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Rare Washington Object Returns to Mount Vernon

Thu, 08/06/2009

The Washington-Lafayette Eagle Pin Now on Display through January 6, 2010
For Immediate Release
August 6, 2009

Media Contact:
Melissa Wood (703) 799-5203
mwood@mountvernon.org

Rare Washington Object Returns to Mount Vernon

MOUNT VERNON, Va. – A Mount Vernon curator has returned from hand-carrying all the way from France a rare object that belonged to George Washington. The Washington-Lafayette eagle pin, ordered by Washington to be worn while he served as president of The Society of the Cincinnati, is on loan by La Grange, Lafayette's estate just outside of Paris.

To say this is a rarely-seen piece is an understatement. It is only known to have been exhibited publicly four times in its 225-year history. The last time U.S. audiences saw the pin was at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1892-1893.

This is the first time this eagle has been back to Mount Vernon since 1802. It was given to Lafayette during his triumphant tour of the U.S. in 1824-25 by Washington's adopted granddaughter who had inherited it from Martha Washington. In the exhibition “George Washington & His Generals,” it joins the spectacular Diamond Eagle from The Society of the Cincinnati, which is also back at Mount Vernon for the first time since George Washington’s death in 1799 (and has only been publicly displayed three times previously).

Both eagles will be on display until January 10, 2010.

"George Washington & His Generals," is a temporary exhibition co-sponsored by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association and The Society of the Cincinnati. Over 120 paintings, prints, personal artifacts, and manuscripts associated with the generals of the Continental and French armies are featured in this special exhibition.

These objects—drawn from the collections of Mount Vernon, the Society, and almost 40 of the nation’s foremost fine arts museums, historical societies, and private collections—offer an unprecedented look at Washington’s leadership and character as commander-in-chief by bringing to life the relationships that formed between him and his generals as they fought for our nation’s freedom. The exhibition will remain on view through January 10, 2010.

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Events, programs, and activities are subject to change.

Public Information:

703-780-2000; 703-799-8697 (TDD); Visit.MountVernon.org

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 Society of Cincinnati
The Society of the Cincinnati was founded on May 13, 1783, at the close of the Revolutionary War by officers of the Continental Army and Navy to preserve the ideals and fellowship for which they had fought. Now in its third century, the Society has been perpetuated by descendants of these Revolutionary War soldiers as a nonprofit historical and educational organization that promotes public interest in the American Revolution through its library and museum collections, exhibitions, programs, research and publications, and other activities. The Society’s headquarters are located in Washington, D.C., at Anderson House, a 1905 Beaux Arts mansion and National Historic Landmark that houses the Society’s museum and library. Anderson House, originally the winter residence of American diplomat and Society member Larz Anderson, has been open to the public since 1939 as a historic house museum where visitors can see the Andersons’ collections and the Society’s changing exhibitions.

Planning your visit: Anderson House is located at 2118 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, in Washington, D.C.’s historic Dupont Circle neighborhood. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Admission is free. The Society’s research library is open, by appointment, Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Public Information: 202-785-2040; www.societyofthecincinnati.org