Last Monday I joined the field school students on a trip to George Washington’s Mount Vernon in northern Virginia. I have visited Mount Vernon several times over the past year, and each time I go I am reminded of why I love it. The grounds are beautiful, the house tour is always different, and the education center offers a wonderfully dynamic alternative to the typical museum experience.
We began the day by receiving a tour of the lab from Director of Archaeology Dr. Esther White, who very generously took time from her day to speak with us. I really enjoyed seeing all of the artifacts they had on display and in their storage facility, but my favorite part of the tour was the room in which they were repairing one of the windows from the estate. Something about seeing this small piece of the house, which came from the “new room” and clearly showed evidence of old repairs, was incredibly fascinating to me! After our tour of the lab, we headed out to the mansion to see their current excavation.
We were led by Deputy Director of Archaeology Eleanor Breen, and met by a familiar face in the field – Karen Price, our field school TA from Ferry Farm last year! She is now the Historic Preservation Laboratory Manager at Mount Vernon. They explained what they were looking for and discussed their methods and findings with us, which was very interesting in contrast to what we are doing at Ferry Farm. They are currently looking for evidence of a kitchen that existed on the property when Lawrence Washington – George’s older half-brother – lived there. It was very cool to hear about their work at Mount Vernon, and it was great to see Karen, who was incredibly kind and helpful, as usual!
After that we took some time to walk the grounds and explore the education center, then we purchased our souvenirs and headed home! I had a great day at Mount Vernon, and I can’t wait until my next trip to the site!