Duplicating
Tour copied successfully!

Points Of Interest

Point #1
Getting ready to be spooked!

1225 37th St NW, Washington, DC 20007, USA

  • Distance : 0.00
  • Attraction : Heading toward our first haunt
-

Just some info about where we are headed

Point #2
Exorcist film sites

3508 Prospect St NW, Washington, DC 20007, USA

  • Distance : 0.00
  • Attraction : Haunted Film sites
-

By now you should be standing in front of the Dumbarton Oaks Museum. Let me tell you a little bit about this place, as its origins are pretty fascinating. You know the phrase, \u201cit\u2019s all in a name\u201d? Well in the 1920\u2019s, this was about two names combined into one. First, let me tell you about where the name Dumbarton came from. This is the part where a prisoner of war and a rock in Scotland come into the picture. It was 1650, when Ninian Beall (Bell) ended up on the losing side of a war and was shipped to America as a prisoner of war. Eventually he would rise from being an indentured servant to a Member of the House of Burgesses, and a Commander and Chief for the Maryland and Virginia military. Not too shabby for Ninian. And if that wasn\u2019t enough, in 1702, Lord Baltimore granted him thousands of acres of land as a thank you. I guess that\u2019s what you do when you run out of thank you cards and nice bottles of wine, you give away thousands of acres of land. Totally makes sense. \r \rAnd can you just see Bell as he\u2019s gazing out over his newly acquired land and announces to all who can hear him, \u201cThis land is so lush, green, and beautiful, I simply have to name it after a giant rock in Scotland, the \u201cRock of Dumbarton. So I shall call this land, Dumbarton!\u201d And the crowd cheered and chanted \u201cDumbarton, Dumbarton, Dumbarton,\u201d while they lifted Bell off the ground, passing him from one person to the next above their heads, which is how crowd surfing first became a thing. Ok, while that\u2019s probably not EXACTLY how it went down, the land did remind Bell of the Rock of Dumbarton. But who knows, maybe it really did go down the way I imagined it. \r \rThe name \u201cDumbarton\u201d lasted about 160 years, before the residence began referring to it as \u201cThe Oaks,\u201d because...you guessed it, the land was filled with huge, beautiful white oaks. Clearly, the residence put a lot of thought into that nickname. It\u2019s like when my daughter got her cat and spent hours coming up with the perfect name...Cat. But whether you happen to be the first owner, or a resident over the years, what REALLY counts is being the last private owner of the estate, that way you get to name it whatever you want. Which brings us to Robert and Mildred Bliss, who decided to combine the two long-standing names, and calling their estate \u201cDumbarton Oaks.\u201d You might be thinking, \u201cI\u2019m pretty sure a fifth grader could\u2019ve figured that out.\u201d While that may be true, and a little snarky of you, I would counter with...would said fifth grader know that Vice President John C. Calhoun was at one time a resident here during his first term in office? Yeah, I didn\u2019t think so.\r \rIn 1940, after all their hard work in restoring the manor and gardens, the Bliss\u2019s donated the property to Harvard University to become a research institute. It\u2019s dedicated to the study of Byzantine (By-zan-tine) and pre-columbian art. Who knew Dumbarton Oaks would eventually become a research institute for Harvard! Nothing DUMB about that. Get it? Nothing dumb, DUM-barton. See what I did there? If Harvard had a scholarship for funny, I\u2019d be at the top of the list. \r \rNow that you\u2019re caught up on how this place was named, it\u2019s time to discover the incredible collections of artifacts, rare books, and exhibits that will amaze you, on the other side of these doors. If you don\u2019t have time to explore the museum right now, keep the museum on your left and head straight to the next intersection, R st NW, as we make our way to the Gardens . But definitely come back when you can. \r \rFor those who do have time, go on in and explore at your leisure. Make sure you find the Tlazolteotl (tl-oz-all-tatle) sculpture, you\u2019ll recognize it from the golden idle Indiana Jones stole in the beginning of the \u201cRaiders of the Lost Ark.\u201d While you probably won\u2019t have thousands of wooden darts flying at you, or a giant stone intent on rolling over you crushing every bone in your body, I still wouldn\u2019t recommend trying to steal this Aztec Goddess. But that\u2019s just me. It\u2019s your vacation and I say carpe diem, baby. \r \rWhen you\u2019re done, come back to this spot, and with the museum on your left, head to the next street, R st NW, and we\u2019ll go from there. \r

This is a premium tour, click below for complete access!