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The Mission of Dumbarton Oaks

A message from the Director of Dumbarton Oaks

Jan Ziolkowski
Jan Ziolkowski, Director of Dumbarton Oaks

As the home of the Humanities, and in the spirit of the original bequest, Dumbarton Oaks aims to be at the forefront of advances in such areas as digital archives, the history of the book, manuscript and textual studies, oral history of scholarship, and online publication. The institute is experimenting with internships, workshops, and curatorial projects that encourage young scholars to break down barriers between work experience and traditional classroom learning. It takes equal pride in its docents and garden volunteers, whose ranks span all ages. Learning is not limited to the lecture hall, library, or archives, but can flourish in the garden, museum, or refectory. Our strategies for fostering scholarship and advancing our areas of research include supporting scholars in residence, collaborating with peer institutions nationally and internationally, and engaging when possible with diplomatic and cultural entities in the Washington area and beyond.

Our project to shift housing for fellows from 30th Street to 1700 Wisconsin Avenue will create a residential component to round out the research portion of the campus that was completed in 2007-2008. Although aiming to project ourselves outward through ventures as traditional as paper-and-ink publications and as innovative as digital libraries and online exhibitions, we remain very much a community in which face-to-face interactions among students of all ages and hands-on use of scholarly materials are essential. In sum, Dumbarton Oaks endeavors to fulfill the best possibilities of the twenty-first century while upholding the best of the traditional humanities—and of humaneness.

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