Vice President, Media & Communications
MOUNT VERNON, VA - Website users can now transport themselves to George Washington’s Mount Vernon in a click of a mouse or touch of a screen through an immersive new virtual tour, which launched this week on mountvernon.org. Featuring 29 stunning, 360-degree panoramic images, more than 200 points of interest, and dozens of in-depth videos highlighting architectural details, objects, and anecdotes, the virtual tour recreates the experience of being at the estate in an unparalleled way.
“We’ve created a more extensive and immersive virtual tour than you’ll find at any other historic site in America. We want you to feel as if you are a guest in George Washington’s home, and to give you access to more information than we can share during a public tour,” said Mount Vernon’s president, Curt Viebranz. “You can visit us any time of day, from your home or from a classroom, and stay as long as you like.”
Mount Vernon’s virtual tour guides visitors behind the ropes for a close-up look—from the floorboards to the ceilings—at the rooms that Washington designed. By using a touchpad or mouse, the tour user can scan the room, clicking on objects to examine them in greater detail. By clicking on a video point of interest, the tour user can listen as curators describe the furnishings and historians describe the architectural details. The tour also lets visitors explore spaces not readily available on a public tour, including the cupola and the cellar.
Beyond the expected historic content, the virtual tour also offers some surprises: a video of musician David Hildebrand playing a period harpsichord inside the New Room, where Washington often entertained his guests. Some of the videos feature actors portraying characters from Washington’s world, relating anecdotes from their own lives at Mount Vernon and intriguing stories about events that happened inside the Mansion.
In addition to better sharing the fascinating history of George Washington’s estate, the new virtual tour is also designed to enhance the experience for future and past Mount Vernon visitors. Guests who are in the process of planning a visit to Mount Vernon may tour the Mansion beforehand, allowing them to arrive better prepared and oriented. After visiting, they will be able to “return” to linger over places and items that sparked their interest and share their experiences with others. For schools and teachers, this new virtual tour provides a new way for educators to take a “field trip” to Mount Vernon.
While the new Mansion tour is now available, Mount Vernon is expanding the digital tour experience to other parts of the estate, including the outbuildings, gardens, distillery, and gristmill. A virtual tour of George Washington’s presidential library, the Fred W. Smith Library for the Study of George Washington, launched in late 2013.
The Mount Vernon Virtual Tour was produced by Mount Vernon’s New Media team working in conjunction with Regal 360 (www.regal360.com), a leading provider of interactive virtual tours. Content for the points of interest was produced by Mount Vernon’s curatorial staff, interpreters, Historic Trades team, horticultural team, and Library staff. The virtual tour is supported by one of Mount Vernon’s key leadership groups, The Founders, Washington Committee for Historic Mount Vernon, and Scott and Lynn Molitor.
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