[Slideshow] Celebrating Places at the Partners in Preservation Open House Weekend

Posted on: May 9th, 2013 by Sarah Heffern

Sousapalooza! -- in honor of one of Congressional Cemetery's famous residents, John Philip Sousa -- was in full swing.
Sousapalooza! -- in honor of one of Congressional Cemetery's famous residents, John Philip Sousa -- was in full swing.

The DC metro area served up what could only be described as perfect spring weather -- sunny, warm, and dry -- for the Partners in Preservation Open House Weekend on May 4-5. And with activities ranging from viewing Saturn's rings to meeting adoptable dogs, participating sites pulled out all the stops to impress visitors -- and garner votes!

Excited that, after years of being in other cities, Partners in Preservation was in our own back yard, I was among several National Trust staff who jumped at the chance to see Open House Weekend first-hand. And I think I speak for all of us when I say that we were impressed with not only the events and sites, but also the enthusiasm of local community members who turned out.

Before you dive into the slideshow and recaps, one reminder: Voting ends tomorrow, so there are but two chances left to support your favorite sites. Vote now!

All Souls Church Unitarian:
I joined friends and congregants at All Souls after services for bell-shaped cookies and punch on the terrace, followed by a rare tour of the bell tower, which houses the Revere bell and which would benefit from Partners in Preservation funding. We received a lesson in bell ringing, observed the workings of the clock, and took in a spectacular view of the city. -- Erica Stewart

Clara Barton's Missing Soldiers Office:
I attended the 2nd annual Whiskey and Cigar event. There were approximately 80 people in attendance, which is 50 more than the site reported the previous year! -- Monica Rhodes

Colvin Run Mill:
Colvin Run Mill had kid-friendly activities like old-timey laundry and corn meal grinding as well as demonstrations of the mill at work. They also had a voting booth station set up on the way out, so visitors could not leave without casting a vote. -- Sarah Heffern

Congressional Cemetery:
I got to Congressional on the early side on Saturday, so I missed the spaghetti sauce tasting scheduled for the afternoon. I asked the origins of the tasting, which seemed odd for a cemetery, and was told that it’s because John Philp Sousa’s family was apparently famed for their tomato sauce. (Sousa is one of their famous “residents.”) I did get to hear the sousaphone played, saw families heading out on a scavenger hunt, and visited the mausoleums that would benefit from the grant. -- Sarah

Dumbarton Oaks Park:
I took a walking tour of the site and listened to a poetry reading there. Site supporters staffed half a dozen informational tents related to education and preservation of the site, and lots of families and local preservationists attended the event. -- Andy Grabel

Heyden Observatory:
I viewed a magnified Georgetown clocktower and saw Saturn and its rings from a telescope inside the observatory. -- Andy

Volunteers -- and adoptable dogs! -- at the Aspin Hill Kennel.
Volunteers -- and adoptable dogs! -- at the Aspin Hill Kennel

The Kennel at Aspin Hill:
Visitors were invited to walk in and take a look around the kennel while discussing its future use with a member of the Montgomery Humane Society. The MHS also brought two very adorable dogs and three guinea pigs ready for adoption. -- Monica

LAMB @Military Road School:
LAMB’s open house festivities included a meet and greet with former students of the Military Road School, a peek at the school’s green roof, and a look at plans to restore the historic school building, now 101 years old. Attendees of all ages enjoyed lawn games, a barbeque, and a riotous circus act by a very agile LAMB parent. -- Erica

Sixth and I Historic Synagogue:
I toured the sanctuary and balcony, walked on the stage, and visited the reception hall where site volunteers and staff served refreshments. -- Andy

US Marine Corps Memorial:
Friendly and well-informed Park Service employees staffed a tent that was chock-full of information both about the monument and the Partners in Preservation program. -- Sarah

Washington National Cathedral:
I listened to a soul/gospel band performing on the Cathedral steps, walked around the inside of the sanctuary, and walked on the grounds and through the collection of vendor tents. -- Andy

Voting begins on April 24, 2013 at 12:01am Eastern Time and ends on May 10 at 11:59pm ET. Must be at least 13 to vote. Limit one (1) vote per person/email address per calendar day. See terms of participation for complete details.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern is the National Trust's social media strategist. While she embraces all things online and pixel-centric, she’s also a hard-core building hugger, having fallen for preservation in a fifth grade “Built Environment” class. Follow her on Twitter at @smheffern.

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