George Washington Returns to Philadelphia This Summer at the National Constitution Center

Feb 22, 2011, 12:54 ET from National Constitution Center

Plus: Kids Free Summer!

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The "Father of Our Country" won the American Revolution, chaired the Constitutional Convention, and served as our first president – all in the Philadelphia region.  This summer, visitors can uncover a fresh perspective on George Washington through the National Constitution Center's feature exhibition, Discover the Real George Washington: New Views from Mount Vernon.  

Discover the Real George Washington: New Views from Mount Vernon was organized by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association and funded by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, a philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it is named.  

The Center is pairing the exhibition, which runs from July 1 through September 5, 2011, with its first-ever Kids Free Summer promotion!  Families can save a pocketful of "Washingtons" with this special deal: free admission to the Center for up to four children (ages 12 and under) with one paying adult.  The promotion applies to both general admission and group reservations.

"We want more families to visit the National Constitution Center, and we think bringing George Washington back to Philadelphia and letting kids join their parents for free is an unbeatable combination that will bring both tourists and Philadelphia natives through the door," said National Constitution Center President and CEO David Eisner.  "George Washington built this country and what we stand for here in Philadelphia, and this summer, he'll remind us again of who we are as a people and a nation."

Discover the Real George Washington gives visitors a behind-the-scenes look at our nation's first president through his achievements, legacies, family, intellectual pursuits, and entrepreneurial ventures.  The 3,800-square-foot exhibition is organized into eleven sections, each focusing on a specific aspect of Washington's life, including:

  • An Ambitious Youth
  • A Dauntless Warrior
  • A Troubled Slaveholder
  • Uneasy in the Mouth
  • Beloved Hero

Nearly 100 objects from Mount Vernon's world-class collection, including full-scale figures of Washington, architectural models, decorative and fine art items, maps, manuscripts, and paintings reveal the personal side of Washington and uncover his roles as an entrepreneur, farmer, and businessman.  Highlights include:  

  • An original set of Washington's dentures, made of ivory, human teeth, and animal teeth
  • Several original works of art, including Gilbert Stuart's classic Washington portrait
  • Three full-size, life-like figures of Washington based on the latest forensic research showing him:
    • As a teenaged, red-haired surveyor from Virginia just prior to the French & Indian War
    • As a Revolutionary War hero atop his horse, Blueskin, in a snow-covered forest at Valley Forge
    • During his presidential inauguration ceremony at Federal Hall in New York City
  • The Washington family Bible
  • Original pieces of Martha Washington's jewelry

"In Philadelphia, George Washington organized the building blocks of our nation when he was president, and he set a remarkable number of precedents, both politically and socially," said James C. Rees, president of Historic Mount Vernon.  "To have our exhibition just yards from where he lived and worked is a big deal – we're absolutely thrilled."

Visitors also will have the opportunity to view videos by The History Channel, focusing on religion, slavery, espionage, Washington's dentures, his state-of-the-art gristmill, and the creation of the life-like Washington figures seen in the exhibition.

In addition, interactive touch screens and immersive environments will bring stories to life for visitors of all ages.  Guests can sit at a full-size replica of Washington's pew at Pohick Church, as well as explore detailed models of Fort Necessity and Washington's Mansion and estate, gristmill, and 16-sided treading barn.  

Admission to Discover the Real George Washington is $17.50 for adults and $15.50 for seniors (ages 65 and up) and students.  Children ages 12 and under and active military are FREE.  Group rates also are available.  Admission to the Center's main exhibition, The Story of We the People, including the award-winning theater production "Freedom Rising," is included.  iPod audio tours cost an additional $5.  For ticket information, call 215.409.6700 or visit  

The exhibition was designed by MFM Design, Inc. and fabricated by Explus, Inc.  The forensic figures of George Washington were created by StudioEIS.


To coincide with Discover the Real George Washington and the President's House at Independence National Historical Park, the Center also will host The President's House: Their Untold Stories in Quilts in Posterity Hall.  This collection of art quilts celebrates the humanity, dignity, and courage of the nine enslaved persons owned by George and Martha Washington at the President's House.  

Created by a multiracial and multicultural group of both internationally acclaimed and novice quilt artists, the quilts are intended to stimulate dialogue about slavery and freedom in the paradigm of democracy.  Additional quilts will be on display at the Independence Visitor Center and the African American Museum in Philadelphia.  Admission to The President's House: Their Untold Stories in Quilts is FREE with regular museum admission.

In addition to the exhibitions, the Center will create and distribute a special map and brochure featuring locations in the greater Philadelphia region that have significant connections to George Washington's story.  For the complete "Summer of Washington" experience, guests are encouraged to visit sites such as Valley Forge National Historical Park, Washington Crossing Historic Park, President's House, Independence Hall, and Cliveden, among others.  "Summer of Washington" maps will be available at each partner location.  The Center is pleased to partner on this initiative with Independence National Historical Park, Historic Philadelphia, Inc., the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, Visit Bucks County, and the Friends of Washington Crossing Park.

For more information and downloadable images, visit:

About Mount Vernon

Since 1860, over 80 million visitors have made George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens the most popular historic home in America.  Through thought-provoking tours, entertaining events, and stimulating educational programs on the Estate and in classrooms across the nation, Mount Vernon strives to preserve George Washington's place in history as "First in War, First in Peace, and First in the Hearts of His Countrymen."  Mount Vernon is owned and operated by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, America's oldest national preservation organization, founded in 1853.  A picturesque drive to the southern end of the scenic George Washington Memorial Parkway, Mount Vernon is located just 16 miles from the nation's capital.  For more information, visit

About the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation

The Donald W Reynolds foundation is a national philanthropic organization founded by the late media entrepreneur for whom it was named.  Headquartered in Las Vegas, the Reynolds Foundation is one of the largest private foundations in the United States.  For more information, visit

About the National Constitution Center

The National Constitution Center, located at 525 Arch St. on Philadelphia's Independence Mall, is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing public understanding of the U.S. Constitution and the ideas and values it represents.  The Center serves as a museum, an education center, and a forum for debate on constitutional issues.  The museum dramatically tells the story of the Constitution from Revolutionary times to the present through more than 100 interactive, multimedia exhibits, film, photographs, text, sculpture and artifacts, and features a powerful, award-winning theatrical performance, "Freedom Rising."  The Center also houses the Annenberg Center for Education and Outreach, which serves as the hub for national constitutional education.  Also, as a nonpartisan forum for constitutional discourse, the Center presents – without endorsement – programs that contain diverse viewpoints on a broad range of issues.  For more information, call 215.409.6700 or visit  

SOURCE National Constitution Center