In addition to needing annual support to fund its day-to-day activities, the Society requires special funding from time to time to accomplish other projects crucial to the mission but too large in scope and cost to be paid for with existing funds. These special projects often focus on preserving the Society's extraordinary collections and historic headquarters. Read more about the current campaign below, or contact Executive Director Jack Warren at if you have an interest in another project.
The Key Room Wall Murals at Anderson House
At the top of the Great Stairs of Anderson House is a formal reception room called the Key Room after the Greek key motif on the floor executed in Siena and white marble. Its most spectacular feature is a beautiful series of wall and ceiling murals depicting themes associated with American history and the Society of the Cincinnati. The murals are the work of H. Siddons Mowbray (1858-1928), one of the most accomplished mural painters of his time. Completed in 1909, they are the only examples of Mowbray's work in the nation's capital. The Key Room murals constitute one of the most important and valuable works of art owned by the Society of the Cincinnati.
The four wall murals memorialize the establishment of American independence, the settlement of the West, the preservation of the Union, and the victory of the United States over European colonialism. The themes that tie the four wall murals together are the triumph of liberty and devotion to the ideals of the Society of the Cincinnati, memorialized in the two large ceiling medallions, "Triumphant Republic" and the "The Genius of the Cincinnati." The murals were immediately recognized as a masterpiece. Writing in Harper's Monthly in April 1911, critic William Walton commented: "Seldom has one small room had compressed into it so fine and complete a presentation of History by Art."
The wall murals are now over one hundred years old and are in critical need of conservation and restoration. The accumulated grime of more than a century obscures the original bright colors. Not as visible, but more alarming, is the increasing instability of the sixteen-feet high canvas. The decaying glue has resulted in the canvas beginning to buckle and pull away from the walls, especially around the windows and doors. The Society needs your help to undertake this first conservation treatment on the Key Room walls in their history to ensure they will be enjoyed by visitors and members for centuries to come.