As a man of the Enlightenment, George Washington possessed a great interest in the natural world. Washington collected this piece of coral on his 1751 trip to Barbados, his only trip outside of the United States. Prominently displayed amongst other natural specimens in his Study, the staghorn coral -Acropora cervicornis- was undoubtedly a treasured item. Washington probably would have known it as "Tubular Coral," as it was identified in his copy of Griffith Hughes' The Natural History of Barbados, published in 1750.


Branch of white coral with five major cylindrical offshoots projecting from the length of the cylindrical central growth. Additional, smaller, protuberances extend from each offshoot. The surface is dotted with corallites giving it a "horny" appearance.







Overall: 5 in. x 3 3/4 in. (12.7 cm x 9.53 cm)

Credit Line

Purchased with funds donated by the Regent, Vice Regents, and Executive Director of the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, 2004

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
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