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Chris Matthews and Cokie Roberts Present at Historic Mount Vernon

Mon, 07/20/2009

Journalists to Speak at Mount Vernon’s Teachers’ Institute July 21-22
For Immediate Release
July 20, 2009  

Media Contact:
Melissa Wood (703) 799-5203

Chris Matthews and Cokie Roberts Present at Historic Mount Vernon

MOUNT VERNON, Va. –  Historic Mount Vernon welcomes almost 200 teachers from the Washington, DC, area and around the country, in conjunction with the White House Historical Society, at its annual George Washington Teachers’ Institute, July 21-22.  The theme for this year’s institute is “George Washington and the Challenges of Nation Building.” This two-day program is a timely examination of how historical events mirror current affairs with the help from special guests such as Chris Matthews from MSNBC’s Hardball and Cokie Roberts, from ABC News and National Public Radio.  Mount Vernon’s goal for this program is to help teachers understand the challenges Washington faced as president and to bring that discussion into the classroom.  For more information about Mount Vernon’s education programs, please visit To learn more about the history of the White House visit

Tuesday, July 21

9:45 a.m:  Presidential Historian, Richard Norton Smith, will provide an overview of the late 18th century world stage on which the newly elected president, George Washington, found himself a key player.

11:15 a.m:  General Dave Palmer, military historian and former superintendent of West Point, will discuss Washington’s role as the first presidential commander in chief – a key role that continues to this day.

1:30 p.m:  Historians Ira Berlin and Dennis Pogue will explore the critical issue of slavery from the time of Washington’s presidency through the eve of the Civil War.

3:00 p.m: George Mason University historian Scott Berg will examine the creation of the Federal City and Washington’s vision to create a national capital that would symbolize the new nation.

4:15 p.m:  Historian William Seale will discuss the White House as a symbol of national identity.


Wednesday, July 22
9:00 a.m:  Historian and former foreign affairs advisor to President Clinton, Ted Widmer, and Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC Hardball, will examine the complexity of foreign affairs faced by the first president and ask teachers to draw connections to a modern world view.

11:00 a.m:  Financial historian Robert Wright will discuss the critical challenges faced by the first president to establish a sound financial system for the nation and draw parallels to current economic challenges.

4:00 p.m:  Historians Patricia Brady, Cokie Roberts, Catherine Allgor, and Catherine Clinton will discuss the crucial role of the first lady and how duties and responsibilities evolved as the nation and national perception changed. Sally McDonough, former Director of Communications for Laura Bush, will moderate the discussion that will feature an exploration of Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Dolley Madison, and Mary Todd Lincoln.

5:45 p.m:  Presentation of the third annual Mount Vernon History Teacher of the Year Award. The award, supported by an endowment established by the Robertson Foundation, honors excellence in history education.  Any teacher in the Washington, D.C., area who teaches American History in grades 3-12, and who has at least two years of teaching experience, was eligible to apply.


Events, programs, and activities are subject to change.

Public Information:
703-780-2000; 703-799-8697 (TDD);

About The George Washington Teachers’ Institute
Established in 1999, the George Washington Teachers' Institute is a highly competitive program which brings teachers to Mount Vernon, Virginia, for a week of study at Washington's home. The George Washington Teachers’ Institute provides an intensive study of George Washington and his world through discussions led by noted Washington scholars and hands-on workshops. Participants resided on George Washington’s estate within view of his mansion and had the opportunity to meet with Mount Vernon’s historians, curators, and educators

About Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens
Since 1860, over 80 million visitors have made George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate & 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, $15.00; senior citizens, $14.00; children age 6-11, when accompanied by an adult, $7.00; and children under age 5, FREE.  Admission fees, restaurant and retail proceeds, along with private donations, support the operation and restoration of Mount Vernon.

About The White House Historical Association
The White House Historical Association is a charitable nonprofit institution whose purpose is to enhance the understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of the White House. To fulfill its purpose, the Association produces educational literature and films, offers classroom programs, and maintains a website interpreting the White House and its history and the persons and events associated with it. From private funding and the sale of its educational products, the Association supports the acquisition of artwork and objects for the White House collection and contributes to the conservation of the public rooms. For more information, visit