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Discover the history of Mount Vernon and its landscape with our exhibit, included with admission.

Meet the people who shaped Mount Vernon, including Washington and Custis family members, enslaved and hired laborers, and Vice Regents of the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, which has owned and preserved Mount Vernon since the 19th century.

Making Mount Vernon: The Work of Many Hands

Follow the evolution of Mount Vernon’s landscape, from Native settlements 10,000 years ago, to John Washington’s 1674 land patent, to George Washington’s dramatic overhaul of the house and grounds in the late 18th century.

See original architectural material from the Mansion and archaeological discoveries that tell a broader story of this place.

Treasured Possessions: The Material World of the Washington Family

View fine and decorative arts owned by George and Martha Washington, and understand how the Washingtons used objects to fashion their identities.

Portraits, porcelain, silver, furniture, and musical instruments shed light on what the Washingtons valued and how they presented themselves to the world.

Learn about the enslaved community by viewing items that they used and owned. These objects, discovered through archaeological research, reveal the hardships and resilience of those living in bondage.

Saving Mount Vernon: The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association of the Union

The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association (MVLA) is a group of patriotic American women that has preserved George Washington's Mount Vernon for more than 160 years.

Hear about the trailblazing work of the MVLA, including Ann Pamela Cunningham’s innovative campaign to purchase the property in the 19th century and the Association’s efforts to restore Mount Vernon to its 18th-century appearance.

You'll learn how the MVLA has taken a leading role in historic preservation and how visitors like you continue to shape Mount Vernon’s story.

Mount Vernon: The Story of An American Icon

Learn about the stories and objects in the exhibit.

Objects on Display

In this permanent exhibit, view more than 350 objects from our collection, including:

  • George Washington’s “Uncommon Chair," which he used throughout his presidency and for the remainder of his life
  • Nelly Custis’s harpsichord
  • the weathervane that topped the Mansion’s cupola, alongside the cupola’s original spire
  • a handmade brick with the finger impressions of its maker
  • Native people’s stone tools and weapons


Exhibit Highlights

  • “Play” the harpsichord George Washington acquired for his step-granddaughter, Nelly Custis
  • Meet Vice Regents of the MVLA and learn who has represented your state
  • Peel back the layers of the Mansion with a reproduction of an 18th-century plaster wall
  • Read biographies of enslaved people
  • Explore objects in more detail using touchscreen interactives
  • See photographs of Mansion rooms from the mid-19th-century to today