Skip to main content

Quick Facts

Condition: Original
Floor: Third
Parent Location: Mansion

Where is it Located

About the Cupola

George Washington added this architectural feature, generally found on public buildings, to the Mansion in part to help cool the house, as it draws hot air out through open windows. By providing a strong vertical axis, the cupola also helps disguise the asymmetry of the west facade, facing the Bowling Green. The weathervane atop the house decoratively incorporates a dove with an olive branch in its beak, symbolizing Washington's hopes for peace in the new nation. He commissioned the work from Philadelphia artisan Joseph Rakestraw while presiding at the Constitutional Convention during the spring and summer of 1787. The weathervane here is an exact replica of the original, which is preserved and on view in the Museum.

Virtual Tour