Riversdale House Museum

Riversdale House Museum

Today, this elegant architectural gem has been restored to reflect the lifestyle of the Calverts in Federal America. Rosalie Calvert’s letters, supplemented by other archival records and archaeology, are used to provide modern-day visitors with a better understanding of the period. The journal of Adam Francis Plummer, an enslaved man owned by the Calverts, provides a rare first-person account of African American life in 19th century Maryland.

The museum is open to the public for docent-guided tours and for a variety of special events. It also may be rented for weddings, receptions, luncheons, and business meetings. The volunteer Riversdale Historical Society works with M-NCPPC staff to preserve the cultural heritage of Riversdale and maintain the mansion as an historic house museum.

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Image Credit: Riversdale House Museum

Hours

Tours: Fridays & Sundays, tours depart from Visitor Center on quarter hour: 12:15, 12:45, 1:15, 1:45, 2:15, 2:45, and 3:15 pm. Group tours can be scheduled in advance, 7 days a week. Please contact the office if you are interested in booking a group tour.
Visitor Center|Offices: Monday-Friday, 9 am-5 pm and during Sunday open hours
Museum Shop: Fridays & Sundays, 12 noon-3:30 pm and during special events
Grounds|Gardens: Sun-Sat, dawn-dusk (occasionally closed for programs and private rentals; contact office for details)

(Note: Many places fill to capacity on busy, nice weather days, especially holiday weekends. Please call ahead or visit the official website to get the most up-to-date information before visiting.)

Fees

Admission:
$5/adults, $4/seniors/groups, $2/ages 5-18, FREE/ages 4 & under

Activities

  • Regularly-scheduled docent guided tours.
  • Periodic open hearth cooking demonstrations during regular open hours.
  • Group and school tours by appointment.
  • 1812-themed programs and other special programs throughout the year.

Facilities

The museum is open to the public for docent-guided tours and for a variety of special events. It may also be rented for weddings, receptions, luncheons, and business meetings for groups of up to 75. The Riversdale Historical Society, a volunteer organization, works with staff from The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission to preserve the cultural heritage of Riversdale and maintain the mansion as an historic house.

History

Rosalie Stier Calvert, known as the “Mistress of Riversdale,” watched the Battle of Bladensburg from her second-story window at Riversdale Plantation. She later wrote about seeing the cannonballs fly. When the battle was over, her husband George Calvert and field hands from the plantation helped to bury the dead. Throughout the war, Mrs. Calvert skillfully managed the plantation—including about 80 enslaved people—while surviving the hardships of wartime. Her family suffered through a typhoid epidemic in the summer of 1813 that left her 17-month-old daughter dead. As the war came to an end, Calvert wrote of a “precarious peace” and expressed uncertainty about how reliable the young national government and economy would be. Her experiences during the war and her life at the plantation are captured in detail in the book Mistress of Riversdale: the Plantation Letters of Rosalie Stier Calvert.

Weather

Last updated: April 24, 2019
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