Our Mission, Vision & Values

  • Engaging the imagination starts with the mission. Our Mission We inspire creativity, diversity and imagination through the fusion of the arts, music, science and sports. We empower people to dare to be different - and achieve things beyond what they know.
    Photo: Brett Schrader
  • Unexpected, fun, sincere, giving, and inclusive Our Vision The creative process comes in many forms: from the wrinkles on your grandmother’s face to a refugee’s smile in Darfur. Every story has a beautiful lining that we can all learn from, and share with each other. We seek to reshape how people see and connect with the beauty of the world around them, starting from their power, within.
    Photo: Chip Duncan
  • Our Values Lead Our Way We actively support and embrace freedom of expression. We celebrate scientific discovery, sports, the arts, and religion, from every culture. We believe there is something bigger in life, than self. We foster inner strength and peace through diversity. We respect and protect an individual's privacy as an important step to trigger and sustain the sharing process.
    Art: Kalle

"The laws can change, but if you don't change people's hearts, nothing will really change."
— Mrs. Rosa Parks

O Museum in The Mansion (OM) is an independent nonprofit museum. Our programs focus on the arts and social justice to educate, generate compassion, and fuel understanding. We are dedicated to serving cultural, scientific, and educational growth. We foster inner strength and peace through diversity.

The Importance of Arts in the Community

We all witness the ravages of stress on our health and happiness. O Museum (OM) focuses on inspiring creativity, and imagination through limitless exploration and healing, through the fusion of the arts.

The arts provide an outlet to get thoughts and ideas into the open. They inspire us to be better people. Music, art, science, and sports have no boundaries, no lines between race, religion and nationality. Everyone knows Beethoven, Einstein, and Mother Theresa, but does anyone remember who was in power when they lived? The arts are an expression of hope and love that has a lasting effect.

An "artist" is a spiritual carpenter and a craftsman. Everyday they go to work to apply their knowledge and create new artistic visions - solving complex problems by imagining the unimaginable. Without music, the arts, sports, scientific discovery - and a vision of hope - we would be birds without wings.

Why We Do It

Guided by our mission and the stories of millions of people we have touched - and who have touched us - we harness purpose, to elevate the human spirit. Dreams do inspire reality. Creativity manifests itself in many different forms. It's not about the end result, it's about the process.

OM was created for everyone to share and collaborate within - then go out into the world, where anything is possible - if we dare to be different.

How We Help

About Us
years serving the community
We are blessed to work with the DC community and visitors from all over the world to inspire empathy, unity, and personal growth.
About Us
visitors inspired
Have graced our halls and been inspired by our unique exhibits, intimate music experiences, artitist & author talks, programs, and more.
About Us
towards artists and heroes
We Have Given $4 Million+ Toward Our Artist & Heroes-In-Residence Programs Our Artist-In-Residence & Heroes programs provides a supportive, encouraging environment, free from outside pressures - so that participants may rest, heal, or create at no cost.
About Us
free room nights each year
Give Back When You Stay Rated in the Forbes top #7 hotels in Washington, DC our themed rooms serve as hotel rooms for guests visiting the nation's capital...
About Us
raised by other non-profits
We Support Other Non-Profits As a non-profit we understand the needs of other organizations. We have helped many raise money for their organizations through events, partnerships, and unique fundraisers.
About Us
visitors per year
Inspiring All Who Visit O Museum In The Mansion was created for everyone to share and collaborate within - and then go out into the world, where anything is possible, and dreams can be made real.
About Us
countries have visited
Welcoming All To Our Nation's Capitol We offer guests the opportunity to explore themselves, engage with others, and experience how we are each unique and similar at the same time. Whether it is finding synchrony in a beat, connecting with another?s story or being moved by an image ? these commonalities and shared experiences create bonds of empathy for one another that can be brought out into the world to encourage compassion and bridge the divide.
About Us
performances, talks, exhibits
Art, Music, Literature & Sports Bring Us Together We offer artists, performers, authors, and creatives from all walks of life to share their talents through our innovative programs.

The Experience : The Secret Door Museum

Exploration and Discovery

When you visit the O Museum, you will be walking in the footsteps of presidents and freedom fighters, historians and authors, artists and musicians, athletes and scientists, scholars and more. You will find your way through immersive exhibits and over 80 secret doors - making it one of DC's most unique fun attractions. There is a reason the Smithsonian rated us in the "Top 5 places to explore - in the world!" and Bookings.com calls us "The coolest place in DC!"

O Street Museum offers an experiential experience like no other, here you will leaf through manuscripts, touch sculpture, hear rare studio cuts, and tour through an array of diverse exhibits, architectural styles, and our legendary themed rooms - like the Log Cabin, the John Lennon Suite, the Safari room, and Mrs. Rosa Parks' room (we were her home-away-from-home for nearly 10 years). Learn more about Mrs. Rosa Parks.

