also materials analysis in the long term and short term projects conducted in the research institute.
The exquisite garden consists of the plant material and the rare garden ornament. The trees make the centerpieces creating a veritable framed view. There are benches nestled at the corners and under the arbors. These benches are of the beautiful designs and have a utility function. Finials, vases and Urns mark the transitions between the open spaces creating a focal point of the axes. All this complements and enhances the unique architecture. The inscriptions chosen by Blisses and the other scholars enhance the gardens’ beauty meaning and significance. This offers ultimate serenity and tranquility.