100% of the proceeds from our tours, concerts, donations & sales support our programs

Why We Do It

The O Street Museum Foundation 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.

People are often afraid to approach art (and we use the word in the broadest of terms to include one of the greatest forms of art, scientific discovery) because they feel inadequate and inferior to the “artist” and/or artistic creation. But as raw music demonstrates (the process the artist takes before it hits the air waves), art is the result of hard work and devotion to the process. An artist is a spiritual carpenter and a craftsman. Everyday he/she goes to work, to apply their knowledge and create their work. Creativity manifests itself in many different forms making artists out of many you wouldn’t ordinarily consider. Top Fortune 500 CEOs for example possess a rich artistic vision - solving complex problems by imagining the unimaginable. That’s what art is.

Being an athlete is a major form of creativity - just like painting or music, or any other form of art. Through our experiences and exhibits, we bring this concept to life: being active helps children develop physical skills, get exercise, make friends, have fun, learn teamwork and how to play fair.

As a non-profit funding our programs is crucial. O Street Museum’s one-of-a-kind exhibits, intimate music experiences, loyal volunteers, and engaged advisory board have helped propel visitorship and cultivate donors to generate growth.

But it is not enough.

In addition to our programs we have critical infrastructure and operating expenses that need funding so we can continue to further our mission. When you tour, attend our special events, rent the museum, or purchase donated items the proceeds support our arts and social justice programs.

Willis Edwards

The Experience

Exploration and Discovery

The only museum of its kind, the O Museum in The Mansion is dedicated to exploring the creative process. 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.

When you visit you'll find your way through immersive themed rooms, secret doors (we have over 80 of them!), and covert passages to a world never experienced. You'll be walking in the footsteps of presidents and freedom fighters, historians and authors, artists and musicians, athletes, scholars and many more.

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.

Click on each of the images to watch a video

  • 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

  • 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

  • How the O Museum Inspired American Sculptor Frederick Hart

  • So many Secret Doors to find!!

  • Favorite Rooms at The O Museum!

Take a Secret Door Tour  Inquire Group Tours  

Here you will find original artwork by Mersad Berber, Frederick Hart, Gerald Johnson, and others; artist's letters; sports, music, and movie memorabilia like Bob Dylan’s guitar when he was inducted into the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, Miss USA's crown, Prince's Purple Rain Jacket, the flag that flew over Merrill Lynch during 9-11, and an original letter written by John Lennon. Our galleries are not limited to one genre so you'll also find written manuscripts, rare photos, art; pop art, modern art, etchings, photography, pop-culture, and signed guitars (we have more than 60).

O Street Museum offers an immersive, tactile experience making it one of DC's most unique attractions. Guests will search for hidden doors, leaf through manuscripts, touch sculpture, hear rare studio cuts, and tour through an array of diverse exhibits, achitectual styles, secret doors, 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).

Mrs. Rosa Parks, The Mother of The Civil Rights Movement & The O

Mrs. Parks’ story, legacy, and connection to Washington, D.C. is little known — and yet, critical to the work she did. From 1994 to 2004 O Museum in the Mansion was the place Mrs. Rosa Parks and Ms. Elaine Steele, Founders of The Rosa and Raymond Institute (RRPI) called their home-away-from-home as part of our Hero-in-Residence program.

Many historic moments occurred in our hallowed halls while Mrs. Parks was with us. They included, negotiations with Congress and The White House on many important issues. Among them were her participation with First Lady Hillary Clinton at President Clintons' State of the Union Address January 19, 1999, her Congressional Medal of Honor, her statue in the Halls of Congress (the first woman ever honored there), conversations with the Vatican regarding working with the Pope to combat racism and support human rights, and the discussions to form the Rosa Parks Museum in Montgomery, Alabama.

When they visited our Nation's Capitol, Mrs. Parks, Ms. Steele, Brother Willis Edwards (and their friends and staff) along with H.H. Leonards, facilitated their important work in DC to preserve and promote her legacy and lessons. For this distinction Cultural Tourism DC has designated the O Museum in the Mansion a historic 20th Century Civil Rights site — on the African American Heritage Trail.

