Mount Vernon is owned and maintained by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, the oldest national historic preservation organization in the United States. Founded in 1853 by Ann Pamela Cunningham, the Association has pioneered many important historic preservation concepts since purchasing the property from George Washington’s heirs in 1858, including: the restoration and interpretation of the estate's outbuildings; relying on scientific analyses to determine paint colors; and embracing archaeological research as a primary source for learning about the past. The Association also pioneered the idea of the historic viewshed and continues its work to protect Washington's view across the Potomac River. Their innovative interpretation of Washington as a farmer and entrepreneur has expanded understanding of the overlooked role Washington's private pursuits played in the creation of the United States. Today, the MVLA's historic preservation program includes archaeologists, architectural historians and conservators who care for the property’s cultural resources, as well as a division devoted to GIS that utilizes digital data systems to better understand Washington’s home and the evolution of that space through time.
The founder of the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, Ann Pamela Cunningham was responsible for creating the organization responsible for the preservation and maintenance of the Mount Vernon estate.
Learn more about the struggles and challenges facing the Ladies’ in the days leading up to the Civil War.
Learn more about our efforts to preserve and restore Washington’s New Room at Mount Vernon.