Skip to main content

George and Martha Washington's front parlor is now opened to the public, after a multi-year restoration project. Visitors can see the newly restored and refurnished room on their Mansion tour.

general admission tickets


Located in the Mansion

The Front Parlor

Gavin Ashworth
Gavin Ashworth
The front parlor was a site of formal entertainment, featuring fine furnishings and architectural elements. More than thirty years have passed since the room was last completely restored. New forensic analysis of the architecture and significant documentary discoveries have combined to reveal more about the appearance and evolution of the room than was previously known.

The rediscovery of a ledger kept by the Fairfax family of Belvoir plantation provided documentary evidence of the original furniture in the room, furniture that was purchased in London and given by George William Fairfax to his close friend George Washington. While none of the original pieces survives, the curatorial team worked to replicate the Fairfax-Washington furniture based on comparable period examples. The original upholstery fabric—a highlight of the room—is documented as being a silk and worsted wool damask dyed “Saxon blue,” a bright and vibrant color that curators worked to replicate.

Object Spotlight

Fairfax Family Ledger

This ledger contains the financial records of William and George William Fairfax. Including the furniture acquisitions that George Washington eventually purchased from the 1774 Fairfax sale at Belvoir. 

Learn more

A New Look

The last comprehensive conservation of the room’s paneling occurred more than half a century ago, and the current work addressed problems identified in recent years. Earlier restoration efforts used techniques that prevent the paneling system from expanding and contracting in response to natural seasonal changes in humidity. They also obscured small details of moldings that made the room a showpiece.

During the course of the work, the architecture team removed several panels for conservation, thereby providing access to the earlier architectural features predating the current paneling (installed between 1757 and the early 1760s). In addition, the architecture team reanalyzed the previous generation of paint analysis and determined that the room was painted a cream color during George Washington’s life rather than the current blue. At the conclusion of this project, the room was repainted cream using hand-ground pigments replicating the original. The architecture team also addressed needed repairs to the ceiling and windows, as well as conserve the mantel, overmantel, hearth, and floors.

Learn More

1937 image of the chimneypiece in the Front Parlor. MVLA.

Restoration Work

The restoration of the room required extensive research, physical investigation, and conservation and restoration work. 

Learn more

Color Change

One of the most exciting and intensively-studied discoveries during the front parlor restoration project was that the color on the room’s woodwork was conclusively not blue during the Washingtons’ lifetimes, but a stone or cream color.

Learn more

Frequently Asked Questions

Since the start of the front parlor restoration project, visitors have asked a variety of questions about the project and the history of the room.

Learn more

Changes through Time

Since the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association purchased Mount Vernon, the organization has worked to restore each room to how it was during Washington's life. Over the years, a number of changes have occurred in the front parlor.

Learn more

The restoration of the Front Parlor was made possible through the generous support of The Founders, Washington Committee for Historic Mount Vernon; the Dr. Scholl Foundation; Dr. and Mrs. James S. Reibel; the Nancy Peery Marriott Foundation; The Brown Foundation, Inc.; Richard and Susan Ammerman; Mr. Paul Neely; Mr. Harold B. Smith; and hundreds of donors from across the country.

Front Parlor

The front parlor and its furnishings and architecture are a complex compilation of objects that evolved over more than forty years of the Washingtons’ marriage.

Learn more