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“A Jewel of a Secret”

The President Woodrow Wilson House
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Dupont Circle and Embassy Row Architecture Tour
Ranked #71 of 432 things to do in Washington DC
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: The well-preserved former house of President Woodrow Wilson.
Level Contributor
58 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
“A Jewel of a Secret”
Reviewed 5 July 2013

This is an off-the-beaten-path treasure in Washington, D.C. Our tour guide, Rich Goodwin, was superb. He has great depth of knowledge about Wilson and about the house. He is antecdotal, entertaining and informative. If you like history, he will make it come alive. Well worth the $10 fee in my estimation. There is even a nice little gift shop. The tour lasts for approximately one hour.

For an added bonus, walk around the neighborhood to see the many embassies, consulates and residences of ambassadors to the U.S. that are in the immediate vicinity.

Visited July 2013
1 Thank GB4469
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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165 reviews from our community

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English first
Arlington, Virginia
Level Contributor
488 reviews
195 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 237 helpful votes
“Interesting Presidential house tour”
Reviewed 23 June 2013

A lot of houses fall into either the category of "[Famous Person] slept here" or "[Famous Person's] house." This house is neither of those. Woodrow Wilson lived in this house, but for only three years after his presidency was over. As a result, visiting the house informs you mostly about those three years of his life; it is not a comprehensive look at Wilson's life and career.

The most interesting thing about the house is that virtually everything in it was actually owned by Woodrow Wilson and his second wife. There is all sorts of memorabilia, including furniture, photos, artwork, statues, letters, clothing and canes that Wilson acquired (and that was given to him by foreign governments). Wilson's collection of porcelain is especially impressive.

The house itself is architecturally interesting. It does not look especially big from the outside, but with four stories and 28 rooms, it is a small mansion. It was ahead of its time when it was built; one of the first houses with electrical lights. It also has some interesting design elements involving the storage spaces.

There is a guided tour that lasts about 1 hour and costs $10 (discounts are available). The guide shows a brief video introduction about Wilson's life. I assume I am like most people and knew little more about Wilson than that he was President during World War I, so the background detail was very helpful and gave more meaning to the house and how it fit into Wilson's life. The guide is knowledgeable and invites questions about the house and the memorabilia.

Also, while many historic home tours are limited to a few rooms, this tour traverses just about every room on three out of the four floors; only the servant's quarters on the fourth floor are not included in the tour. For this reason, and because the house and its furnishings are in the condition they were in when Wilson was there, I really felt like I had a good sense of what it must have been like when Wilson lived there. If you have any interest in American history, it's worth the small amount of time and money it takes to tour.

Visited June 2013
7 Thank Brendan S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
573 reviews
274 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 313 helpful votes
“A glimpse into Wilson's life”
Reviewed 2 June 2013

A small house museum tucked away north of Dupont Circle, this is a nice respite from the large downtown museums and bustle of tourists. Wilson lived here after the White House and viewing his study gives an intimate feel for what his life must have been like on a much smaller scale than the White House. There's a 15 minute film of his life that helps set the stage for what his last years must have been like after his failure with the League of Nations and his debilitating stroke. Docents lead small groups through the house and garden out back for $10. The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday 10-4.

Visited June 2013
1 Thank cfuller603
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
St. George, Utah
Level Contributor
165 reviews
52 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 124 helpful votes
“What a great surprise”
Reviewed 20 May 2013

Our last morning in DC, with a little over an hour to "kill", we wandered a few blocks away from our B&B to visit this museum. Really, really surprised by many of the things we learned (I wish American History had been this interesting in HS!) and the collection of personal memorabilia was really impressive.
Our guide knew we were pressed for time, but quickly showed us around and threw in some very interesting stories and facts.
Yes, there is a charge, however...many people drop that at Starbucks every week...or every day for some.
Lovely tour, just go do it!

Visited May 2013
1 Thank BuckeyeRover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
34 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“An intimate and informative tour”
Reviewed 20 May 2013

We have walked past the Woodrow Wilson House in Dupont numerous times and decided to investigate on a quiet afternoon. The house is mostly filled with original furniture and memorabilia. Tour groups are small and intimate with well informed tour guides who are most personable and relate personal stories of what the Wilsons' lives were like in returning to the house after the presidency. You are allowed to linger and take photos in the rooms of the house. The Wilson home seemed so comfortable and personal in that the Wilsons surrounded themselves with treasured moments and objects from the history of their lives. It is an opportunity to travel back into time. If you didn't feel a connection to the Wilsons previous to your visit, you will after you have been in this museum's surroundings. What a gift that Mrs. Wilson gave in presenting their home and belongings to history. The tour is well worth the $10 entrance fee and my daughter and I would like to thank our tour guides.

Visited May 2013
2 Thank dustermomke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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