Past Exhibits

Window to Washington (2012-2017)

The Society's permanent exhibit traces the evolution of the built environment of the District of Columbia. The Historical Society’s Window to Washington featured the Kiplinger Washington Collection. The exhibit explored the development of our nation’s capital, from a sleepy southern town into a modern metropolis, as told through the works of artists who witnessed the city’s changes. The exhibit included some of the collection’s rarest and most iconic artworks and features rotating pieces from other holdings.

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DISTRICT II (November 19, 2016 – February 12, 2017)
National Building Museum

nbc4districtIIOrganized by the Historical Society of Washington, D.C.  and presented in partnership with the National Building Museum, the visual survey explores several decades of architectural and social change in the heart of the Nation’s Capital, from the majesty of the McGill building, to storefronts exclaiming TOPLESS GO GO, to sleeping street denizens and the aching beauty of respectable rooming houses turned less-so flophouses slated for the wrecking ball.

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For the Record: Changing D.C. (April 15 – July 16, 2016)


For more than 120 years, the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. has helped preserve depictions of the city’s built environment through paintings and photographs. The Historical Society continues the tradition of capturing Washington’s built environment through the arts. For the Record is an annual juried exhibit of artworks that capture Washington’s changing urban landscape.

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For the Record: The Art of Lily Spandorf (November 21, 2015 – Summer 2016)
The George Washington University Museum | The Textile Museum

spandorfThis exhibition—presented at the George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum and co-produced and co-curated with the Historical Society of Washington, D.C.—explored the artwork of Austrian-born watercolorist and journalist Lily Spandorf (1914-2000). Working with pen, ink, watercolor, and gouache, Spandorf became known for the news illustrations she created for the Washington Star, the Christian Science Monitor, and Washington Post, among many other periodicals. Late in her career she became celebrated for passionately recording the transformation of Washington, D.C.’s urban landscape, especially the many red-brick, late-19th-century buildings facing demolition, being demolished, or whose historical contexts were erased for modern construction.

DISTRICT: Chris Earnshaw

DISTRICTII_header4DISTRICT explores D.C. during the 1960s and 1970s through the extraordinary eye of photographer Chris Earnshaw. These images – captured originally as Polaroid prints and nearly lost to time and neglect – reflect the demolition, desperation, beauty, and energy in the every-day of the capital city of the era. DISTRICT is presented by the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., in partnership with artist and archivist Joseph Mills.

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Exposed DC Photography Show: 10th Anniversary Exhibition (March 10 March 29, 2016)

ExposedDC2016ShowGraphic2Exposed DC is celebrating a decade of local photography this year. Since 2006 Exposed DC featured images by D.C.-area photographers who disregard the tourist and political sides of the nation’s capital to reveal the real city we live, love, and work in every day.

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reVISION::Thinking Big, New Projects in Washington, DC (September 23 – December 18, 2015)

ReVisionThinkingBig_promo_websiteThe Historical Society of Washington, D.C. is pleased to present “reVISION::Thinking Big, New Projects in Washington DC,” an exhibition that focuses on five mixed-use projects currently in design, in the final stages of development review, or under construction: The Yards, The Wharf, Burnham Place at Union Station, Capitol Crossing, and the McMillan Sand Filtration site. The exhibition examines the theories and context behind each project’s design as well as the complexity inherent in projects of such vision and scope.

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For the Record: Artfully Historic D.C. (April – June 2015)
Over 100 artists submitted work to For the Record: Artfully Historic D.C.

For the Record Vertical Logo ThumbnailA panel of nine jurors selected the top 75 artworks that are displayed at the Historical Society’s headquarters in the Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square. On display April through June 2015.

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