Creating the Ideal Home, 1800-1939: Comfort and Convenience in America
October 2, 2013
October 4, 2013 to August 30, 2014
This exhibition explores how we got from the fireplace and washing clothes by hand to the many conveniences we take for granted today like automated electric appliances, plumbing and central heating.
The comforts and conveniences that define modern life did not come about overnight but evolved during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Daily chores became easier especially for the housewife as American inventors patented all sorts of labor-saving devices from the vacuum to the washing machine.
Technology also brought about ready entertainment and instant communication through the radio and telephone. Lighting advanced from the flickering candle to a bright, gas powered flame. Expectations forever changed with the introduction of electricity into homes beginning in the 1880s. Electrically powered devices like the light bulb and toaster defined the modern house by the roaring 1920s. The 1939 World’s Fair in New York City celebrated a “Century of Progress” with the debut of the television, a wonder that mesmerized visitors at the RCA building.
Over sixty objects dating from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries will be on exhibit showing the “latest” devices that no one could live without. In the final analysis, however, did these devices actually save time or did they create more work?
DAR Museum Receives Highest National Recogntion
Awarded Re-Accreditation from
the American Association of Museums
WASHINGTON, DC – The Daughters of the American Revolution Museum has again achieved accreditation by the American Association of Museums (AAM), the highest national recognition for a museum. Accreditation signifies excellence to the museum community, governments, funders, outside agencies and the museum-going public. DAR Museum was initially accredited in 1974. All museums must undergo a re-accreditation review at least every 10 years to maintain accredited status.
“It is an honor that the dedication of our DAR Museum staff and member volunteers to provide a high quality cultural institution has once again been recognized with reaccreditation from the American Association of Museums,” said DAR President General Merry Ann Wright. “As one of only a few historical decorative arts museums in Washington, D.C., we are proud of the outstanding exhibitions and programming that we offer to the community and visitors to our Nation’s capital.”
Founded in 1890, the DAR Museum collection has grown to feature more than 30,000 examples of decorative and fine arts. The collection includes furniture, silver, paintings, ceramics, quilts and costumes, reflecting the artistry and craftsmanship of America prior to the Industrial Revolution. These objects are showcased in the museum’s main gallery as well as in 31 period rooms depicting scenes from early American life which are located around the organization’s National Historic Landmark headquarters building in downtown Washington, D.C.
Re-accreditation signifies that a museum meets and often exceeds the standards and best practices of the museum field. The DAR Museum is one of 779 accredited museums in the United States. Only 4.5% of the estimated 17,500 museums in the country are accredited.
“Accreditation is emblematic of a museum's overall excellence and its commitment to public service," said AAM president Ford W. Bell. "In a city of great museums, the DAR Museum ranks as one of the finest. Moreover, AAM accreditation marks the DAR as one of the best museums in the country."
AAM Accreditation brings national recognition to a museum for its commitment to excellence, accountability, high professional standards, and continued institutional improvement. Developed and sustained by museum professionals for 35 years, AAM’s museum accreditation program is the field’s primary vehicle for quality assurance, self-regulation and public accountability.
Accreditation is a rigorous but highly rewarding process that examines all aspects of a museum’s operations. To earn accreditation, a museum first must conduct a year of self-study, then undergo a site visit by a team of peer reviewers. AAM’s Accreditation Commission, an independent and autonomous body of museum professionals, consider the self-study and visiting committee report to determine whether a museum should receive accreditation. While the time to complete the process varies by museum, it generally takes as long as three years.
Visitors to the DAR Museum can enjoy its period rooms which are on display to the public year-round. Rotating exhibitions are presented two times a year in the main gallery. Through February 26, 2011, visitors can enjoy the current exhibition, “‘A True North Britain’: The Furniture of John Shearer, 1790-1820.” The exquisitely detailed furniture of craftsman John Shearer is noted not only for its form but also for the politically charged symbols inlaid in many pieces. The furniture helps to explore early America’s cultural ties to Great Britain during the most contentious period in the two nations’ shared history.
DAR Museum's Quilt Camp Sends Quilt to Soldiers in Iraq
The DAR Museum’s Quilt Camp, in conjunction with the Fairfax, Virginia chapter of Quilters Unlimited, was honored to send a “Quilt of Valor” to comfort injured troops in Iraq. The Quilt of Valor program, which works with one of the Emergency Department hospitals in Baghdad, gives a quilt to each soldier admitted.
The DAR Quilt Camp for 10- to 17-year-olds meets in two-week sessions each summer. Campers learn about quilt crafts and create projects inspired by pieces from the museum’s collection. Last summer, they helped appliqué hearts on the quilt, which was created by Kathy Gray, Debbie Repass and Elaine Stemetzski from Quilters Unlimited.
The quilt is also decorated with signatures and words of gratitude and encouragement from the campers and the DAR Museum’s education team. "It’s good to know that we were able show support for our troops and bring a touch of home to them," said DAR Museum Curator of Education Raina Boyd.
Fashioning the New Woman: 1890-1925
By, For, and Of the People: Folk Art and Americana at the DAR Museum
Try To See It My Way: Behind the Scenes at the DAR Museum
A True North Britain: The Furniture of John Shearer, 1790-1820
Honoring Lafayette: Contemporary Quilts from France and America
Wedgwood: 250 Years of Innovation and Artistry
Return to Toyland
Telling Their Stories: 19th Century Samplers and Silk Needlework
New Threads: Quilts and Costumes
And So To Bed: The American Bedroom, 1750 - 1920
Myth or Truth? Stories We've Heard About Early America
Obsolete, Odd and Absolutely Ooky Stuff from the
DAR Museum Vaults
Memorial Continental Hall: 100 Years of History
Home and Country: American Quilts and Samplers
Something Old, Something New: Inventing the American Wedding
Explore the World by Charting a Course Through History: Maps from Colonial Williamsburg
Forgotten Patriots: African American and American Indian Service in the Revolutionary War
The Stuff of Childhood: Artifacts and Attitudes 1700-1900
Feminine Images: American Portraits 1750-1860
View All Past Exhibitions