Octagon Museum
Octagon Museum
4.5
11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Thursday
11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday
11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday
11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
About
Closely tied to our nation’s history since its construction began in 1799, The Octagon is a symbol of power and influence in Washington, DC. The Octagon house was built by enslaved workers for Virginia’s wealthiest plantation family, largely as a gesture by the Tayloes in support of the newly-established capital. The building was designed by the first architect of the United States Capitol, William Thornton, and served for six months as the White House after the 1814 Burning of Washington. Recognizing The Octagon’s national importance, The American Institute of Architects (AIA) established its national headquarters on-site in 1898 and restored the building as one of the country’s earliest preservation projects. In the 1970s AIA constructed its current headquarters on the site of The Octagon’s original outbuildings, opening The Octagon as a museum. Now owned by the Architects Foundation, The Octagon hosts programs demonstrating the cultural and societal impact of architects.
Duration: 1-2 hours
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The area
Address
Neighbourhood: Upper Northwest
How to get there
  • Farragut West • 8 min walk
  • Farragut North • 10 min walk
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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.


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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles35 reviews
Excellent
15
Very good
15
Average
5
Poor
0
Terrible
0

5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Friends
This house is a really interesting part of American History. The three levels of the home really show the differences between the wealthy owners and their slaves.....worth a visit if you have time
Written 9 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2023
This was such a little gem in WDC. We really enjoyed our tour and experiencing this piece of history.
Written 8 April 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ashok Ganapathy Iyer
Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2019 • Business
Architecture formed the cornerstone of the North American Political Arena.... the historic residential typology that housed the American Institute of Architects before they formally shifted to their new home in 1973
Written 28 December 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Eugenia G
Ellicott City, MD
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2019
This is a very interesting house with a history that is not known by many of the people who visit. All of the rooms are beautiful and I learn a lot that I did not know about the history of my new country!
Written 9 December 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Erika Lynn
Leland, NC
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2019 • Solo
Yes an octagon has 8 sides; you’re forgetting the basement floor and roof are sides too!
It was cool to walk through where a former president lived. The period pieces complement the decor nicely as do the stories you read as you go. I liked that I wasn’t rushed by a tour guide and. Take all the pictures you want too!
One of DC hidden gems if you ask me!!
Written 6 October 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

brideforlife
Virginia
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2019 • Family
It was a temporary White House for James and Dolly Madison. The Treaty of Ghent was signed here. Open Thursday-Saterday from 1-4 pm.
Written 17 May 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kayla
Washington DC, DC
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2019 • Solo
They explain what life was like for the inhabitants and when James and Dolley Madison stayed there after the White House burned down. They also do a good job of highlighting what is known about enslaved persons who worked there.
Written 5 January 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kurt_Mich75
Jacksonville, NC
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2018 • Family
Visited the Octagon House with my family and some friends. It was a nice little museum, with interesting architecture, colorful history, a helpful guide and a ghost story. Both adults and teenagers were perplexed at the design of the home, surprised by the colors of the walls, and intrigued to learn about the living conditions of servants of that era. Even the ghost story held our attention!
Written 20 December 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

M2718
Maryland
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2018 • Solo
This house is run by the American Institute of Architects and does have both history and beauty.
However, it is small (three stories are open with approximately 3 rooms a piece) and lacking in how it's presented. Two rooms upstairs are essentially modernized for exhibits but don't have much in the way of those exhibits. It's a lovely house, and I'd certainly recommend seeing it if it's convenient, but frankly, the signs aren't very informative, the furnishings aren't well labeled (even as to whether they're reproductions or original) and there just isn't much there.
That said, there does seem to be an effort to try to be more accessible -- I think there was one piece of furniture roped off in the entryway and there was a clothing display in the drawing room where touching was encouraged.
Note that there are signs of progressing work so this review may be quickly outdated.
Written 7 February 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

chr_8
lb,il
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2017 • Solo
Frankly even with all the wonderful and historic sites there are in DC, I am surprised that this site isn't better known. The house is interesting from an architectural standpoint and it is lovely to see that an organization of architects is involved with it's preservation. It's main interest to me however was it's really important place in history. It was used by the Madison's as a temporary White House after the original was burned by the British in the War of 1812 and it is where the Treaty of Ghent ending that war was signed.
Written 13 December 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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OCTAGON MUSEUM: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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