This year, the Annual Martha Washington Lecture pays special tribute to the groundbreaking career of Mary Wiseman, who recently retired from her role officially portraying Martha Washington at Mount Vernon for the past 17 years.

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This annual event was created to share new scholarship and insights into the life and times of Martha Washington and is made possible through a generous grant from the Richard S. Reynolds Foundation of Richmond, Virginia.

Add to Calendar 06/23/2021 19:00:00 12/31/1969 20:30:00 America/New_York Annual Martha Washington Lecture: Honoring Lady Washington, Character Interpretation at Historic Sites

This year, the Annual Martha Washington Lecture pays special tribute to the groundbreaking career of Mary Wiseman, who recently retired from her role officially portraying Martha Washington at Mount Vernon for the past 17 years.

Register

This annual event was created to share new scholarship and insights into the life and times of Martha Washington and is made possible through a generous grant from the Richard S. Reynolds Foundation of Richmond, Virginia.

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Cost

Free

Location

Online

Watch Live Wednesday, June 23 at 7 pm ET

Mary Wiseman will look back over many highlights from her amazing career and share insights into her profession.

She will be joined by public historians Beth Kelly of Colonial Williamsburg and Christy Coleman of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, who will discuss the broader field of character interpretation at historic sites and the many ways in which the popular discipline helps to educate the visiting public.

They will be led in conversation by Mount Vernon’s Director of Interpretation, Jeremy Ray.

Mary Wiseman

Mary Wiseman’s career in character interpretation began 45 years ago at Colonial Williamsburg, where she developed training programs, conducted primary source research, and guided tours and programs through the historic area. 

In 1981, she created a new interpretation plan of the Governor’s Palace, employing Living History actors for the first time. Mary created the concept of “character interpretation” by removing the reliance on scripted work and challenging staff to possess detailed knowledge of the period and character they were portraying.

In 1991, Mary once again revolutionized the field when, as Artistic Director for Character Interpretation, she added the title of Manager of Women’s History. It was in this role that she began researching and making the connections between Williamsburg and a woman named Martha Dandridge Custis — a role she would take on in 1996.

In April of 2004, the very same week George Washington brought his bride from Williamsburg to Mount Vernon, Mary began her role as Lady Washington. In the ensuing years, Mary has dazzled countless visitors both at official events, and day to day in the Interpretive Center.

Christy Coleman

In January 2020, the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation named Christy Coleman its Executive Director. Prior to this new role, she served 12 years as CEO of the American Civil War Museum (ACWM). Christy is an innovator and thought leader with over 30 years of museum and public history experience.

She's dedicated herself to correcting the American narrative particularly of the Colonial/Revolutionary and Civil War eras by placing the diverse peoples and their impact back into the history. She's been a featured guest on many news and television outlets.  Most recently, she's been featured in the Grant Miniseries on the History Channel. Christy also served as a historical consultant for the award-winning film "Harriet" and Showtime's "Good Lord Bird."

Christy is the recipient of three Honorary Doctorates (The College of William and Mary, Virginia Commonwealth University, and The University of the South) for her decades of impact.

Beth Kelly

Beth Kelly is the Vice President of Education, Research and Historical Interpretation at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. She has worked with the Foundation since 1989 in a variety of interpretive and management positions. Beth's passion is connecting guests with the past so that they can better understand their present and forge the future with a broader understanding.

Beth is focused on creating the very best guest service, and frequently speaks at museums from Virginia to New York, instructing professionals on how to deliver effective and memorable service. She recently lectured with graduating students in advanced History Studies at the Johns Hopkins University.

Contact

Stephen A. McLeod

Director, Library Programs

703.799.8686

smcleod@mountvernon.org

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