O Museum in The Mansion is dedicated to serving cultural, scientific, and educational growth through the creative process, we foster inner strength and peace through diversity, to provide a unique forum that inspires guests to:

•    Realize your vision
•    Experience the creative process
•    Inspire imagination
•    Empower authenticity
•    Dare to be different

No matter where you look you will miss something. But it's not what you miss, rather what you're willing to see. Magic and miracles exist. Not just in the mind.

As a non-profit we offer a wide range of programs that support the arts and social justice. We are ADA compliant.

It's the simple things, small steps, the goals we choose, the way of life we want to breathe. How easily everything changes when you choose to look at the same thing from a different angle.

Take a Secret Door Tour  Inquire Group Tours  

Our History

Our History

Located in our Nation's Capital, The O is located in a series of five interconnected town houses that includes over 100 rooms and over 70 secret doors.

Designed in 1892 by Edward Clark, architect for the US Capitol two centuries ago, the buildings were interconnected and served as a home for himself, his brother James "Champ" Clark, Speaker of the House (during Teddy Roosevelt's Presidency), and a third brother, known as "the artist." Additional plans to replace the side garden with an adjoining home for their sister never came to fruition, although the archway to her house was one brick away from "being there".

Originally spanning three row houses (it now spans five), the residence was connected through the basement and main floor and contained separate sleeping quarters for each brother upstairs. As one of the last architects working on the U.S. Capitol between the 19th & 20th century, Clark incorporated left over tiles and wood from the Capitol into his new home - rich in detail, these items and detailed woodworking by August Grass (who also worked on the Heinrich Mansion) can still be found there today. A testament to the fine craftsmanship, it is believed to be the last, virtually intact, private residence of that period in Washington, D.C.

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 a Mansion on O Street Board Member for over 30 years.  

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.

A resident of The Mansion and supporter of O Street for over a decade - Mrs. 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.

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

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 your self), 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 and stay at The Mansion.

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.

The O Street Museum Foundation 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.

People are often afraid to approach art (and we use the word in the broadest of terms to include one of the greatest forms of art, scientific discovery) because they feel inadequate and inferior to the "artist" and/or artistic creation. But as raw music demonstrates (the process the artist takes before it hits the air waves), art is the result of hard work and devotion to the process.

An artist is a spiritual carpenter and a craftsman. Everyday he/she goes to work, to apply their knowledge and create their work. Creativity manifests itself in many different forms making artists out of many you wouldn't ordinarily consider. Top Fortune 500 CEOs for example possess a rich artistic vision - solving complex problems by imagining the unimaginable. That's what art is.

* re-use of the text of this page is permitted under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License (CC-BY-SA), version 3.0.

Take a Tour

African American Heritage Trail

Mrs. Rosa Parks History

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.

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.”

In 1994 H.H. Leonards, Founder of The O Museum in The Mansion received a phone call from Brother Willis Edwards, head of the NAACP in Beverly Hills (and also the founder of the NAACP Image Awards) saying Mrs. Parks had been attacked and beaten in her home in Detroit and needed a safe place to heal and rest. Lady H (as Mrs. Parks called her) invited her and her close friends to stay for free as part of The O Museum’s Heroes-in-Residence Program.

Take a Tour

Mrs. Rosa Parks met with dignitaries, heads-of-state, and leaders, including President Clinton, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Benjamin Hooks, and Dorothy Height here. Close friends of Mrs. Parks stayed with her while she was living here, including Cicely Tyson, Mamie Till, Miles Davis, Angela Bassett, Artis Lane and her closest friend Mrs. Elaine Steele, Executive Director of The Rosa and Raymond Parks Pathways to Freedom, in Detroit, Michigan. A deeply religious woman Mrs. Parks hosted formal monthly First Sunday Gospel Brunches here, where guests wore a hat and white gloves.

Mrs. Parks passed away on the 24th of October 2005 in her Detroit apartment. Her body laid in state at the Capitol Rotunda, the first woman to have ever been given this honour. She became the first African American woman to be honored with a life-size statue in the Capitol. Lady H was a pallbearer at her mentor’s three funerals, in Montgomery Alabama, Washington D.C. and Detroit Michigan.

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. A plaque commemorating Mrs. Parks was recently installed and can be seen when you visit.

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Ms. Elaine Steele, Co-Founder of the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute of Self Development unveiled the plaque marking the historic site along the trail.

