The Ford Orientation Center
A visit to Mount Vernon begins at the Ford Orientation Center, where guests
can watch the action-adventure movie “We Fight to Be Free”, and speak with staff who can help guests plan their day. Here visitors can purchase annual passes and audio tours. Estate maps are also available in several languages and alternate formats.
The Mansion at Mount Vernon is one of America’s most iconic 18th-century homes. George Washington’s beloved home began as a one and one-half story farmhouse built in 1735 by his father, Augustine, and received its well-known name during the ownership of his half-brother Lawrence. George Washington acquired Mount Vernon in 1754, and over the next 45 years slowly enlarged the dwelling to create the resplendent 21-room residence we see today. Conscious that the world was watching, Washington selected decorative and architectural elements that expressed his growing status as a Virginia gentleman planter and ultimately as the leader of a fledgling democratic nation.
Gardens and Landscapes
George Washington oversaw all aspects of the landscape at Mount Vernon. He extensively redesigned the grounds surrounding his home, adopting the less formal, more naturalistic style of 18th century English garden landscape designer Batty Langley. In the 18th century, the well-ordered gardens provided food for the Mansion’s table and were also pleasing to the eye. Today, the gardens and grounds of Mount Vernon have been meticulously researched and recreated by our dedicated horticulture and archaeological teams, and continue to delight visitors just as they did in Washington’s day.
Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center
The Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center offers guests a range of experiences. The Education Center traces Washington’s life through state-of-the-art gallery displays , History Channel videos, and a multimedia theater. Visitors learn about Washington’s childhood hardships, his adventures on the American frontier, heroic leadership of the Continental Army, and his precedent-setting role as the nation’s first president. Accessible from the Education Center, the Hands-on-History Center offers engaging activities for children ages 3 to 8.
The Museum displays more than 500 objects in seven galleries. The F. M. Kirby Foundation Gallery offers temporary exhibitions, which generally change every one to two years. The current exhibition, Lives Bound Together: Slavery at George Washington’s Mount Vernon explores the personal stories of the people enslaved at Mount Vernon while providing insight into George Washington’s evolving opposition to slavery. This exhibition is on view through January 10, 2016.