Washington, D.C.'s 'Working Girls' - Atlas Obscura
Join us on an Atlas Obscura Trip in 2019 »

Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C.'s 'Working Girls'

Climb the forgotten stairs to Clara Barton’s Missing Soldiers Office.

Step into Clara Barton’s Missing Soldiers Office for a discussion about Washington, D.C.’s 19th century working women: government clerks, humanitarians, and prostitutes.

While we explore the Missing Soldiers Office, we’ll learn about the many women who made Washington, D.C., work. Museum staff will share stories about exceptional women such as Clara Barton, who worked first as a clerk in the United States Patent Office and then as a tireless humanitarian. We’ll also hear about women who went to work in the offices of U.S. government agencies and the many unnamed women who worked as prostitutes in Washington, D.C.

Museum staff will show us show us a selection of artifacts and prints relating to women’s work, including nineteenth-century office supplies and historic condoms and STI treatments.


  • This location is easily accessible via bus and Metro’s red, yellow, and green lines. For more information on getting to the museum, click here.
  • Metered street parking is available but can be extremely difficult to find. If you plan to drive, please give yourself ample time to locate parking in the area around the Verizon Center.
  • Photographs are encouraged (but flash photography is not allowed).
  • Share your photos with us @AtlasObscura and @clarabartonmso using the tag #ObscuraSociety.
  • This adventure is PG (mild discussion of sex). We welcome families but ask that you use judgement when deciding if this program is a good fit for your child.
  • A portion of the ticket sales will be donated to the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum.


Email ashley.bowen-murphy@atlasobscura.com.

Advance Tickets Only. All Sales Final. No Refunds or Exchanges.

Check out our full lineup of amazing adventures taking place all around the world on Obscura Day, our annual celebration of discovery!

Use the #obscuraday hashtag on your favorite social media platforms to show us how you're celebrating. We'll be featuring your posts on our own platforms all day, and you could even win some Atlas Obscura prizes.