In a city that offers culture, arts and museums at seemingly every turn, it can take a certain special something to stand out.
Hillwood Museum and Gardens certainly has something special. Nestled alongside Rock Creek Park in Northwest D.C., it's a veritable oasis for those who want to experience their art and history in a relaxed atmosphere.
''It's a relaxing, nice experience,'' says Hillwood's Lynn Rossotti. ''Even when we get to our maximum, you don't feel it. You're not battling the tourists and tour buses. Everything about the experience of Hillwood is this tranquil, immersive feeling.''
Of course, tranquility comes a little easier when you have 12 acres of lushly manicured gardens to wander, all part of the Marjorie Merriweather Post estate, the one-time home of the heir to the Post cereal fortune and a businesswoman, art collector and philanthropist in her own right.
The museum now housed in her former home not only features the largest collection of Russian imperial art outside of Russia itself -- it also tells the story of the woman who made it possible. ''What makes it fun and different is the way the [Post] is experienced throughout the estate,'' says Rossotti.
In 2001, Hillwood established an advisory committee on outreaching to the GLBT community, and has gone on to program many interesting and vibrant programs in response, from the annual Hillwood ''Gay Day'' to the current partnership with One in Ten to present the Divas Outdoors film series.
Rossotti calls the GLBT community ''an important audience for us. It just seems Hillwood has a nice affinity for the community.''
That affinity led to Hillwood's participation for 2008 as a Capital Pride Community Partner. In addition to supporting Capital Pride in general, Hillwood will be on hand at the festival with a booth highlighting the various programs and opportunities have caught the attention of the area's GLBT community.
Because not only is Hillwood interesting, special and relaxed. Perhaps most importantly, it's welcoming.
For more information about Hillwood Museum and Gardens' exhibits and programs visit www.hillwoodmuseum.org.