We must enrich the way we teach the lesson of the past

We must enrich the way we teach the lesson of the past

“In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.”
— George Washington, Farewell Address, September 19, 1796

At a time when history and civics are disappearing from classrooms, this campaign ensures that everything we teach will continue to be relevant, impactful and inspirational.

George Washington's “great experiment” in democracy is a work in progress, and we know we will not succeed if we do not teach future generations the history of our shared civic commitment.

Developing a New Orientation Film

Developing a New Orientation Film

A visit to Mount Vernon begins in the Ford Orientation Center, where guests get a first impression of both Mount Vernon and George Washington through our orientation film.

In the years since the current film was produced (2005), there have been many advances in film production and many changes to Mount Vernon.

A new, higher-resolution film will better highlight the array of activities Mount Vernon offers and better introduce our visitors to the story of Washington’s leadership and the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association’s role in preserving Mount Vernon.

Refreshing & Improving Exhibits

Refreshing & Improving Exhibits

To continue to engage visitors of all generations, we must improve and refresh our exhibits in the Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center to incorporate recent advances in pedagogy and technology, alongside a greater use of original Washington objects. These enhancements and additions will ensure that Mount Vernon’s educational practices are compelling, current, and presented in a manner that maintains the relevancy of the stories of our founders.

Throughout the estate and within the revitalized exhibitions, we will tell the stories of those who were enslaved at Mount Vernon, incorporating elements from the exhibit Lives Bound Together, which closed in 2021.

Exhibit on George Washington’s Biography

Exhibit on George Washington’s Biography

As the technology of the Education Center ages, the time has come to refresh the facility and enhance the experience for visitors to come. Our goal is to complete the improvement of all galleries by our nation’s 250th anniversary in 2026.

This update to the exhibition will transform the footprint and flow of the experience to be more impactful and immersive for visitors, improve navigation and access to popular features, incorporate the latest methods of museum education, and refresh displays with the most current scholarship.

Significant infrastructure improvements including improved lighting and new casework will increase space for displaying original objects and manuscripts. We will also upgrade media and audio/visual equipment and utilize sustainable technology to enhance our ability to tell Washington’s life story in a meaningful way and be more accessible to all visitors.

This process will be undertaken in phases so that the exhibition will never be completely closed to guests.

Naming opportunities are available. Call Joe Bondi, Senior Vice President for Development, at 703.799.8649 for more details.

Exhibit on Mount Vernon

Exhibit on Mount Vernon

We will transition the museum galleries to focus on George and Martha Washington’s lives at Mount Vernon and the story of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association through a new permanent exhibit titled Becoming Mount Vernon.

Slated to open in February 2022 to commemorate the 290th anniversary of Washington’s birth, the exhibition will emphasize the many people involved in building, shaping, and preserving the estate. It will highlight exceptional original Washington objects in our collection and utilize fine and decorative arts to convey details about the Washingtons in new and innovative ways.

Expanding Teacher Outreach

Expanding Teacher Outreach

Mount Vernon has a proud 20-year history of educational outreach, providing teachers from across the nation with tools and training to bring George Washington and Mount Vernon into their classrooms in meaningful ways.

There are multiple opportunities for teachers to participate in residential programs on the estate, headquartered at our presidential library, or at regional programs across the country. These offerings complement and amplify our online resources, such as curriculum materials, interactive experiences like Be Washington, and primary sources.

We will ensure the long-term impact of our educational initiatives at the estate and beyond our gates through the creation of an endowment to support participation in our George Washington Teacher Institute for educators nationwide. This will give permanence to our mission of educating those who teach the next generation and will continue to build a strong network of educators who have participated in our programs.

Join the Campaign

Join the campaign to preserve, educate, and inspire in the true spirit of George Washington and his beloved Mount Vernon Estate.