Obscura Society DC: Washington DC's Working Girls - Atlas Obscura
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Washington, D.C.

Obscura Society DC: Washington DC's Working Girls

Climb the forgotten stairs to Clara Barton’s Missing Soldiers Office for an afternoon discussion of Washington DC’s 19th century working women; the government clerks, humanitarians and prostitutes

Step into Clara Barton’s Missing Soldiers Office for an afternoon with Washington, DC’s nineteenth century “working girls.”

While we explore the Missing Soldiers Office, we’ll learn about the many women who made Washington, DC work. Museum staff will share stories about exceptional women like 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, DC. Museum staff will show us show us a selection of artifacts and prints relating to women’s work, including nineteenth century office supplies, historic condoms, and STI treatments.

Until 1996, no one knew that Clara Barton’s Missing Soldiers Office still stood. When a GSA carpenter decided to do one last check of the building before demolition, he claimed that he "felt a tap on his shoulder” and decided to explore the building’s attic. Once there, he found a virtual treasure trove of artifacts relating to Clara Barton’s work to identify and locate thousands of missing Civil War Soldiers.

Notes for this Adventure

-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).

-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.

All ticket sales are final. Please direct any questions or concerns to Ashley Bowen-Murphy at ashley.bowen-murphy@atlasobscura.com.