Part of: Gay Day, Family,
Hillwood founder Marjorie Merriweather Post's tradition of opening her home to visitors for grand entertaining is the backdrop for Gay Day. This year, the haute couture-like paper creations of Isabelle de Borchgrave in the exhibition Prêt-à-Papier add an exquisitely fashionable touch to the day of celebration, while the beauty of the cutting garden is tapped for the creation of glorious floral arranging demonstrations.
Family Garden Party
The day begins with a Family Garden Party with Rainbow Families DC from 10 am to noon. As de Borchgrave does, family members of all ages will gain inspiration from historic fashions to design and decorate their own original paper shoes. Games, picture books, and more offer hands-on fun, including hats, wigs, and other fancy dress-up costumes inspired by Prêt-a-Papier to transport guests to a world of splendor. At 11 am, listen to storyteller Arianna Ross weave engaging tales through the power of acrobatics, dance, and the spoken word. Breakfast treats, including a pancake buffet, will be served on the Lunar Lawn, where Post hosted her legendary garden parties.
An Afternoon of Fashion, Flowers, and Entertainment
In the afternoon, all the elements of beauty and cordiality that characterized Post’s life at Hillwood are on display for Gay Day. Post’s passion for finely-crafted and exquisite objects extended to her landscape and orchid collection. Head of Greenhouse and Design Operations, Jason Gedeik, gives a presentation about Post’s love of orchids using evocative archival images and fascinating stories of how she incorporated them into her luxurious lifestyle. Visitors can also watch as Gedeik recreates a magnificent floral arrangement based on a photograph of one of Post’s historic centerpieces—with an abundance of flowers from the Cutting Garden, which is in magnificent bloom in September. Behind-the-scenes views into rooms and spaces not usually accessible to the public, including the dumbwaiter, game closet, snooze room, and massage room, provide a glimpse into the facets that made Post’s sophisticated lifestyle possible.
As always, gallery talks enlighten visitors about the collections, while performances from the Rock Creek Singers of Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington and the DC Lambda Squares showcase the contributions of our community partners. In between activities, visitors are invited to view the special exhibition Prêt-à-Papier: The Exquisite Art of Isabelle de Borchgrave, enjoy a relaxing lunch at the Café, pick up a special item in Hillwood’s popular Museum Shop, and wrap up the day with Punch on the Portico, a sociable toast to the GLBT community.