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In furtherance of our mission to support the humanities, Dumbarton Oaks has developed innovative, collections-based educational programs for K–12 students in the DC area.

Our educational philosophy is to provide interactive and experiential learning opportunities over repeat visits whenever possible through partnerships with schools and educational organizations. If you’re interested in partnering with Dumbarton Oaks, please contact the Education Manager at


Our Partnerships

Read more about our partnerships with schools and educational organizations in the DC region:

Burroughs Elementary School

In 2019, Dumbarton Oaks piloted a partnership with the music program at John Burroughs Elementary School. In the fall, Early-Career Musician in Residence and violinist Robyn Bollinger conducted several visits with Dr. Robert Bannister’s fourth-grade music class in early stages of learning string instruments. The students performed a holiday concert at Dumbarton Oaks and toured the Music Room. In the spring, Early-Career Musician in Residence and composer Viet Cuong presented two remote learning sessions focused on his composition work and a movement activity on tempo.  

DC Collaborative

Since 2015, Dumbarton Oaks has been an active member of the DC Arts and Humanities Education Collaborative, a nonprofit that connects DC Public and Public Charter Schools to cultural institutions and advances equitable access to learning opportunities in the arts and humanities. Through the Arts and Humanities for Every Student (AHFES) lottery program, Dumbarton Oaks provides field trips to the Museum and Garden, and subsidizes transportation expenses. Students have participated in guided tours, participatory discussions, and hands-on activities.

Horizons Greater Washington

Dumbarton Oaks has partnered with Horizons Greater Washington since 2017, a nonprofit organization that provides academic, cultural, and recreational programs empowering economically disadvantaged students. As part of the Summer Program, elementary and middle school students participate in a weekly elective focusing on Byzantine coins and Pre-Columbian jewelry. Past summer programming in 2017­–2019 has included guided gallery tours, hands-on activities including archaeology excavation, coin-striking, and designing jewelry, and a Career Day, which aimed to introduce students to the range of careers in the humanities and across the museum, library, garden, publications, information technology, and finance. In 2020, the summer program was conducted remotely in response to the COVID-19 pandemic but maintained the interactive learning experience with close-looking at art, curator talks, participatory discussions, and facilitated art-making activities.

Hyde-Addison Elementary

In October 2016, a pilot garden program for Hyde-Addison second graders was launched, as part of a growing long-term partnership with the local school. Over the course of the year, students from Hyde-Addison Elementary, a public school within walking distance of Dumbarton Oaks, visited the gardens to supplement their science curriculum. The students made three trips to the garden in the fall and another three in the spring, thus allowing them to experience seasonal changes in plant and insect activity. In 2017–2018, The school’s first-grade classes learned the basics of plant biology through engagement with different areas of our historic garden, in preparation for the science class they will take in second grade.

International High School at Langley Park

Dumbarton Oaks hosted students from the International High School at Langley Park, a community school serving English-language learners. In spring 2017, students visited the museum to participate in educational programming with an emphasis on cultural identity. Dumbarton Oaks developed this programming in partnership with CASA Maryland, an immigrant services and advocacy nonprofit organization. In the winter 2017, the AP World History class from the International High School at Langley Park, which serves English-language learners and recently arrived migrants, explored the Pre-Columbian galleries and compared the exquisitely crafted objects on display, and the information they provide about the cultures that produced them, with sixteenth-century colonial descriptions of the Maya. In 2018–2019, Dumbarton Oaks hosted two immersive object-based field experiences: one visit exploring the Pre-Columbian Gallery and a second visit, which included a guided tour of Written in Knots: Undeciphered Accounts of Andean Life, an activity based on the Incan system of encoding numerical information in knots, and a discussion in the garden about applying to college with Early-Career Fellows. In 2019–2020, a sample Document-Based Question (DBQ) for the AP World History exam was developed in conjunction with the Margaret Mee: Portraits of Plant exhibition. It examined the roles of artists, scientists, and other experts in response to the deforestation of the Amazon.

Phelps Architecture, Construction and Engineering High School

The Mellon Initiative in Urban Landscape Studies at Dumbarton Oaks offers workshops, field trips, and other programming for students across the District, with the goal of improving urban environmental literacy and introducing students to potential careers in urban landscape design and management. More information on student outreach and programming can be found at the Mellon Initiative in Urban Landscape Studies