A few weeks ago my friend Carole and I went to Hillwood Estate Museum and Gardens in Washington DC. This is a fascinating place but I found the opulence somewhat disturbing. The wealth on display in this mansion/museum is mind-boggling and I felt it best not to think about it too much just to enjoy the beauty that was set before me.
The curator and mistress of this home, Marjorie Merriweather Post was the daughter of Post Cereal founder C.W. Post. She inherited her father’s business and did well, eventually becoming General Foods. There was never a shortage of money as is evidenced by her home turned museum and her story, which is eloquently told by our tour guides.
I appreciate the work that went into creating this lavish household and I especially appreciate the work that continues to house and to display the collections within. Ms. Post was a woman on a mission and part of her mission was to create a legacy. She did this remarkably well as I would imagine she did most things in her life.
There are Fabergé eggs on display, as well as art from the collection of the Russian Empress, Catherine the Great. But what really caught our little group unexpectedly, as was evident by our collective gasp, was the dining room.
The Italian dining room table has six leaves and can seat more than 30 people. Each table insert weighs 250 pounds. This table was originally from Post’s Palm Beach Florida home Mar-A-Lago, which she shared with her second husband Edward F. Hutton. She willed Mar-A-Lago to the US Government upon her death and directed the Florentine hard-stone mosaic table be moved to Hillwood.
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