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The Octagon:
Museum of the American Architectural Foundation

1799 New York Ave.
Washington, DC
(202) 638-3221

Founded 1970
Handicapped accessible
A.A.M. Accredited; Affiliated with I.C.A.M., M.A.A.M., W.A.A.G., S.A.H., M.E.R.
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.
Closed Monday
Admission: $2 ($1 students/seniors)

Statement of Purpose

When the British burned the White House, President and Mrs. Madison moved into one of the most beautiful homes in Washington, D.C.

A short block from the White House stands the Octagon, a National Historic treasure. One of the first great homes built in the new nation’s capital, the Octagon is a landmark of America’s architectural, political, and cultural history. Completed in 1801 for the eminent Tayloe family and designed by William Thornton, the original architect of the U.S. Capitol, the Octagon is one of the most significant and elegant buildings to remain standing from the early federal city. It was in the upstairs parlor that President Madison signed the Treaty of Ghent on February 17, 1815 establishing peace with Great Britain. In 1899, The American Institute of Architects chose the severely deteriorated building as its new national headquarters, initiating a series of state-of-the-art restorations.

After over two centuries of use, adaptation, renovation, and restoration, the Octagon continues to serve as a reminder of the great beauty of early American design and the lasting value of architectural excellence. Restorations of many old buildings include updating the plumbing, water pipes, and the heating and water systems, as well as restoring the facade of the building.

The Octagon is the oldest Architecture Museum in the country. Its programs focus on Architecture, Design, Restoration and Preservation issues for the general public and museum professionals.

A view of The Octagon
in its present urban landscape


The Octagon Permanent Collection of Decorative Art Objects
Decorative art objects of the early 19th century, case study restoration of historical house, White House during the war of 1812.
Prints and Drawings Collection
Architectural drawings, historical photographs, sketchbooks, models about the practice of architecture. Special colletions include: works by Richard Morris Hunt, Henry Bacon, Greene and Greene, Bertram Goodhue, Mickim Mead & White, Hugh Stubbins Clarence, Hunt and Hunt, and others.

Highlihts, Exhibits & Events

Research Fields

Key Personnel

CEO: Nancy Davis, Director
Sherry Birk, Curator of Prints and Drawings
Linnea Hamer, Curator of Exhibitions
Charlotte Kroll, Administrative Manager
Suzanne Rosenblum, Curator of Education

Dining Room of the Octagon
The table has been set for a fancy 19th century dinner party.

Special Hard Hat Tour
Special tours examine the details of this state-of-the-art restoration effort.

Exhibition Installation
Recent installation in the Octagon's newly restored 2nd floor galleries.

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All information is subject to change - This document is non contractual.