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George Washington Inauguration Objects Now on Display

Wed, 01/09/2013

For Immediate Release
January 9, 2013
Digital images available
                                                                                                                                                           
Media Contact:
Melissa Wood (703) 799-5203
mwood@mountvernon.org

George Washington Inauguration Objects Now on Display

Two Special Items on View in Time for the 44th Presidential Inauguration

MOUNT VERNON, VA – In addition to the special activities available for visitors over inauguration weekend, Mount Vernon has two items related to George Washington’s inauguration now on view in the Donald W. Reynolds Museum & Education Center! For a limited time, view the suit believed to have been worn by the first president during his inauguration at Federal Hall.  Visitors can quench their thirst for inaugural history by viewing a rare fragment of Washington’s draft inaugural address from 1789.

“I am so pleased that we are able to share these two historic items, especially for visitors who may be coming to Washington from far away for the inaugural weekend” said Mount Vernon curator Susan P. Schoelwer.   “Standing before with George Washington’s inaugural suit – or the words he wrote as he contemplated his new responsibilities – brings each of us face to face with one of the glories of the American political system: the peaceful transfer of power every four years for more than two centuries.”

Inauguration Suit: The suit on display is believed to have been worn by Washington for his inauguration as president at New York’s Federal Hall. Constructed of tightly woven brown wool broadcloth, shrunk and napped in imitation of velvet, the coat and breeches would have been considered dressy daytime apparel. Washington consciously dressed for the occasion, selecting American-made cloth to encourage civic pride and domestic industry. American observers and foreign dignitaries took note, with one journalist noting that, “from this laudable Example in the first and best of Men, we shall soon see industry and economy fashionable in the United States.” This rare piece of history will be on display through April 30, 2013 – in honor of that first presidential inauguration, which occurred on the same date in 1789.

Washington’s Inauguration Draft: The initial version of George Washington’s first inaugural address ran more than 70 pages. Fortunately for listeners, Washington ultimately delivered a much shorter speech, focusing on fundamental principles rather than “particular measures.” The unused first draft, transcribed by the president, was later cut apart and dispersed to autograph seekers. The inauguration draft will be on display through March 31, 2013. Courtesy of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

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Events, programs, and activities are subject to change.
Public Information: 703-780-2000; 703-799-8697 (TDD); www.MountVernon.org

Since 1860, over 80 million visitors have made George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate, Museum & Gardens the most popular historic home in America.  Through thought-provoking tours, entertaining events, and stimulating educational programs on the Estate and in classrooms across the nation, Mount Vernon strives to preserve George Washington’s place in history as “First in War, First in Peace, and First in the Hearts of His Countrymen.”  Mount Vernon is owned and operated by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, America’s oldest national preservation organization, founded in 1853.  A picturesque drive to the southern end of the scenic George Washington Memorial Parkway, Mount Vernon is located just 16 miles from the nation’s capital. 

Hours of operation: April-August, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; March, September, October, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; November – February, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Regular admission rates: adults, $17.00; senior citizens, $16.00; children age 6-11, when accompanied by an adult, $8.00; and children under age 5, FREE.  Admission fees, restaurant and retail proceeds, along with private donations, support the operation and restoration of Mount Vernon.