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George Washington Broadcasts

Distance Learning DVDs and Broadcasts

With the generous support of the Reynolds Foundation, Mount Vernon and the Fairfax Network have partnered to provide schools with engaging and FREE satellite-delivered distance learning broadcasts. Visit the Fairfax Network to learn about the technology requirements and registration process for satellite broadcasts. Previously broadcast programs are available to educators for free in DVD format.

To order a copy of any of the below DVDs (one of each per school), please send the request on school letterhead to: Fairfax Network, 4414 Holborn Avenue, Annandale, VA 22003.

Creating george WASHINGTON

Go behind-the-scenes to look at the creation of george WASHINGTON, an orchestral work by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Roger Reynolds. This composition utilizes orchestra, multiscreen video, electronic sounds, and three narrators to explore George Washington in three different stages of his life. The large scale work by Reynolds, visual designer Ross Karre, computer musician Jaime Oliver, and performance audio engineer Josef Kucera draws from multiple academic disciplines including history, language arts, science, math, technology, and music. Grades 3-12, 30 min. Watch this program anytime as an On Demand video.

The National Symphony Orchestra premiered the multimedia composition in October 2013 under the direction of Christoph Eschenbach. george WASHINGTON was co-commissioned by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, the University of California Washington Center, and the National Symphony Orchestra.

Inaugural Visions: Presidents Washington to Obama

How do Americans measure leadership, vision, and policy to select the candidate they feel is best qualified to guide the nation? How has the process changed? Are the underlying principles of leadership consistent from the 18th to 21st centuries? How does the inauguration and inaugural address focus on our nation’s hope for the future? Recorded live at Mount Vernon's Ammerman Student Leadership Program, we look at the presidential inaugurations from George Washington to Barack Obama.  Moderator Jennifer Nedeau, Director, Bully Pulpit Interactive; Peter Henriques, Associate Professor Emeritus George Mason University; and Dr. Stephen J. Farnsworth, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, University of Mary Washington lead students in discussions on how Americans choose leaders. [Panelists' Biographies]. Grades 9-12, 60 min. Watch this program anytime as an On Demand video.  

Founding Mothers: Remembering the Ladies

On March 31, 1776 Abigail Adams wrote John Adams"Remember the ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors?” Cokie Roberts hosts this fascinating discussion of the struggles to establish a nation as seen through the eyes of our nation's first First Ladies: Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, and Dolley Madison. Share in their behind-the-scenes insights into the challenges faced by their husbands, as well as learn about the often overlooked contributions of these essential founding mothers. Grades 9-12, 60 min. Watch this program anytime as an On Demand video.

The Constitution and Executive Power

What did the founding fathers intend the powers of the chief executive to be? How has judicial review added or subtracted from these powers? How has the President’s relationship with Congress evolved? At Mount Vernon, students and educators joined host Julie Silverbrook, executive director of The Constitutional Sources Project, and historians Joseph Ellis and Carol Berkin for an exploration of executive powers. Professor Ellis has written biographies of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington. His book Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation won a Pulitzer Prize in 1997. Professor Berkin is an expert on women in colonial America and the United States Constitution. Her best-known books are A Brilliant Solution: Inventing the American Constitution and Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for America's Independence.  This program was recorded at the Fourth Annual Capitol City Constitution Day Education Summit in recognition of the 225th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution and Executive Power is a co-production of the Fairfax Network, George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate, Museum & Gardens, and The Constitutional Sources Project (ConSource). Grades 9-12 and Educators, 60 min. Watch this program anytime as an On Demand video.

Challenges of Nationhood: Presidential Perspectives

The struggle to establish a new nation was complex and challenging.  While today we know that the government of the United States under the Constitution works, it was an experimental concept 200 years ago.  The founders believed that their actions would impact not only themselves but Americans for generations to come.  But while their resolve and their recognition of public trust never faltered, their visions for the future nation differed.  Perhaps no men in history faced a greater challenge than the first presidents of the United States who had the responsibility of guiding a young, untried nation to economic stability, to ensuring the safety of the nation's borders, and to establishing respect for the United States in the eyes of the world. The Challenges of Nationhood: Presidential Perspectives explores the struggles to establish a nation as seen through the eyes of our nation's first four presidents—George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison.  Cokie Roberts moderates this spirited discussion as the founding fathers talk about the sometimes tumultuous relationships that they formed while founding the nation. Grades 9-12, 60 min.

I Ain't No Three Fifths of a Person: Slavery and the Constitution

How did the ideas and vision which formed a new nation impact the enslaved community? This broadcast explores the reactions and perspectives of key members of the Mount Vernon and Monticello enslaved communities to major events during the founding of our nation. Dramatic scenes portraying the lives of enslaved men and women are interwoven with interviews from prominent historians and comments from the actors/historical interpreters themselves. Grades 9-12, 45 min.

