400 Seventh Street Northwest
Ground Floor
Washington, DC 20004
phone: 202-624-4500
Rich Reichley, Museum Manager
Victor Steele, Assistant Museum Manager


The Bead Society of Greater Washington is dedicated to furthering the understanding of beads and ornaments. Our mission is twofold:
• to encourage the scholarly study of beads, which are among the oldest, most universal, and most enduring artifacts of mankind, and
• to foster public appreciation of beads as objects of beauty that have been used not only for adornment but as status symbols and protective amulets in ancient, ethnic, and contemporary cultures.

The Society pursues its mission by:
• disseminating knowledge through publications, conferences, and educational programs for both children and adults;
• sharing our resources through our extensive research library, which is open to the public; and
• developing The Bead Museum as an international center for the collection, interpretation, and exhibition of beads and related ornaments.

The Bead Museum promotes cultural understanding through the interpretation of beads.

Our focus in all that we do is on what beads tell us about people, the men and women who have worn them and made them, traded them and treasured them—about their aesthetic impulses and artistic abilities, their technological skills and trading patterns, their hopes and fears and social roles. The goal of the Museum is to enlighten the individual and enrich the community, for understanding one another’s cultural heritage fosters understanding among people.

The Bead Society of Greater Washington (BSGW) and
the Bead Museum pursue their mission through:

Changing Exhibitions • Permanent Timeline of Beads
Slide-Lectures • Gallery Tours • Films • Special Events
Demonstrations • Seminars • Conferences
Children’s Educational Programs • Hands-On Activities
Newsletter • Informational Handouts • Other Publications
Classes • Workshops • Museum Tours
Bead Study Group • Bead Study Cards
Research Grants • Internships
Collaboration with Other Organizations
Semiannual Bead Bazaars
Museum Store


The Bead Society of Greater Washington was established in 1983. The Bead Museum was founded in 1995 by members of BSGW, and opened to the public in 1997. Over 35,000 visitors have passed through our doors.


Silver Speaks • Naga Tribal Adornment • Bead Timeline
BeadMuseum Newsletter