June 1, 2023

UMW Museums Staff Travels to White House

UMW Museums staff gathered in the White House Entrance Hall.

UMW Museums staff gathered in the White House Entrance Hall.

It was a real pleasure to lead a group of 49 employees, volunteers, interns, and student aides of the University of Mary Washington Museums on a field trip to our nation’s capital on February 8.

So many people had a hand in making the day a success, including Jennifer Partridge Pinkerton, Office and Membership Manager at Gari Melchers Home and Studio; Denise Millner, Events Manager and Katrina Canfield, Events Assistant at GMHS; Bethel Mahoney, James Monroe Museum Office, Store, and Membership Manager; and Lindsey Grace, JMM’s Public Programs Coordinator.

Thanks also to:

  • Our White House tour guides, Chief Curator Lydia Tederick and Melissa Naulin, Associate Curator of Decorative Arts, who took time from their day jobs to take us through, including to spaces not often seen by the public. Of particular interest were the Bellangé furniture pieces and other decorative arts obtained for the White House by President Monroe, beautifully conserved and exhibited in the Blue Room (along with portraits of James and Elizabeth Monroe).
  • At Decatur House, headquarters of the White House Historical Association, President Stewart McLaurin graciously allowed us to eat our boxed lunches in the Decatur Carriage House. Director of Special Events Arioth Harrison Smirne was especially helpful in coordinating details. Historians Sarah Fling and Lina Mann, and Assistant Director of K-12 Education Ken O’Regan, took us through the historic home of one of the US Navy’s first heroes, Commodore Stephen Decatur (where James Monroe’s daughter and son-in-law, Maria and Samuel Gouverneur, had their wedding reception in 1820) and highlighted research and exhibits pertaining to enslaved persons who lived and worked on the property.
  • Finally, Diana Greenwold, Curator of American Art at the National Museum of Asian Art, spoke to us about the Freer Gallery’s new exhibit, “Freer’s Global Network,” featuring Gari Melchers’ impressive 1908 portrait of President Theodore Roosevelt, on view for the first time in years.

A great day, indeed!