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Current Museum Events

July 13, 2015 to July 17, 2015
Time Travelers - Children's Summer Camp

This hands-on, fun, interactive history camp is for children ages 9 to 12. The camp theme to be announced at registration in December 2014. Visit Registration begins December 2015.

TIME: 8:30am-4:00pm


July 21, 2015
Tuesday Talk: The Furniture of John Shearer, 1790-1820: A ‘true North Britain’ in the Southern Backcountry

SPEAKER: Elizabeth A. (Betsy) Davison, Independent Decorate Arts Scholar

TEEN/ADULT:  Though no personal papers have been discovered and very few records, Scottish immigrant John Shearer left behind fifty-seven pieces of furniture which tell us all we need to know about the man. Many of the joiner’s pieces contain hidden inscriptions and bold inlay that demonstrate his dual loyalty to England and Scotland, and his passion for the Royal Navy and Admiral Horatio Nelson. Like the caricaturists of the day, his inlay or inscription was added to a piece after Shearer read about a current event, particularly a naval event. Shearer never got into trouble for his pro-British attitude because he worked in areas of Virginia and Maryland that were culturally still British. His inlay and inscriptions reflect how a ’true North Britain,’ an eighteenth century lowland Scot, felt about his place in the world.

Elizabeth A. (Betsy) Davison, an independent decorative arts scholar, is a 2004 graduate of the MESDA Summer Institute. After graduating from Parsons The New School for Design, New York City, and the Smithsonian, Washington, D.C., program with an MA in the History of Decorative Arts and Design (2008), Ms. Davison guest-curated the exhibit ‘A True North Britain:’ The Furniture of John Shearer, 1790-1820  at the Daughters of American Revolution (DAR) Museum in Washington, D.C., October 2010-March 2011, followed by the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, Colonial Williamsburg, April 2011-March 2012. The exhibit and its accompanying book, The Furniture of John Shearer, 1790-1820: “A True North Britain” in the Southern Backcountry, were based on her master’s thesis. Ms. Davison has lectured widely on Shearer in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and Scotland.  She recently completed an article for the MESDA journal entitled Scottish Bedroom Tables from Scotland to the American South, which grew out of her research on Shearer.

TIME: 12 pm



August 3, 2015 to August 7, 2015
From Fiber to Fabric

CHILDREN’S SUMMER CAMP: Card, spin, weave. Cut, pin, sew. Learn about textiles from fiber to fabric. DAR Museum’s educators like to make history hands-on and fun. This camp is for ages 11 to 14. Registration begins December 2014.  Visit Registration begins December 2014.

Time: 8:30 am - 4:00 pm

Cost: TBD

Current Exhibition

“Eye on Elegance: Early Quilts of Maryland and Virginia”

"Eye on Elegance: Early Quilts of Maryland Virginia" introduces visitors to a little known history of early American quilts. Curator of Costumes and Textiles Alden O’Brien looks at quilts and their makers from Maryland and Virginia 1790 to 1860. The quilts, made from the finest imported fabrics of the time, reflect the refined taste, style, and wealth of the women artists.