Mission Vision & Values


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.


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.


Freedom of expression: we actively support and embrace freedom of expression.

Connecting the dots: we celebrate scientific discovery, sports, the arts, and religion, from every culture.

Seeking greater purpose: we believe there is something bigger in life, than self.

Embracing diversity: we foster inner strength and peace through diversity.

Protecting privacy: we respect and protect an individual's privacy as an important step to trigger and sustain the sharing process.


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.

View the members of the O Street Museum Advisory Board

Giving Back

As a non-profit we understand the importance of donations to support the work of local charities and organizations. we are grateful for the opportunity to support our community and promote a culture of social responsibility, collaboration and caring.

Though we would like to fulfill every request - we have limited resources available for this purpose. please know we carefully consider each submission.

Please review our policy below before submitting:

  • Any public school or small non-profit 501(c)(3) organization (making less than $100,000/year) may submit a donation request.
  • Requests must be submitted at least 4 weeks prior to the date when the donation is needed. requests received with less lead time will not be considered.
  • Previous support of donation requests does not guarantee a repeat donation, as we strive to support as many worthy causes as possible.
  • Requests must be made through our on-line form.
  • No requests are accepted by phone.
  • Donation requests are reviewed on a bi-yearly basis each April & October notifications of approvals will be emailed only to those organizations receiving a donation. no notification will be sent to requests that have been declined.

Request a Donation

Donation Recipients

Some of O Street Museum Donation Recipients
  • Jesuit Refugee Service/USA
  • Courage on All Fronts Vet Group
  • The Belvoir Officers' Spouses' Club (BOSC)
  • The Children's Inn at NIH
  • The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
  • Thomas Jefferson Middle School
  • Tobacco Free Kids
  • Turning the Page
  • The Children's Charities Foundation (CCF) annual BasketBALL Gala
  • Yu Ying Public Charter School
  • Holy Trinity Catholic Church
  • Beth Chai International
  • Cherry Blossom Festival
  • Washington First Mortgage
  • School Within School at Logan Annex
  • American Psychiatric Association
  • Linda Creed Breast Cancer Foundation
  • School Without Walls at Francis Stevens
  • Wilderness Leadership & Learning
  • St. Mary Catholic School Home Association
  • John S. Mulholland Family Foundation
  • Hearts and Homes For Youth
  • Greater Refugees Ministries
  • Arlington Gay and Lesbian Alliance
  • Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, DC
  • Women in International Trade association
  • Mount St. Scholastica
  • Creative Minds International Public Charter School
  • Kalorama Park
  • Broad Run High School
  • Boy Scouts of America
  • CCI Sails & Tails
  • Centerville Elementary School
  • Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
  • Dick Hollander Charity Golf
  • District of Columbia Forensic Nurse Examiners
  • Ethiopian Community Development
  • Factory Athletics Foundation
  • Friends School of Wilmington
  • Garfield Elementary School, Springfield, Va.
  • Human Rights Campaign
  • Janney Elementary School
  • Adas Israel's Gan Hayeled
  • Lafayette Elementary School
  • Lowell School
  • March of Dimes
  • NAMI
  • National Cathedral School
  • National Collegiate Cancer Foundation's Scholarship program
  • New Hope Housing
  • Nicaragua Mission Group at St Louis Catholic Church in Alexandria, Virginia
  • Olam Tikvah Preschool
  • Pets with Disabilities
  • Rebuilding Together Montgomery County

Fundraising at O Street Museum

As a non-profit we understand the need to need for monetary support to carry out your organization's good works. As a partner to some of the most renowned and passionate charities we know how to drive that support.

Creating memorable events for your organization can raise funds, awareness and friends in the community generating lasting relationships that will help support your organization for years to come.

Cause Related Marketing

Collaborating and supporting non-profit organizations is a powerful way to build brand awareness and loyalty. In additon to raising much needed funds for charitable organizations these partnerships help to communicate your organizations values to the world.

When you team with O Street Museum Foundation you show your support for the arts, sciences and the creative process necessary for discovery in all areas.

Partner with us

Member of

View our heartfelt partners and generous supporters

Member of GuideStar and DC Chamber of Commerce

Historic Site on The African American Heritage Trail
Historic Site on The African American Heritage Trail