Featured Object

In each issue, the bimonthly DAR magazine, American Spirit, highlights an object from the DAR Museum collection in its "National Treasures" feature. These objects, often recent accessions or important pieces in the current exhibit, always have a story to tell about American history.

National Treasures

Seats of Honor

The side chair, with its elaborate, hand-decorated, gilt stenciling, was made in Baltimore, Md., between 1815 and 1825 out of tulip poplar and maple woods. In the neoclassical style, the gilt décor features a Roman helmet, sheathed sword and stylized floral motifs called anthemions. The distinctive shape of this chair, with its exaggerated angled back and wide tablet-form crest rail, is taken from the ancient Greco-Roman klismos design. The chair descended in the Key family of Maryland and was a gift to the DAR Museum from Martha Maddox Key. Family member Francis Scott Key wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner” during the War of 1812.

This delicate painted armchair was made in England between 1800 and 1810. It was one of a set of 16 that originally sat in the Octagon, a classical-style, three-story brick house in Washington, D.C., designed by Colonial architect Dr. William Thornton. Built between 1799 and 1801 for the Colonel John Tayloe family, the Octagon was the temporary presidential mansion for James and Dolley Madison after the British burned the White House in 1814. Madison signed the Treaty of Ghent, which ended the War of 1812, in the house in 1815. The chair was a gift to the DAR Museum from the Misses McKean.

American Spirit Volume 143, Number 5, September/October 2009, Page 6
Side chair photo by Mark Gulezian/Quicksilver; armchair photo by Scott Braman

More National Treasures

Sitting Pretty

To the Rescue

Strange Brew

Tayloe Family Ties

Ornamental Trio

Reviving the Stone

A Record to Remember

Strong Set

Fashion Flashback

Let's Go Ride a Bike


Isn't It Romantic

A Rockin' Good Toy

The Mystery of Mother and Child

Keep Cool

Dress for the Ages

Historical Register

Banjo Time

Getting Warmer

Virginia Map Quest

Serve It Up

Greatest Toy on Earth

Dress for the Day

Boston Uncommon

A Teapot to Revere

Birthday Threads


Play On

Top Drawer

Burning Bright

Seated in Revolution

Something to Crow About

Sister Stitch

Tea Time

Capturing Cherubs

A Link to the Past

Brushes with Fame

Something Borrowed

Supper Is Served

Stately Seats

Heirloom High Chest

Making Beautiful Music

Forged From Fire

For Madame's Trousseau

Let It Out

Heavenly Harmonies

Priceless Pooch

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