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Historic Mount Vernon Opens New Traveling Exhibition

Tue, 02/02/2010

For Immediate Release
February 2, 2010
Digital images available

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

Historic Mount Vernon Opens New Traveling Exhibition

George Washington’s Dentures to Travel to Nine Cities

MOUNT VERNON, Va. – Historic Mount Vernon opens a new exhibition that will travel across the country over the course of three years. Discover the Real George Washington: New Views from Mount Vernon opens on February 19, 2010 at the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Approximately 100 original objects associated with George Washington – including the only surviving complete set of his famous dentures – will travel to nine institutions over the course of the three year exhibition.

The exhibition goes beyond the iconic image on the dollar bill to reveal the real George Washington as not only a general and president but as a young land surveyor, experimental farmer, and savvy entrepreneur. Washington’s views on religion and slavery, and the influence of his wife, Martha, are also explored in this exhibition which features life-size figures of Washington developed through a cutting-edge forensic investigation; engaging videos; original artifacts; intricate three-dimensional architectural models; and interactive displays. A dedicated web site (DiscoverGeorgeWashington.org) and extensive educational programming are designed to enhance the exhibition and visitor experience.

The schedule for the traveling exhibition is as follows:

  • The Senator John Heinz History Center, Pittsburgh, PA: February 19, 2010 – July 18, 2010
  • North Carolina Museum of History, Raleigh, NC: September 10, 2010 – January 21, 2011
  • Minnesota:  February 22, 2011 – May 29, 2011
  • Philadelphia, PA: July 1, 2011 – September 23, 2011
  • Texas: October 28, 2011 – January 20, 2012
  • California: February 22, 2012 – May 18, 2012
  • The Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, OK: June 22, 2012 – September 23, 2012
  • Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, OH: October 19, 2012 – January 18, 2013
  • Nevada: February 13, 2013 – May 15, 2013

“Although over a million people come to walk in Washington’s footsteps at Mount Vernon each year, we know that not everyone will have a chance to visit his home,” said Jim Rees, executive director of Mount Vernon. “We wanted to bring the fascinating story of Washington’s life to people around the country by showing a wide variety of compelling personal belongings and some intriguing elements from our new Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center.”

The exhibition is presented in 11 sections, ranging from Washington’s youth to his final days. In addition to Washington’s dentures, paintings, books, maps, and objects such as surveying equipment, Revolutionary War armaments, tools used by slaves, and presidential table settings are among the artifacts featured in the exhibition. Mrs. Washington is represented by original jewelry, pieces of her china, silver, and glassware, and reproductions of her gold wedding dress and purple satin slippers.

Three life-size models of George Washington were assembled from a two-year forensic study where computer scientists, art historians, 18th-century garment experts, and a forensic scientist used technology and research from primary sources to measure and analyze portraits, sculpture, and Washington’s dentures and clothing. The project employed proprietary age-progression and regression techniques to create three depictions of Washington as a teenaged surveyor, commander-in-chief atop a white horse, and as the first president taking the oath of office. These lifelike wax figures, with real human hair that was implanted one strand at a time, are embedded in realistic settings – one even with animation – that re-create scenes in the woodsy Ohio Valley territory, wintry Valley Forge, and on the balcony of Federal Hall.

The fascinating process of creating the figures is shown in a video by The History Channel, which also produced five other videos in the exhibition on religion, espionage, slavery, Washington’s dentures, and his state-of-the-art gristmill. A full-size, functional replica of Washington’s pew at Pohick Church and detailed models of Fort Necessity and Washington’s Mansion and estate, gristmill, and innovative 16-sided treading barn bring large structures to the exhibition in a scalable manner, while interactive touch screens encourage interactivity.

Discover the Real George Washington: New Views from Mount Vernon was organized by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association and funded by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, a philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it is named. The exhibition was designed by MFM Design, Inc. and fabricated by Explus, Inc. The forensic figures of George Washington were created by StudioEIS.

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Events, programs, and activities are subject to change.

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