George Washington’s Mount Vernon is owned and maintained by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association (MVLA).

The MVLA has pioneered many important historic preservation concepts since the 1860s, including the restoration, reconstruction, and interpretation of the estate's outbuildings.

There are four different types of standing historic structures under the care of Mount Vernon's Architectural Preservation staff: Original Structures, Reconstructions, Replicas, and MVLA and Period Support Structures. Each of these structures helps tell the story of life at Mount Vernon.

Restoration work inside the original Kitchen. MVLA.

The Structures of Mount Vernon

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The Structures of Mount Vernon

Original Structures

The Wash House is an Original Structure. MVLA.

The Wash House is an Original Structure. MVLA.

Original structures are buildings, structures, and landscape features that were constructed during the lifetime of George Washington or his heirs and still stand on their original site. There are 20 original structures preserved at Mount Vernon including walls and fences. Although every original structure has received some level of conservation or restoration, these structures have survived essentially intact and offer visitors a tangible artifact of the father of our country.

Reconstructions

Mount Vernon's reconstructed Gristmill. MVLA.

Mount Vernon's reconstructed Gristmill. MVLA.

Reconstructions are buildings, structures, and landscape features that were lost, but that have been rebuilt upon their original site or footprint using authentic materials and techniques for all feasible visible detail. Reconstructions are based on exhaustive documentary and physical research that provide the evidence for their original appearance. Archaeological excavation and analysis are required steps in reconstructions, dovetailing with the historical and architectural investigations.

Reconstructions span a wide range from extensively rebuilding a surviving resource that has serious structural issues, such as the south necessary, to rebuilding a structure that was lost for centuries and that has been recovered archaeologically, such as the distillery. There are 26 reconstructions at Mount Vernon including walls and fences.

Replicas

Replica Slave Cabin at Mount Vernon's Pioneer Farm. MVLA.

Replica Slave Cabin at Mount Vernon's Pioneer Farm. MVLA.

Replicas are buildings, structures, or landscape features that were lost, but that have been rebuilt somewhere other than their original locations. Like reconstructions, replicas are the product of comprehensive documentary research and physical investigation and recreate the plan, form, and appearance of a resource using authentic materials and techniques for all feasible visible detail.

Whenever possible, replicas should be based on archaeological evidence, as well as archival research and study of surviving comparable structures. There are five replica buildings at Mount Vernon.

MVLA and Period Support Structures

The Boat Shed on the Pioneer Farm is a Period Support Structure. MVLA.

The Boat Shed on the Pioneer Farm is a Period Support Structure. MVLA.

Over the course of its stewardship of Washington’s home, the MVLA has constructed numerous structures in support of its mission. Some of these post-Washington resources have acquired historical significance in their own right.

Period Support Structures are buildings or structures built by the MVLA to support interpretive goals that appear eighteenth-century but are not based on a known Mount Vernon building or structure. MVLA Support Structures are not based on an eighteenth-century example but still perform an interpretive support function within the historic area. There are seven MVLA and Period Support Structures at Mount Vernon. 

Standard of Care

Work on the exterior of the Kitchen, which is an Original Structure. MVLA.

Work on the exterior of the Kitchen, which is an Original Structure. MVLA.

The same standard of care is used with Original Structures, Reconstructions, and Replicas. We utilize authentic materials and techniques for any portions of the buildings that are visible. For those areas not visible, we utilize conservation techniques and materials as necessary in order to preserve as much of the fabric as possible.

For historically-significant support structures, we adhere to the Secretary of the Interior standards. If a building is more than 50 years old, we conduct repairs and replacements consistent with the original building materials and methods of craftsmanship. We replace degraded materials in-kind unless research demonstrates evidence of a different original material.

Restoring Mount Vernon’s Mansion and Outbuildings

Mount Vernon is one of the best documented and most complete examples of an estate from early America, but discovering, analyzing, and interpreting the extraordinary mass of available evidence is an ongoing process.

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Help us continue to do the work of preserving, restoring, and maintaining the home of George Washington so future generations will see Mount Vernon just as the Washington family and their visitors did.

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