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Visitor FAQ

Dumbarton Oaks welcomes visitors to its museum and historic gardens. Below you will find information about how to help us preserve our collections and gardens and make the most of your visit.

General | Museum | Gardens | Photography


Are the museum and gardens accessible?
The museum is fully accessible. The gardens, in keeping with their topography and historic design, present several challenges to visitors with mobility impairments, including steep inclines, slippery surfaces, loose gravel walkways, staircases, and other impediments. Detailed information about accessibility can be found here.
Are children allowed in the museum and gardens?
Children are welcome, but we ask that accompanying adults supervise them closely in both the museum galleries and the gardens.
Can I rent out the gardens or museum galleries for a private event?
Dumbarton Oaks does not host external events on the property. Members of the public who are planning events or scouting for event locations may contact historic sites and parks in the D.C. area, such as:
  • Dumbarton House
  • Tudor Place
  • Montrose Park
  • Old Stone House
  • Brookside Gardens
  • Woodrow Wilson House
Are animals allowed in the museum and gardens?
Only service animals are permitted in the museum and gardens.
Can I schedule or join a tour of the museum and gardens?
Docents lead regular tours of the museum, gardens, historic rooms, and architecture of Dumbarton Oaks, and visitors may book special tours for groups. Please see here for more information.


How can I help preserve the museum collections?
For the protection of the collections, please refrain from touching art objects. In view of the intimate setting, we kindly ask that visitors show consideration for others while in the galleries and follow the guidance of our gallery attendants. Smoking is not permitted in the museum.
May I bring a bag, backpack, or handbag into the museum?
Handbags and small backpacks may be carried into the museum. Bags or packs worn on the back are not permitted. All parcels and bags larger than 11" x 16"x 8", including backpack-style child carriers, must be checked in the cloakroom, located in the museum entry foyer.
Are strollers allowed in the galleries?
We may require that large strollers be left in the cloakroom, located in the museum foyer. A small stroller is available for use in the galleries.
Does the museum have storage for coats, umbrellas, and valuables?
The cloakroom, located in the museum foyer, has hangers for coats, small lockers for valuables (please bring a quarter), and storage for umbrellas.
Does the museum sell food or drink, and may I bring my own?
There is no food or drink service in the museum, but water fountains are available by the public restrooms. Visitors may not bring food and drink (including water) into the galleries.
Are art supplies permitted in the museum?
Visitors are welcome to sketch in the museum with pencil or charcoal on pads no larger than 12” x 18”. The use of paints or easels requires prior permission. In addition, pen markers, vine charcoals/pastels or soft drawing media, and open containers or solvents are not allowed in the museum.


How can I help preserve the historic gardens?
Please stay on paths whenever possible and do not climb on the trees or step on the plantings.
Can I bring a picnic to the gardens?
Picnicking is not permitted in the Dumbarton Oaks Gardens. Montrose Park, a short distance to the east on R Street, can be used for picnics. Although Dumbarton Oaks does not have a café or restaurant on its premises, nearby Wisconsin Avenue has numerous food and drink options.
Do you provide reduced admission rates for frequent visitors?
Frequent visitors may consider purchasing a gardens season membership. This provides unlimited entries, expedited entry to the gardens, invitation to member-only events, and a ten-percent discount to the Museum Shop.
Do the gardens get busy? When is a good time to visit?
Spring (March through May) and fall (September and October) are our busiest seasons. Visitors can expect lines for paid admission to the gardens on the weekends, especially at 2 p.m. We recommend getting out of line and making a detour into the museum to avoid a long wait. Visitors who prefer a quiet stroll and a less crowded experience may wish to visit us during regular hours on a weekday (closed Mondays).


Can I take photographs of the museum and gardens?
Photography for personal use is welcome, but flash and video cameras may not be used in the museum. Commercial, promotional, and professional photography, as well as tripods, lights, and bulky photography equipment, are not allowed in the museum and gardens.
Can I publish photographs that I take of the museum and gardens?
Photographs may be posted to personal websites and blogs, and to social media. For digital or print publication, including scholarly and educational use, please refer to Image Rights and Reproductions.
Can I schedule a photo shoot for my engagement, wedding, or other special event?
Professional photography, including for engagements, weddings, and special events, are not permitted at Dumbarton Oaks. Please be aware that we reserve the right to deny entry to wedding parties or visitors in wedding attire.