First in War: George Washington and the American Revolution

Through dedication and determination, George Washington accomplished the impossible by leading the Continental Army to victory in the Revolutionary War. Our panel of historians including Caroline Cox, William Fowler, Ed Lengel, and Andrew O'Shaughnessy, explore how Washington’s leadership was instrumental in securing American independence. Discussion touches on Washington’s relationship with his generals as well as the common soldier, the British perspective on the war, the turning point at Valley Forge, and the quelling of a rebellion at Newburgh. Key themes include leadership, perseverance, teamwork and cooperation to achieve a goal. Grades 6-12, 60 min.

Nation to Nation

As the first president of the United States, George Washington faced a myriad of challenges in solidifying the nation under one federal head as well as overseeing foreign relations with both Europe and the Indian Nations of America. This program will explore how and the extent to which Washington’s Indian diplomacy and policies set the stage for 19th-century American policy. Taped at the Oklahoma History Center, speakers include Fred Anderson, Brett Rushforth, Robert Miller, and Mount Rushmore superintendent Gerard Baker. Grades 9-12, 60 min.

Primarily George

Primarily George features educators from Mount Vernon, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the National Archives, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and the Papers of George Washington. These educators highlight online primary source documents in their respective collections that can be used to teach students about various aspects of George Washington and the founding fathers. Teacher Audience, 60 min.

    Primarily George: Selected Documents
    This list of documents and lesson plans highlights the panelists’ discussion and explains how these primary sources can be used in the classroom.

Shaping the Presidency

Shaping the Presidency looks back at the profound impact George Washington had on defining the office of the president, as well as how campaigning, the election process and the role of the media affected early presidential candidacies, and how those influences have evolved. The broadcast’s all-star panel includes author and historian Joseph J. Ellis and author and journalist Cokie Roberts, among others. Grades 8-12, 60 min.

The Real Martha Washington

Martha Dandridge Custis married George Washington on January 6, 1759 and moved to his family home, Mount Vernon, several months later. In this program, Mrs. Washington’s incredibly full and vibrant life is portrayed by costumed historical interpreters who are interviewed by students during a live taping. Political commentator and author of Founding Mothers and Ladies of Liberty Cokie Roberts and George Mason University historian Rosemarie Zagarri also provide background information. Grades 3-5, 30 min.

History Meets Hollywood

This high-energy broadcast moderated by author and Hardball host Chris Matthews explores how historic sites and classroom teachers increasingly capitalize on the interest Hollywood generates in historical events, places, and people. Discussion centers on several films including National Treasure: Book of Secrets, which was filmed in-part at Mount Vernon. The Estate’s orientation film We Fight To Be Free and a number of docudrama videos that the History Channel produced for Mount Vernon’s exhibition galleries are also discussed. Panelists include National Treasure producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Jon Turteltaub, the History Chanel’s Libby O’Connell, and others. Grades 9-12, 60 min.

Seed to Table: Farming at Mount Vernon

Shot on-location at Mount Vernon’s pioneer farm and gristmill, this film demonstrates George Washington’s skill as an innovative farmer and businessperson. Students witness how farm resources were managed, food was produced, and machinery was run. The program provides information about the operation of a water-powered gristmill, the jobs that existed at a farm and mill, and the importance of animals to farming. Students also visit a restored slave cabin and learn about slaves’ integral contributions. Grades K-5, 30 min.

History Notes: The Music of Washington’s World

Students discover the music of pre-Revolutionary America and how it reflected colonists’ growing revolt against the tyranny of England, as well as the traditional songs of African slaves. They hear music written about George Washington and learn about the music that George Washington would have heard on the battlefields and in the ballroom. Grades 6-9, 45 min.

Slavery at Mount Vernon

This program explores the lives of the 18th-century enslaved community at Mount Vernon and examines George Washington's changing attitudes about slavery. Special guests include direct descendants of two enslaved women who lived and worked at Mount Vernon. They’re joined by African-American museum expert Larry Earl and historians Philip Morgan of Johns Hopkins University and Dennis Pogue of Mount Vernon. Grades 9-12, 45 min.


To order a copy of any of the below DVDs (one of each per school), please contact Alabama Public television at


APTV's "Exploring Mount Vernon"

In February 2012, Alabama Public Television’s IQ Learning Network produced and broadcast "Exploring Mount Vernon," a live, electronic field trip offering an exciting adventure to students nationwide. Whether you were unable to participate in the live event or participated and want to revisit the historic estate of General and Mrs. Washington, the recorded program is now available online until the end of May of this year. Although the program is not downloadable, you may stream it as often as you like at any time convenient for you. The following websites currently offer access to the program:
Click  IQ Learning Network on Alabama Public Television or
Click Learn360.