French drawing room at Hillwood


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Managing Great Estates Lecture Series - DC’s Downton Abbey in a Mad Men Era, by Estella Chung

From 1957 onwards Marjorie Post lived in stately Hillwood in Washington, D.C. for spring and autumn, retreated to Camp Topridge in the Adirondacks for the summer, and enjoyed the winter season at Mar-A-Lago, her glamorous villa in Palm Beach. This lecture and publication offers a vibrant and intimate picture of life in each residence. Author and curator Estella M. Chung has based her engaging account on oral history interviews granted to Hillwood historians by Marjorie Post’s staff and guests. How she created a stunningly artful life, managed with precision and practicality, is not only fascinating, but instructive; one witness to her lifestyle called it “a treasure.”

Following the program, Estella Chung will sign copies of the exhibition's companion publication, Living Artfully: At Home with Marjorie Merriweather Post, which is available for sale in the Museum Shop.

6-6:45 pm    Member’s reception with the speaker, Mansion and Living Artfully open for touring
7-8 pm    Lecture (seating opens at 6:45 pm)
8 pm    Book Signing

About the Speaker:

Estella M. Chung is head of oral history, curator of American material culture, and historian at Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens, in Washington, D.C.  Estella joined Hillwood in 2007, and has since been combing photographic archives, documents, and the not-so-ordinary artifacts that tell the life story of Marjorie Post. As head of Hillwood’s oral history program she conducts interviews with those who worked for and were entertained by Post, which she weaved into the Living Artfully story. Prior to coming to Hillwood, Estella was curator of popular culture at the Autry National Center in Los Angeles where she co-curated the acclaimed exhibition on film director Sergio Leone. Estella completed her bachelors and masters degrees in American Studies at the University of Michigan and Brown University. She is also a member of the Biographers International Organization, where she delights in talking shop about the very nosy craft of telling someone else’s life history. 

About the Managing Great Estates Lecture Series:

Marjorie Merriweather Post maintained multiple residences within the great estate tradition, balancing a lavish entertainment schedule, magnificent gardens, and a fine collection of art at each home. Join Estella Chung, exhibition curator, and a host of distinguished speakers to embark on a fascinating study of the management of great estates from Gilded Age to Edwardian Era England to mid-century Europe and America. 

Wednesday, October 2:  DC’s Downton Abbey in a Mad Men-Era, by Estella Chung

Wednesday, October 9:  Gilded Age Newport: Society Stalwarts and their Staffers, by Charles J. Burns

Thursday, October 17:  The Rothschilds at Exbury, by Michael Hall

Thursday, October 24: English Country Estates in the Edwardian Era, by Curt DiCamillo


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