Step through Presidential History at the Woodrow Wilson House

Step back in time to the 1920s as you explore the Washington, D.C. home of President Woodrow Wilson, the only president to live permanently in D.C. after leaving the White House. We love that they have monthly events, quarterly prohibition cocktail gatherings and

In our effort to highlight all of the best historical homes and museums in Washington, D.C, we spoke withSarah Andrews, Manager of Marketing & Special Events at the Woodrow Wilson House, to share what makes this museum special, why you should visit, and what you need to know before you go.

Woodrow Wilson House
photo credit Sarah Andrews

Where is the museum located?

Location: Woodrow Wilson House, 2340 S Street, NW Washington, DC 20008 (Kalorama neighborhoods near Embassy Row)

What topics does the museum cover?

The President Woodrow Wilson House, a national historic landmark (designated 1964), covers 20th century American history, Women’s Suffrage, the presidency of Woodrow Wilson, his wife Edith Wilson, and how the people and era were affected by the Wilson Administration, and other 1912-1924 topics.

Woodrow Wilson House
photo credit Sarah Andrews

What is your museum’s claim to fame?

Wilson was the first President to remain in Washington, D.C after the White House, and the only one to do so permanently. Having served as twenty-eighth President of the United States, leading the nation through World War I and giving the world the League of Nations, Woodrow Wilson moved to S Street in 1921 to reflect on his career as a scholar, politician and world statesman.

This National Trust Historic Site was designed by Waddy B. Wood, a fashionable Washington architect in 1915 and is authentically furnished. Wilson House gives a special glimpse into the private life of Woodrow Wilson while examining the impact of his consequential presidency on present and future generations.

On display are important materials from Wilson’s presidency; objects from the White House; elaborate gifts of state from around the world; family items and personal objects. The house also is a living textbook of “modern” American life in the 1920’s – from sound recordings to silent films to flapper dresses and zinc sinks.

What is your favorite exhibit or artifact in the museum?

Woodrow Wilson House
photo credit TAS Photo

We have over 8000 original artifacts so it’s hard to choose. Perhaps the shell casing from the first shot fired by American Troops in WWI or the Baseball signed by King George V of England from an Army versus Navy game played July 4, 1918.

What kinds of special exhibits and events do you host throughout the year?

We host a number of events at the Woodrow Wilson House throughout the year.

  • Monthly Vintage Game Nights (1st Wed of each month)
  • Quarterly cocktail events with a prohibition era cocktail and special objects on view
  • Book talks and lectures
  • Holidays Through History open house (in partnership with Dumbarton House and Anderson House)
  • Museum Walk Weekend (first weekend of June annually in partnership with the Phillips Collection, Anderson House, NMJAMH, and Dumbarton House.)

Our exhibition gallery also hosts one to two exhibitions per year on topics relating to the early 20th century.

Are there guided tours available?

There is a general guided tour available for walk up visitors or advance purchase on the website. New special topic tours are by reservation only and include:

  • Director’s Tour
  • Curator’s Tour
  • Upstairs/Downstairs- How The Other Half Lives
  • Behind the Scenes-Architecture & Gardens
  • Temperance Tour + Visit Prohibition-era Wine Cellar

We have an audio tour under-construction – no release date has been announced yet.

Woodrow Wilson House
photo credit Sarah Andrews

How much time should someone plan to spend at the museum?

Generally, guests should plan to spend at least one hour. You will want to add on additional time to explore special exhibitions or to visit the museum shop.

What should someone bring with them and what items are not allowed in the museum?

Backpacks and other large bags must be stored in lockers or left in coat room. Strollers must be left in the coat room before you can explore the house.

Woodrow Wilson House
photo credit Sarah Andrews

Is photography allowed inside (without flash)?

Yes.

What should parents of young children know before visiting the museum?

Our artifacts are not behind ropes so children must be closely monitored as they explore the home where Wilson lived. Strollers must be left in the coat room, and small children carried.

Woodrow Wilson House
photo credit Sarah Andrews

What’s the coolest item for sale in the gift shop?

You will definitely want to check out the vintage games like Pick-up-sticks, Mah Jongg and Pit.

Is there a museum cafe or restaurant?

We do not have a cafe. There are vintage snacks for sale like M&Ms, Good&Plenty, Cracker Jacks and Animal Crackers in the gift shop.

Woodrow Wilson House
photo credit Sarah Andrews

What should teachers planning a field trip know before reaching out to you?

Groups are limited to 45pp or fewer, and will be divided into two or three groups of about 15 each. All groups tour simultaneously. Groups can be accommodated outside normal business hours through advance reservation.

What else should a visitor know before visiting?

Please call ahead to receive information on handicap accessibility. We have a very tiny elevator and a transfer chair that can be used by prior arrangement.

Woodrow Wilson House
photo credit Sarah Andrews

What are your normal days and hours of operation?

  • Friday- Monday, 11am to 4pm
  • Thursdays, 11am to 7pm
  • Closed Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

*Groups of 10+ and rental events can be accommodated outside normal business hours through advance reservation.

Does the museum have a bag check or coat room?

We do have a coat room, as well as lockers that will be installed in summer 2020.

Woodrow Wilson House
photo credit Sarah Andrews

Is there parking available?

Street parking is limited to two hour; there is no parking lot.

We are within five blocks of Dupont Circle Metro Station and on the N2/N4 Metrobus line.

Is there an admission fee?

  • $15 Adults
  • $10 Seniors and Students
  • $5 Active Duty Military
  • $7.50 Members of National Trust for Historic Preservation
  • Children under age 12 – free

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