A photograph of Marjorie Merriweather Post's Palm Beach estate, Mar-A-Lago, shows an elegant 1964 dance party.
An opulent room at Mar-A-Lago.
A butler ascends the grand stairway at Hillwood.
A table set for a feast at Mar-A-Lago.
The Hillwood kitchen, bustling with activity.

Living Artfully

An exhibit at Hillwood Museum reflects the life and times of Marjorie Merriweather Post

Nestled in a bucolic neighborhood in Northwest DC, Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens is one of Washington’s happiest surprises: a grand, 1920s neo-Georgian mansion showcasing the collected furnishings and art of its illustrious former owner, the late Marjorie Merriweather Post. A trip to Hillwood is like stepping into another world—one that truly comes to life with the museum’s upcoming exhibit, “Living Artfully: At Home with Marjorie Merriweather Post.”

Post, who inherited the cereal empire from her father, C.W. Post, adeptly managed both fortune and business, eventually forming the General Foods Corporation. She was philanthropic—and very social. After years in New York and Palm Beach society, she purchased Hillwood in 1955 and soon became a sought-after Washington doyenne. With a full-time staff, she hosted everything from garden teas and charity events to formal dinners and movie screenings. 

From June 8 to January 12, 2014, visitors may glimpse the high-society world of the 1950s and ’60s during an exhibit that restores Hillwood to the way it looked during Post’s lifetime, when the décor melded Mid-Century Modern conveniences with 18th-century French and Imperial Russian antiques. On display will be photographs and objects from Hillwood and Post’s other homes, Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach and Camp Topridge in the Adirondacks. An audio tour will offer oral histories from former staff members, who describe daily life with Post—and detail how they created her famous parties. hillwoodmuseum.org