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Shutters on the Mount Vernon Mansion were replaced over a one-year period that concluded in September 2001. The new shutters were designed and constructed after undertaking an intensive analysis of the physical and historical evidence of the Mansion’s appearance at the time of George Washington’s death in 1799. Paneled shutters were installed on the first floor windows of the Mansion sometime before 1796. In that year, the shutters on the first floor windows on the west front were replaced with Venetian (louvered) shutters, matching those installed at the same time on the second floor. The older panel shutters remained in place on the east and south facades until after George Washington’s death. During his lifetime, there were no shutters on the second floors of the east or south sides of the Mansion.
Before the current restoration, the configuration of the shutters had undergone several phases of development. As early as 1818, Bushrod Washington, who inherited Mount Vernon from his uncle, had replaced the 18th-century shutters on the first floor windows of the east and west fronts. Over the next 150 years, other shutters were replaced using those installed by Bushrod Washington as the model. Shutters were also added to the second story of the east and south facades. When the current project was initiated in 1995, only a few shutters (six pairs, all on the second floor, west front) that dated to George Washington’s ownership of the property remained.
Today, the six original pairs of shutters, and the later additions, are preserved in the restoration laboratory. The restoration of the Mansion’s shutters represents a substantial step forward in restoring the exterior of the Mansion to its appearance at the time of George Washington’s death.