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The plate is oval, and is 50.6mm x 2.81mm x 82.5mm (Width x Height x Length), so it is relatively small. It weighs 14.8 grams.

Consider these questions while looking at Washington's trunk plate.

  • This trunk plate was originally on Washington's trunk, used to carry sensitive materials during the Revolutionary War. If the trunk plate could talk, what things do you think it would have seen?
  • Why do you think the trunk plate was so small?
  • This trunk plate was found in an archeological dig site near the mansion. How do you think it ended up there?
  • What can we learn about George Washington just by studying this trunk plate? What can a single object or artifact say about a person's life?

Classroom Materials downloads are ZIP files that include, when available: document images (JPEGs), document transcripts (PDF as well as Word and/or Excel files), and ready to use classroom resources (activities, discussion prompts, lesson plans, etc.). These materials are available for educational uses only. If you would like to reproduce them in any other medium, please contact Dawn Bonner, Manager of Visual Resources.


This trunk plate is made of copper alloy and inscribed with the name "Genl. Washington." It was attached to a trunk bought by Washington in Boston on April 4, 1776, not long after he took his position as general of the Continental Army. The trunk was used to safely store sensitive and important materials and correspondence during the Revolutionary War. The trunk was moved as part of his baggage throughout the war, possibly by his enslaved valet William Lee.