On Wednesday, July 7th, 13 of us from Pack Horse Ford Chapter went to Washington, D.C. to attend DAR Congress; an annual event. We had two reasons for going. One was for me to receive (and my friends to cheer me on) my first place National award for my Bee Line March Box. The second reason was that an 1826 sampler, that was done in Harper's Ferry, WV, had been purchased by the West Virginia State Society DAR (my chapter played a roll in that) and it was going to be on display in the West Virginia Room at DAR Continental Hall during the open house on that day.
We were driven to DC in a commuter van and arrived on time at the JW Marriott Hotel to attend the West Virginia Breakfast. It was really nice, but we had to rush out of there to get down two levels of the hotel to the ballroom where the awards were being handed out. We got there and they had already started! I was sitting next to two ladies who were together. I asked where we were, they told me literature. I thought, OK, I think I know where we are in the program. During a lull in awards I asked where they were from. They said Oregon. I asked, Portland? The lady nearest me seemed a little surprised that I actually had heard of their state let alone, knew the name of a city there. Smart a** me said "I also know that the capital is Astoria." She was even more impressed. The other lady leaned over and said that she wasn't from the Portland area, she came from a little town on the other side of the mountains that she knew I'd never heard of. I looked at her and said "I bet you're from Bend." I swear, I thought she was going to fall over dead! After determining she was going to be OK, I told her I could really surprise her. She could not imagine how I could do that. "Well", I said "I haven't only heard of Bend, Oregon; I've actually been there." At that point the awarding started again and I had to give the lady time to recover from the vapors anyway.
Finally, we got to fiber arts. They started with the overall winner who received a special award sort of like "Grand Champion". Then it was my turn!
After the awards we went back up to street level, caught three different cabs and headed over to DAR Constitution Hall. The DAR complex actually takes up a whole city block in Washington and is Constitution Hall, Continental Hall, the Library and Administration Building. Pretty neat. Below is a photo of the DAR Library. It is magnificent! The ceiling is glass skylights. And just look at that clock! Rooms like this do something visceral to me.
First thing we did was head downstairs to the lunchroom and get sandwiches for lunch. We actually had to wait until 12:30 for the display room to open. We were the first ones in when it did open though. And there was a surprise. Front and center, right inside the room in a very prominent place, was my box! I couldn't believe it! And, so, here I am with my box. The only thing that we thought was a downer - and lots of other people going through the room said the same thing - was that there was nothing to tell the story behind the pieces. We had to submit an essay with our piece explaining how we got the idea and how it fit with the theme "America's Heritage Remembered". If these essays (or paragraphs) had been displayed with the pieces, I think their stories would have been better understood.
Here are a couple of other pieces that I thought were outstanding in the competition: The caligraphy you have to look at - and read - enlarged. I thought that this was a VERY clever idea. Seems to me the lady was from Texas.
This quilt is from the northwest - the color shows as pink, but it was really red on black with white shell buttons. I just love the color combination red, black and white.
We then wandered about for the rest of the day in small groups. I spent the afternoon with Darla Ambrose who is a fellow chapter member and very dear. She is just one of the nicest women I know - and very classy! Believe me, I can use lessons in classy. Anyhow, we went shopping in the DAR store and the vendor mall in the hallway outside Constitution Hall (got lots of nice patriotic jewelry) and the DAR Museum store. We went through the Museum and saw their quilt show and the displays set up celebrating French General Lafayette. They also had displays on table wares. Again, no explaination of the tablewares, just that they were displayed. Finally Darla and I went into Constitution Hall and sat in a couple of the seats there, listening to the choir practice for the Congressional Opening Ceremony to be held later that night. Here's a picture of the stage.
In the DAR buildings, there are rooms called "Period Rooms". Each state society has their own period room which is decorated in Colonial/Federal style (thus the "period"). I had forgotten not only to charge my camera battery, but to put the memory card in, so was operating on low, low, low power when I took the following picture of the West Virginia Period Room -
My chapter regent had been asked by the State Regent to prepare something about the sampler that was purchased last year and is now on display in the room. She and another chapter member got together with another chapter member who conveniently owns a printing company and came up with the most amazing brochure about the woman and the sampler. Unfortunately, I don't have a copy of it yet. But, here's the sampler:
As you can see, it was stitched by Mary Louisa Broadus. When I get my copy of the brochure, later this summer, I'll write more about the sampler.
It was an awesome day! Because of a series of unfortunate events I was unable to pick up my box when my husband took me back down to D.C. on Saturday the 10th. The woman was nowhere to be found!? Fortunately, I will be seeing the state chair this coming weekend and she was able to find the woman and the box. So it will soon be happily home. The executive director of another local historical society has asked me to bring the box down for her to see when I can. They are currently putting on an antique needlework show through October. More on that in another post.
Hope you enjoyed the pics!