North Carolina Museum of History Presents Discover the Real George Washington From Mount Vernon

The N.C. Museum of History is hosting the traveling exhibition Discover the Real George Washington: New Views From Mount Vernon during its three-year national tour. Approximately 100 objects associated with Washington are featured in this exhibition on view through Jan. 21, 2011, in Raleigh. The N.C. Museum of History is the only venue in the Southeast on the exhibition’s tour.

“Although over a million people come to walk in Washington’s footsteps at Mount Vernon each year, we know that not everyone will have a chance to visit his home,” said Jim Rees, President of Mount Vernon. “We wanted to bring the fascinating story of Washington’s life to people around the country by showing a wide variety of compelling personal belongings and some intriguing elements from our new Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center.”

Discover the Real George Washington offers a new and refreshing perspective on our nation’s first president, his achievements, and his family and times. The exhibition reveals the real George Washington not only as a general and president, but as a young land surveyor, experimental farmer and savvy entrepreneur. Washington’s views on religion and slavery, and the influence of his wife, Martha, are also explored.

Highlights among the objects associated with Washington include:

The only surviving complete set of Washington’s famous dentures, made of ivory, human teeth and animal teeth;

Three life-size figures of Washington based on cutting-edge forensic research, showing him at different stages of his life: as a young surveyor, as commander in chief, and as our first president;

Gilbert Stuart’s famous portrait of Washington, ca. 1798;

The family Bible from Washington’s personal library; and surveying equipment and maps used by Washington.

Mrs. Washington is represented by original jewelry, pieces of her china, silver, glassware, and reproductions of her gold wedding dress and purple satin slippers.

Discover the Real George Washington is presented in 11 sections, ranging from Washington’s youth to his final days. Engaging videos and a large 3D model of Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens enhance the visitor experience, and computer touch screens encourage interactivity. The exhibition features a full-size, functional replica of Washington’s pew at Pohick Church and detailed scale models of Fort Necessity, a gristmill, and an innovative 16-sided treading barn.
An extensive selection of educational programs is offered throughout the exhibition run, and children can enjoy hands-on activities in the museum lobby. A dedicated Web site ( provides additional learning opportunities.

Washington and North Carolina
In addition, the N.C. Museum of History has produced an exhibition section about Washington’s ties to the state. This portion focuses on Washington’s experiences as a surveyor at the Great Dismal Swamp in 1763 and his 1791 presidential tour through North Carolina.
“We wanted to share with visitors a little-known story about Washington and his ownership of a unique piece of North Carolina land,” notes Dr. Jeanne Marie Warzeski, Curator of Colonial and Antebellum History at the N.C. Museum of History. “His venture in the Great Dismal Swamp offers insight into Washington’s business acumen, his practical skills as a surveyor, and his understanding of logistics and strategy.” Washington’s 1791 tour through the South as president brought him again to North Carolina. He slept in many places, some of which are still standing.

The museum has also produced a small lobby exhibit about Washington’s lifelong friendship with the Marquis de Lafayette, a French nobleman who came to the United States to support the cause of American independence. Lafayette later visited North Carolina as part during a much-celebrated tour of the United States. Visitors can view artifacts concerning Lafayette in the American Revolution, as well as memorabilia related to his 1825 visits to Fayetteville and Raleigh.

The N.C. Museum of History’s hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. For more information, call 919-807-7900 or go to or Facebook®.Located at 5 E. Edenton St., the museum is part of the Division of State History Museums, Office of Archives and History, an agency of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, the state agency with the mission to enrich lives and communities, and the vision to harness the state’s cultural resources to build North Carolina’s social, cultural and economic future. Information is available at

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