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Historic Mount Vernon's President to Retire

Wed, 02/15/2012

For Immediate Release
February 15, 2012
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Media Contact:
Melissa Wood (703) 799-5203  

Historic Mount Vernon's President to Retire

James C. Rees IV Led America’s Most Popular Historic Home for Close to Two Decades

Mount Vernon, VA – The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association (MVLA), the group that owns and operates George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon, today announced that James C. Rees IV will retire as president and chief executive officer on June 1, 2012, after a successful 29 years of tenure at the historic home.  Rees’ retirement is due to health issues.

As president, Rees has successfully overseen the fundraising for more than a quarter billion dollars of projects designed to bring George Washington back into the national spotlight. It was Rees' bold vision for Mount Vernon’s future that led to the development and opening of the cutting-edge $60 million, 66,700-square-foot Ford Orientation and Donald W. Reynolds Museum & Education Center buildings in 2006. During Rees’ tenure, he has led the Estate through projects such as restoring and reconstructing George Washington’s Distillery & Gristmill, creating a new four-acre exhibition area farm site, the continued preservation of Washington’s viewshed, and countless other important restorations to the 500-acre Estate.

"No one has done more for George Washington's legacy than Jim Rees," said Mount Vernon’s Regent, Ann Bookout. "His dedication and drive echo the qualities of George Washington’s leadership."

In the midst of the worst economic climate since the Great Depression, Rees successfully managed fundraising efforts that have thus far secured $82 million out of the $100 million needed for the new Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, a site destined to function as Washington’s presidential library. The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association does not accept government funding.

Rees served as director of development and associate director at Mount Vernon from 1983 until his appointment as president in 1994. During Rees’ 29-year tenure, the staff has nearly doubled in size; and Mount Vernon’s endowment has grown from $4 million to $125 million. Today Mount Vernon receives more than one million visitors annually.

Rees currently serves on the board of directors for Fairfax County Convention and Visitors Corporation and the Piedmont Environmental Council of Virginia. He holds undergraduate and honorary doctorate degrees from the College of William & Mary and a master’s degree in public administration from George Washington University.

A national search for a new president will begin immediately. As Regent of the MVLA, Ann Bookout will share oversight of the Estate with Rees through the transition.


About Mount Vernon Estate, Museum & Gardens
Since 1860, more than 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, $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. For more information about Mount Vernon, please visit