Skip to main content

Death Comes to Tudor Place

Special installation explores how people have historically expressed grief.

Tudor Place Historic House & Garden launches Death Comes to Tudor Place, a specialty exhibition and guided tour examining how funeral customs and burial practices evolved at Tudor Place across nearly two centuries. The Death Comes to Tudor Place tour will be offered October 3 through November 5, 2023. “Grief has always been a part of the human condition,” said Rob DeHart, Curator at Tudor Place. “This installation reveals how people have historically expressed their grief and how factors such as class and race come into play.”

During the tour, visitors will experience almost 200 years of traditions employed by upper-class households to express grief, many of which had their roots in the Victorian era. Discover the reasons why clocks are stopped, mirrors are draped in black fabric and why most funerals were held at home. Artifacts, such as clothing, jewelry and documents, from the Tudor Place Collection & Archive, not traditionally on display, will show how members of the family memorialized their deceased relatives. See pieces that reveal how George Washington, a Peter family relative, was honored and remembered after his death.

The tour will explore the funerary customs of enslaved and free domestic laborers who lived and worked at Tudor Place, which reflected generations of inherited customs and collective values. Visitors will learn how the constraints of the institution of slavery and racism affected how they memorialized their loved ones.

A model of Federal-period architecture in the nation’s capital, Tudor Place cares for thousands of objects in its collection and archive, including the largest Washington Collection outside of Mount Vernon. 

Tudor Place is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and Sunday from Noon to 4:00 pm. 

Guided tours are offered on the hour; self-guided garden visits are free.

Tudor Place is located at 1644 31st Street in Georgetown.