The Washington Post
A Bedtime History to Tell
In 18th-century America, mattresses were stuffed with straw, moss, feathers, dried corn husks or wheat chaff. Quick, name the softest. Feathers, of course. (Avoid the chaff; it feels like acorns.)
See for yourself at the modest-butcharming free exhibit “And So to Bed: The American Bedroom, 17501920” at the Daughters of the American Revolution Museum, near the White House.
The showstopper is a heavily draped replica of a Colonial fourposter bed with an original whiteand-indigo quilt. Other necessities from the era on view are a longhandled bed warmer (fill the brass pan with hot coals before sliding it over cold sheets), a primitive curling iron, and men’s and women’s nightclothes and robes, from simple cottons to lavish silks.
While at the museum, don’t miss the original quilts, coverlets, china, silver and fully furnished bed chambers, dining rooms, library and nursery, all part of the DAR’s permanent collection.
Visit by Saturday, before the museum closes for a week, or between July 2 and Oct. 6. For more information, call 202-628-1776 or visit