Elizabeth Lay

Photo of Elizabeth Lay
Adjunct Professorial Lecturer of Decorative Arts & Design History
[email protected]


Elizabeth Lay is a Textile Historian and the Curator at Montgomery History’s Beall Dawson House and Stonestreet Museum in Rockville. Lay has worked as a  textile designer, holding a license for her needlework designs with the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, in addition to 9 years as Executive Director for city and county arts organizations. As a contractor she has worked with the collections at the Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens, The U.S. State Department Diplomatic Reception Rooms, and the Fashion Museum in Bath.  She is a regular instructor at Smithsonian Associates on the topics of textiles, fashion, and American furniture.


Current Outside Position

Current clients include: Dumbarton House Museum, Germantown Historical Society, Peerless Rockville, Smithsonian Associates Study Tours, and Curator at Montgomery History, Beall Dawson Museum and Stonestreet Museum.


Current Research & Projects

Lay is currently the Project Coordinator for the Women in Preservation Symposium sponsored by the National Society of Colonial Dames, and the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative, October 19-21, 2020.



BA in Art History and Business Administration, University of Kentucky

MA in History of Decorative Arts, Smithsonian-George Mason University


Professional Organizations

  • American Alliance of Museums
  • American Association of State and Local History
  • Small Museum Association