Mount Vernon’s popular “National Treasure Tour” returns beginning March 1. The tour is dedicated to the behind-the-scenes filming of the blockbuster movie National Treasure: Book of Secrets at Mount Vernon. The National Treasure Tour combines Hollywood and history, giving visitors stories about the filming and also information on how the locations were used during George Washington's time. Included in this approximately hour-long walking tour is the Mansion's basement and cornerstone, the setting for a pivotal scene. Fans of the movie will recognize the space as the location where Nicolas Cage's character kidnaps the president.
Tours of slave life and gardens enrich the visitor experience by providing in-depth knowledge of these fascinating subjects during the 45-minute guided walking tours, included with admission. The Slave Life at Mount Vernon daily tour explores the lives and contributions of the slaves who lived at Mount Vernon.
Join Mount Vernon May 4 and 5 for exclusive behind-the-scenes tours led by our archaeology, preservation, and collections staff. Inside the Mansion, you’ll see conservation in action as experts tackle Mount Vernon’s most extensive preservation project to date, the restoration of Washington’s Large Dining Room, or “New Room.” Enjoy preservation-themed activities for children in our Hands-On-History room inside the Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center. With the exception of the Mount Vernon in the Civil War tour, all Preservation Weekend activities are included in your admission ticket.
Coming April 24: Check back to MountVernon.org/Preservation for a special announcement about how you can help preservation efforts at Mount Vernon!
Schedule Behind-the-Scenes—Hike to the West Gate 9:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m.
During George Washington’s lifetime, visitors to Mount Vernon would frequently enter the estate through the West Gate area. This special location, normally off-limits to visitors, will be open to participants on this hike. While walking to the historic West Gate with a member of our Preservation staff, learn more about the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association’s efforts to preserve and protect George Washington’s estate. Upon arrival at the West Gate, visitors are rewarded with a spectacular view of Mount Vernon from its original approach. This is a two-mile hike over rough terrain. Comfortable, sturdy shoes are suggested. Limited to 30 guests.
Behind-the-Scenes—Archaeology Lab 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m. What happens to artifacts after Mount Vernon’s archaeology team digs them up from the ground? Learn more about the science behind the quest for Washington objects during a tour of Mount Vernon’s Archaeology Lab. In addition to sharing fascinating stories of recent discoveries, staff will demonstrate the challenges with preserving 18th-century objects. This space is open for tours exclusively during Mount Vernon’s Preservation Weekend. Limited to 20 guests.
Meet our Preservation Experts! Restoring George Washington’s “Large Dining Room” 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Meet with the team of architectural paint conservators who are behind the extensive restoration work in the Large Dining Room—cleaning and repairing the walls, ceiling, and the room’s ornamentation. Learn more about how these scientists are discovering the historic paint colors, preserving the delicate decoration, and see some of the tools they use in their restoration of the dining room.
Museum Tour—Meet the Curator 2:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m. Mount Vernon’s experts devote painstaking attention to the ongoing challenges of preserving the Washington objects on view in the Donald W. Reynolds Museum. Enjoy a rare tour of the museum galleries led by our expert curators. View original Washington objects and learn about the stories behind their return to Mount Vernon.
Walking Tour – Archaeology & Architecture at Mount Vernon 10:30 a.m., 1:00 p.m. Explore George Washington’s estate through this one-hour walking tour with Mount Vernon’s archaeology and architectural staff. What exciting things have been found on the grounds over the years? How do architects “read” buildings? See excavation sites including where the Washington family trash was discarded and the House for Families slave quarters and visit the Mansion basement. Learn more about what has been discovered about our founding father by digging underground in what would have been the Washington family’s “midden,” or trash bin.
“Once Upon a Time” Storytelling – Preserving George Washington’s Home 2:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m. Our youngest visitors (ages 3 to 8) can gather to hear the exciting tale of the courageous women who saved Mount Vernon from ruin! Mount Vernon in the Civil War Walking Tour (Additional Fee) 3:30 p.m.
Learn about the unique history associated with saving and preserving Washington’s beloved home during the American Civil War. Explore historic locations and listen to dramatic Civil War stories – from the life-risking efforts of the estate’s earliest caretakers to battlefield cannon fire rumbling the Mansion! Mount Vernon in the Civil War Walking Tours are limited in capacity and cost $5 in addition to Estate admission.
Ever wonder what George Washington ate for dinner? The Dinner for the Washingtons walking tour goes behinds the scenes to find out how food was prepared and served before the era of microwaves and TV dinners. The one-hour walking tour showcases food, hospitality, and dining at Mount Vernon by taking an in-depth look at locations around the Estate, including the basement cellar. The tour concludes in Mount Vernon’s greenhouse with a toast to Washington and a sample of food based on an 18th century recipe.
This special tour costs $5 per tour in addition to Estate admission.