Our unique collections promote and embrace life, from every culture, resulting in a wide-ranging collection of paintings, photographs, sculpture, books, artifacts, music, sports, science, and architecture from all over the globe. From the art, to the music, to the surroundings, no visit is ever the same.

Our Unique Collections

We encourage you to empower authenticity, from the inside out. We want you to get lost, so you can be found.

About Us
[We Celebrate the Hero]
in Each and Every One of Us
About Us
[Artist & Heroes Program]
Its Importance
About Us
[Origins of the Secret Doors]
About Us
[About The O Museum]

Our History

When we do good - we all rise.

About Us
[Champ Clark & Family]

In the heart of Washington, D.C., The Big O is a collection of five interconnected townhouses boasting 112 rooms, 32 bedrooms, 35 bathrooms (matching the White House), 16 kitchens, and over 80 secret doors. Designed in 1892 by Edward Clark, the architect of the U.S. Capitol, it served as the home for Edward, his brother James "Champ" Clark (Speaker of the House during Teddy Roosevelt's Presidency), and another brother known as "the artist." Although plans for a connecting house for their sister fell through, the archway to her house was nearly completed. Originally spanning three row houses (now five), it featured separate sleeping quarters for each brother upstairs and incorporated leftover Capitol materials, showcasing exceptional craftsmanship from that era. It stands as one of the last well-preserved private residences from the 19th to 20th centuries in Washington, D.C.

About Us
[German Craftsmen, 1892]

Edward Clark brought some of the finest wood craftsmen from Germany to work on the Capitol and invited them to stay at his home, at 2020 O Street. While there, they created much of the elaborate wood carvings, banisters and trim work still visible on the property. In addition, they incorporated into their mill work many of the extraordinary Tiffany windows still housed in the building today.

About Us
[Did You Know?]

In the 1930's the home was converted into three separate rooming houses for FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover's G-men. To combat the rise of organized crime, outlaws, and gangsters J. Edgar Hoover formed the Federal Bureau of Investigation. These new agents became known by the name G-men (short for "Government Man"). Their operations were covert and the agents were so little known that they were often confused with Secret Service or Prohibition Bureau agents.

In the 1960's, the student leaders of the protest movement lived at 2020 O Street, now home to O Street Museum. Norman Mailer wrote about them - and the house - in his book "Armies of the Night".

From 1977 to 1990 "America's Black Forum", a nationally syndicated news broadcast, & "Sounds of the City", a black radio series both recorded at 2016 O St. "America's Black Forum" is one of the longest running U.S. syndicated television series and is now produced and recorded at TV One.

UniWorld Group, Inc., (the parent company of Uniworld Entertainment, UniWorld Hispanic and UniWorld Healthcare) run by Walker Williams and Byron Lewis was also housed in 2016 O St. until it was sold to us and reconnected to the original buildings in 1990. Walker was an O Museum in The Mansion Board Member for over 30 years.

A resident of O Museum in The Mansion and supporter of O Street for over a decade - Mrs. Rosa Parks was a mother figure and mentor to Founder, H.H. Leonards. She entertained friends, dignitaries and guests while she was with us and hosted a Sunday gospel brunch each month. You can see her room on the third floor along with many of her signed letters and artifacts in the museum collection.

About Us
[The African American Heritage Trail Site]

We are honored to have been included on The African American Heritage Trail and designated as a 20th Century Civil Rights site by Cultural Tourism DC. Watch the dedication ceremony with Mayor Muriel Bowser

From 1994 to 2003 The Mansion On O & O Street Museum was the place Mrs. Rosa Parks called home whenever she visited Washington, DC. Mrs. Rosa Parks helped spark the American civil rights movement in 1955 by refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a segregated Montgomery, Alabama bus. That act made her one of the most important women in American history and earned her the nickname "Mother of the Civil Rights Movement".

The African American Heritage Trail identifies sites that are important in local and national history and culture -recognizing the people and places that have shaped our city.

Learn more about Mrs. Parks time with us.

About Us
[Where It All Began]
Click to view a slideshow of historical building photos
About Us
[Through the Looking]

On February 14, 1980 the property was purchased by H.H. Leonards, with the intent to restore its original character by reconnecting the row houses. In 1985, nearly a century after its original construction, she transformed the garden site into a unique five-story companion annex - completing the Clarks' dream.

Hear the story in H's own words

In the spring of 1999, Jay Bothwell - architect, developer and good neighbor of the O - donated marble pieces from the Washington Monument construction project that was going on at that time. These pieces can be found in the Secret Gardens.

