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Historical Society of Washington, D.C.

202-249-3951||DCHistory.org

The Historical Society of Washington, D.C., tells the diverse stories of our nation’s capital to a broad community of learners, near and far. We serve students and teachers. We welcome and educate newcomers and engage old-timers. We celebrate, preserve, and present everyday life in Washington, D.C. Our valuable collections come to life through educational programs, initiatives, and exhibits designed to gather people to satisfy their curiosity, to learn each other’s stories, and to develop respect for the larger community in which we live.

Today’s Historical Society collects educational material that documents D.C. history, presents public programs, produces exhibits, and publishes historical information across a broad spectrum of media, from print to social. The Historical Society introduces the thrill of discovery to schoolchildren and adults alike. The Historical Society has provided images and research to WETA, the Smithsonian, Amblin Entertainment, local restaurants, independent documentary filmmakers, authors, masons, architects, and construction companies. The Historical Society collaborates with its fellow historical, cultural, and civic institutions to strengthen this diverse and dynamic region.

Community leaders and organizations that understand the role of history in creating a healthy city all support the work of their local history museums and libraries. As in other city museums worldwide, individual donors, foundations, corporations, and governmental organizations from the metropolitan area all support the work of the Historical Society of Washington, D.C.


The Historical Society of Washington D.C. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit community-supported educational and research organization that collects, interprets, and shares the history of our nation’s capital. Founded in 1894, it serves a diverse audience through its collections, public programs, exhibitions, and publications.

Upcoming Programs

November 2017

For the Record: Picturing D.C.

November 9, 2017 - March 4, 2018
George Washington University Museum | The Textile Museum, 701 21st St NW
Washington, DC 20052 United States
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November  9, 2017 – March 2018 George Washington University Museum|The Textile Museum For the Record: Picturing D.C. is a juried exhibit of 44 original artworks by 25 local artists who have focused on neighborhoods in each of Washington, D.C.’s eight wards. These two-dimensional artworks, created between 1988 and 2017, offer the artists’ interpretations of Howard Town/Pleasant Plains, Burleith, Palisades, Shepherd Park, Ivy City, Buzzard Point, Kenilworth, or Congress Heights. Since its founding in 1894, the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. has…

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March 2018

DC Oral History Collaborative Community Meeting

March 8 @ 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm EST
Southeast Neighborhood Library, 403 7th St SE
Washington, DC 20003 United States

Join the DC Oral History Collaborative at the Southeast Neighborhood Library to learn more about oral history workshops and how you can get involved! About the DC Oral History Collaborative Created in response to a growing need to capture unrecorded Washington history, the DC Oral History Collaborative (DCOHC) documents and preserves the stories and memories of DC residents as communities experience change and residents age. The initiative makes existing oral history recordings more accessible and gives residents the training and…

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Design Inspiration from the Archives

March 13 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm EDT
Newseum, 555 Pennsylavania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001 United States
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Free

This workshop is designed to spark creative re-use of historical material. The collections are a goldmine for design inspiration. In this workshop, attendees will gain inspiration from collections ranging from Victorian dance cards to mid-century modern government docs, punk rock posters to 1940s restaurant menus, gold-inlaid bindings to mod fashions. Let the typography and ornament inspire your next creative project! Access to the reading room is via the Newseum’s Group Entrance on C Street (enter via C Street Group Entrance between 5th & 6th…

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Community Policing in the Nation’s Capital

March 31, 2018 - January 15, 2019
National Building Museum, 401 F Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20001 United States
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  THE PILOT DISTRICT PROJECT, 1968-1973 OPENS MARCH 31, 2018 In 1968, the eyes of a troubled nation were focused on Washington, D.C. After the assassination of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the ensuing widespread neighborhood destruction that followed in the District and nationwide, what would come next? Would D.C.’s political and community leaders rise to the occasion? A new exhibition organized in partnership with the National Building Museum as part of a city-wide commemoration of the…

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April 2018

Intro to House History

April 17 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm EDT
Newseum, 555 Pennsylavania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001 United States
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Free

This workshop is an introduction to resources available for discovering the history of houses and other buildings here in D.C. This is an opportunity to learn about information found in microfilm resources (including city directories and tax assessment records), digital resources (such as the building permits database and related History Quest platform), and real estate atlases. Access to the reading room is via the Newseum’s Group Entrance on C Street (enter via C Street Group Entrance between 5th & 6th…

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Annual Member Meeting

April 28 @ 10:00 am - 12:30 pm EDT
Newseum, 555 Pennsylavania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001 United States
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Join the Historical Society staff and trustees for our Annual Member Meeting. Staff will present highlights and updates from 2017, and the Board of Trustees and attending members will vote to confirm new trustees and positions. Additional details are forthcoming.

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May 2018

Visionary Historian Award and 124th Anniversary Celebration

May 10 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm EDT
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, 801 Mt. Vernon Place NW
Washington, DC 20001 United States
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The Visionary Historian Award is presented to an individual whose lifetime body of work represents the highest achievement in the study of Washington, D.C. history. The 2018 event celebrates honoree Howard Gillette, Ph.D., and highlights 124 years of collecting and interpreting D.C. history. Howard Gillette, Ph.D., Author of Between Justice and Beauty: Race, Planning, and the Failure of Urban Policy in Washington, D.C. Anyone engaged in the study and presentation of D.C. history today is the direct beneficiary of the…

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D.C. 1968

May 15 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm EDT
Newseum, 555 Pennsylavania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001 United States
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Free

This workshop is an introduction to resources for researching and learning about D.C. in 1968. 2018 marks 50 years since Washington, D.C., and many other urban areas around the nation exploded in civil disturbances in the wake of the assassination of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. But as noted at the 2017 D.C. History Conference, D.C. in 1968 was about much more than the civil disturbances. The workshop serves as an introduction to resources relating to many aspects of…

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September 2018

Making D.C. History Awards

September 20 @ 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm EDT
Newseum, 555 Pennsylavania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001 United States

Over the last six years, the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. has honored 27 Washingtonians and D.C.-based organizations whose enduring contributions to our community have helped create, define, and preserve our city’s identity. On Thursday, September 20, 2018, the Historical Society will welcome more history makers to the growing list of distinguished recipients of the Making D.C. History Award. The awards event is one of the Historical Society’s premier fundraising events to support its mission. Event Details When: Thursday, September…

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November 2018

D.C. History Conference

November 1 - November 4

Now in its 45th year, the 2018 conference explores themes related to “Mobility, Migration, and Movement,” including the creation of Metro, the impact of migration to the region, and the bicentennial of the birth of Frederick Douglass, a man for whom mobility meant an escape to freedom.

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