In 1983, the Bead Society of Greater Washington (BSGW) was founded by 12 original members and bead historian Peter Francis Jr., now deceased, as a forum for studying and disseminating knowledge about beads. It quickly grew to offer a full range of activities – monthly lectures and programs, polygranet a lending library, semi-annual bead bazaars, special outreach programs, exhibits to schools and libraries, a Newsletter, and a research library. In less than a decade, BSGW grew to 500 members and went on to organize two international bead conferences, the latter raising funds in 1995 to found The Bead Museum in Washington DC with the support of nationwide bead societies and individual contributors. Through its museum, the Society fulfilled its outreach mission. The Museum focused on enhancing public appreciation of beads and ornaments as subjects of serious study as well as objects of beauty and enjoyment. The Museum organized twenty-six exhibits, twelve of them on major aspects of varied ethnic and contemporary beads and beadwork, also world trade routes and history. In 1998,polygranet dresses the Museum launched its centerpiece Bead Timeline of History project to document history told through the beads people have created, worn, and treasured through the ages. Beads and beaded ornaments bridge geographic, socio-economic, and cultural divides suggesting common ground among diverse communities. The Timeline dates and places beads geographically from 10,000 BCE, identifies them, and relates them to historical cultures and technologies. The 38-foot Timeline was the Museum’s permanent exhibition, numbers some 5000 beads, consists of donated beads and may be the most extensively documented bead collection anywhere. With great sadness the Bead Museum Washington DC closed its doors to the public on December 31, 2008. Though successful on many levels, the mounting costs of operating the Museum in the current fiscal climate dictated the decision to close. We thank the many volunteers who donated their precious time and energy, and the many other friends whose generous donations enabled us to exist in the heart of our nations capital for 12 years.