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Ford Orientation Center Highlights

The Washington Family, Circa 1785

Produced by Studio EIS, these life-sized bronze sculptures of George and Martha Washington and Mrs. Washington’s two grandchildren, Nelly and Washy, welcome guests to the Ford Orientation Center. Many guests make this their first stop, as they see how they measure up to the General! It's a perfect photo op!

We Fight to Be Free

The most momentous events in George Washington’s life unfold in a vivid 18-minute  adventure movie packed with action, drama, and even a little romance. “We Fight to Be Free” introduces guests to the real George Washington as the “indispensable man” who was responsible for the survival of this country. Intended not as an orientation film but instead as a major movie experience highlighting Washington’s remarkable accomplishments, the film takes viewers back in time to defining moments of the French and Indian War; to when   a young, widowed Martha Dandridge Custis meets her future husband; and to the tense  days before Washington’s troops famously cross the Delaware River at Christmastime in 1776.

After eight long years fighting for freedom, Washington finally returns home to Mount Vernon in the last scene of the movie.  Viewers are brought about to understand Washington’s direct role in creating and protecting the nation, and his legacy – a country founded on democratic ideals – is solidified for those who previously saw Washington as a staid figure on the dollar bill and who did not know the depth of his accomplishments and sacrifices.

Mount Vernon in Miniature

Completed in 1998, the Miniature is not just a model, it is a unique masterpiece created over five years by a group of more than 50 miniaturists, artisans, and “George enthusiasts.”  Experts from as far away as the British Isles contributed to the Miniature, using everything from a mouse’s whisker to paint blue and white Canton china to more common instruments such as a photocopy machine’s “reduce” button to create small portraits. Mechanized walls recede to give visitors full visual access to the Mansion, allowing them to peek into rooms not typically on display.

Mount Vernon in Miniature weighs nearly 1,500 pounds and measures ten feet long, more than eight feet high, and approximately six feet wide.  A gift of the People of the State of Washington, it is displayed in a state-of-the-art glass case that extends 16 feet to the ceiling and is lit from above.