The Dining Room

During the Federal period, the Dining Room was the primary location for formal entertainment. 

The furnishings of the room reflect its use as a hosting space for the different Dumbarton House occupants in the Federal period, which ranged from Henry Middleton, a Congressman from South Carolina, to Samuel Whitall, who owned a fishery in Virginia.  The dining room table was owned by the Nourse family, the first family to live at Dumbarton House, and can expand to seat up to twelve people. The sideboard displayed the family’s glass and silver.  

 The new Republic was still in its infancy during the Federal period and many dinner parties were prime gatherings for discussing questions about the role of government. The developing sense of patriotism among Americans is represented in the prints throughout this room and the carving of the U.S.S. Constitution frigate on the fireplace mantel. 

Dining Room Transformation!

The Dining Room prior to recent renovations.

The Dining Room was closed for renovations from December 2023-March 2024. During this time, the curatorial team installed new wallpaper updated the furnishings and art. New window treatments are set to be installed summer 2024!

These efforts are part of greater measures to ensure the period rooms at Dumbarton House are historically accurate. The changes also allow for more creative interpretation, which will emphasize various scenarios that may have taken place in a Washington, DC, dining room during the Federal period.  

This time lapse shows the curatorial team removing small objects from the Dining Room to begin clearing the space for wallpaper updates.