NDSR Field Trip: Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens

On July 24th, the NDSR cohort visited “where fabulous lives” at Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens. NDSR alumn Jaime McCurry, Hillwood’s digital assets librarian, and Marge Huang, Hillwood’s archivist, gave us a behind the scenes tour of  the grounds, archive, and library.

Jaime, Juan, Jessica, John, Nicole, Valerie, and Alda

It’s difficult to believe a place this gorgeous is in DC. I took a lot of pictures for the blog, but they got deleted somehow. Sorry readers! The ones shown here I was able to recover from texts I’d sent that day. Again, sharing is a great method of preservation!

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Walking up to the estate. Members of the public can picnic on grounds for free.

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Hillwood has the largest collection of Russian imperial art outside of Russia.


The dining room. Marjorie was quite the host, and would never serve the same thing twice to a guest.

Even more impressive than the lush decor is what Jaime and Marge are doing to grow and control Hillwood’s digital assets. Here are some of the things they’re currently working on:

  • Recommending a digital repository
  • Developing a records management plan
  • Moving to ArchiveSpace
  • Migrating to a new content management system (Piction)
Jaime shows some of her favorite pieces of Post's jewelry on Piction.

Jaime shows some of her favorite pieces of Post’s jewelry on Piction.

Jaime and Marge want to bring the archives to the public by embedding them more fully into Hillwood’s exhibits and creating more opportunities for access online. So far 1,000 images are available on Artstor, they have 22k followers on Artsy, and 5 of Post’s home movies  are available on You Tube.

The coolest thing in the works is Hillwood’s partnership with Google, who visited the estate to shoot a Makovsky painting as a gigapixel image for their Art Project web portal. That image is now available, and the company plans to shoot 20 more. These paintings can now be studied at a granular level that’s never before been available, and Hillwood retains full rights to the images. So impressive!!!

Thanks again to everyone at Hillwood and the Library of Congress for coordinating this trip. Stay fabulous!

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