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State Department Diplomatic Reception Rooms

Art Foggy Bottom Free

When the State Department was finished in 1951, the wife of the secretary of state wept when confronted with the chrome, glass-and-concrete walls and tasteless furniture. Today, the diplomatic reception rooms are dubbed Washington’s best-kept secret—a delight for serious art- and antiques-lovers. They contain national masterpieces from 1740 to 1825, valued at some $90 million. Among the collection are Chippendale pieces; the English Sheraton desk on which the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1783, ending the Revolutionary War; and a table-desk used by Thomas Jefferson. There are also some none-too-exciting exhibits in the lobby on the history of the State Department. Note that you can only visit by guided tour, for which reservations are required (call or book on


Venue name: State Department Diplomatic Reception Rooms
Address: C & 22nd Streets, NW
Washington, DC

Opening hours: Guided tours 9.30am, 10.30am, 2.45pm Mon–Fri
Transport: Foggy Bottom-GWU Metro
Price: Admission free
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