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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions about visiting Dumbarton Oaks, the gardens, and museum

May I take photos?

Commercial, promotional, and professional photography are not permitted, but photography for personal use is welcome. Flash photography and video cameras are not allowed in the museum, but may be used in the garden. Photographs may be posted to personal websites and blogs, and to social media.

Tripods, lights, and bulky photography equipment, are not allowed in the museum and gardens.

For digital or print publication, including scholarly and educational use, please refer to Rights and Reproductions.

Are food and drinks allowed?

Visitors may not bring food and drink, including water, into the museum. Visitors may bring water into the garden, but food and picnicking are not allowed.

How can I attend concerts?

For information about the concert series, including upcoming performances and ticket sales, see Music at Dumbarton Oaks.

Is Dumbarton Oaks accessible?

The museum is fully accessible. The garden, in keeping with its topography and historic design, presents several challenges to visitors with mobility impairments, including steep inclines, slippery surfaces, loose gravel walkways, staircases, and other impediments. For detailed information, see Accessibility.

What can I bring 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 foyer.

We may require that large strollers be left in the cloakroom, but can provide a small stroller for use in the galleries. The cloakroom has hangers for coats, small lockers for valuables (please bring a quarter), and storage for umbrellas.

Is it okay to touch the artwork?

No. 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.

May I sketch in the Museum or Gardens?

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.

In the Gardens, only a pencil or charcoal can be used on pads no larger than 12” x 18”.

Does Dumbarton Oaks rent out space for weddings or other private events?

Dumbarton Oaks does not host any external events, including weddings, on the property. Members of the public who are planning events or scouting for event locations may contact historic sites and parks in the DC area, such as:

  • Dumbarton House
  • Tudor Place
  • Montrose Park
  • Old Stone House
  • Brookside Gardens
  • Woodrow Wilson House

Are tours available?

We offer both walk-in and scheduled tours. For more information, see Guided Tours.

Are animals allowed at Dumbarton Oaks?

Only service animals are permitted in the museum and gardens.

What happens if I lose something at Dumbarton Oaks?

Any items found on the property are turned in to the Dumbarton Oaks Security Office. The items are logged in and kept for 30 days. After that, they are donated to local charities.

Dumbarton Oaks works diligently to reunite lost property items with their owners and in order to do so, we need specific information such as the date the item was lost, last known area of the campus, description, make, model, etc. Please email identifying information about the property along with contact information to and we will review and respond to your inquiry.

I have an artwork that is damaged or needs to be cleaned. Can you recommend someone?

Dumbarton Oaks is unable to endorse specific conservators. To locate a conservator in your area, we suggest that you search the “Find a Professional” database on the website of the American Institute for Conservation (AIC). The Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute (MCI) also has excellent resources to help you care for your art.

Does Dumbarton Oaks offer appraisals of art or antiquities?

Dumbarton Oaks does not authenticate, appraise, date, or attribute historic and artistic works. If you wish to learn more about the market or insurance value of your art, please consult a professional appraiser. The websites of the Appraisers Association of America and the American Society of Appraisers both have searchable online directories.