Today, the property consists of more than 100 rooms of varying architectural, artistic and design periods, from the Victorian Age to Art Deco/Avant Garde. Highlights include hand painted ceilings (so you look up, and out of yourself), original Tiffany stained glass windows, a two-story Log Cabin and the secluded Art Deco penthouse with private elevator.

Most of the artifacts in the collection - the signed guitars, memorabilia, documents, letters and more - have been donated by their original owners who support The Museum's mission.

The best thing about any art form is that it provides an outlet to get your thoughts and ideas into the open. But the rewards of art don't stop with the creative process, for art is an expression of love that has a lasting effect. This effect is felt not just in the giving and receiving, but in the telling, the creating-and in the freedom to express one's feelings.

About Us

Everyone is a volunteer at the O Street Museum Foundation. Because of our talented, and dedicated volunteers, The Museum is proof that business can succeed without "profit" and endure even when dollars do not flow to that imaginary bottom line.

We are a testament to the fact that one can start without money, achieve a vision and share wealth that transcends a monetary figure. When you are true to your vision, committed to your path, and willing to share yourselves, we all can achieve things beyond what we know. It's about letting go. Taking risks. Opening your heart.

Our board members and volunteers go beyond the traditional directorial tasks of setting policy and defining goals. We think with our hearts and feel with our minds because we all believe it's love that stimulates our collective vision, which in turn fuels our practical efforts. Each of us share a passion for, and commitment to the Museum's mission, and are willing to roll up their sleeves to help with the day-to-day work.

Books By The Founder:

About Us
[Legal Designations]

The O Street Museum Foundation, is a nonprofit corporation, tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and is a private operating foundation under section 4942(j)(3). We are organized and existing under the laws of the District of Columbia, with principal business address of 2020 O Street N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036.

Federal tax identification number: 31-1550078
D.C. tax identification number: 8399-0232957-001
Date of Issue: April 24, 1998

IRS 501(c)(3) determination letter
O Street Museum Business License
O Street Museum Franchise Tax Exemption
O Street Museum Sales & Use Exemption

Be Inspired

Click on each of the images to watch a video

  • "Through the Looking Glass Exhibition" at O Museum with Robert James Studio

  • Sculptors of "Through The Looking Glass" Exhibit at The O Museum

  • The Pawn Stars Visit O Museum

  • Cicely Tyson and Miles Davis at The Mansion on O Street

  • Allyson Felix's Rio Olympics Running Spike - the Most Decorated U.S. Olympic Track Athlete Ever

  • Traveling Wilburys Promo Guitars

  • The Genesis of O Museum’s Secret Doors

  • The Fifth Dimension Room at O Museum in The Mansion

  • Newest Secret Door!

  • Have you seen the Halloween Room at The O?

  • Muppet shoes!

  • Britney Spears Guitar!

  • Explore The O with our intern Gus!

  • Every Step Tells a Story (Full Show)

  • The Log Cabin Room & James Patterson's Best Selling Book Four Blind Mice

  • New Immersive Experience, Chucky's Room

  • About O Museum in The Mansion

  • O Museum at a Pawn Stars Auction

  • Heroes & Artist-in-Residence Programs at O Museum

  • How O Museum Got It's Start

  • O Museum's Mission

  • The Billiards Room at O Museum in The Mansion

  • Sneek Peek of O Museum's New Exhibit - "Through The Looking Glass"

  • Bruce Springsteen Signed Guitar

  • Rare Wizard of Oz Books

  • Paul McCartney of The Beatles Signed Guitar

  • Traveling Wilburys Guitars

  • The Mother of The Civil Rights Movement Signed Statue

  • Miss USA Crown Up Close at O Museum in The Mansion

  • Mrs. Rosa Parks & O Museum in The Mansion

  • Bring on the music and dance with us!

  • Angels Exist - A True Story Of Angels at O Museum in The Mansion

  • We'll Be Dancing Together Again Soon!

  • Music & Magic at O Museum. Featuring Felix Cavaliere: Everytime She Tells Me That She's Mine

  • Artifact Stories: Room Magic

  • We celebrate the hero in each and everyone of us.

  • Artifact Story: Traveling Wilburys

  • Artifact Stories: Musical Bathroom!

  • Artifact Stories: Norman Rockwell

  • Artifact Stories: Vanilla Ice the Electrician

  • Artifact Story: John Lennon's Psychic

  • Artifact Stories: The John Lennon Bathroom

  • Artifact Stories: Puzzling!

  • The Mansion on O Street

  • Ted Talks Books at the Mansion on O Street

  • Stories From Within: Cordell

  • O Museum Artifact Story: Mrs. Rosa Park's Congressional Medal of Honor Maquette

  • O Museum Artifact Story: Russian Samovar

  • When H and Rosa Parks met the Pope

  • Tik Tok McCartney Fast Final