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This 60-minute specialty tour highlights the history of preservation at George Washington’s Mount Vernon.

Hear how a group of women, The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, restored George Washington’s estate in the 19th century and how their work continues today. 

Learn about our preservation efforts to return the estate to its 1799 appearance – the last year of Washington’s life – and about the discoveries that have transformed our understanding of Mount Vernon and those who lived at the estate.

Please note that this tour does not enter the Mansion.

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$10 per person in addition to general admission

Located At

Mansion Circle

Tour Highlights

Take a deep dive into Mount Vernon’s history and learn how museums operate to preserve the past for future generations.

During the tour, you’ll:

  • Hear about our ongoing preservation work and what’s happening at the estate now
  • Identify original structures that have stood since Washington’s time, plus learn the difference between reconstructions and replicas
  • View copies of historic paintings, drawings, and images, and learn what they can and can’t tell us about the estate’s appearance in Washington’s time
  • Hear how the discovery of a one-hundred-year-old document led to the transformation of the greenhouse
  • See 19th-century signatures in the North Garden House that were preserved using an innovative technique 
  • Inside the reconstructed slave quarters, view bricks that survived two fires
  • Compare 18th-century and 19th-century nails
  • Find out what the estate’s iconic red roofs are made of and why they’re red
  • Understand why the Mansion’s wooden exterior looks like stone and how the effect was achieved
  • Learn why George Washington ordered the construction of a smokehouse after his marriage to Martha
  • Stand on the east lawn to observe George Washington’s view of the Potomac River and hear how the view has been protected from modern development

Please allow 10-15 minutes to walk from the Ford Orientation Center to the Mansion circle to meet your guide.

Historic Preservation at Mount Vernon

Preservation is an ongoing process that began in the 19th century and continues today. During your visit, you can explore the ongoing efforts to preserve Mount Vernon.

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