The N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh announces that it will host the traveling exhibition Discover the Real George Washington: New Views From Mount Vernon during its national tour. Approximately 100 original objects associated with George Washington — including the only surviving complete set of his famous dentures — will be on view in this exhibition opening Friday, Sept. 10, and running through Jan. 21, 2011, in Raleigh. The N.C. Museum of History is the only venue in the Southeast on the exhibition’s tour.
“We are very excited to have been selected as one of only nine locations in the United States to receive this outstanding exhibition on the father of our country,” emphasized Ken Howard, Director of the N.C. Museum of History. “This is a great opportunity to learn what a truly unique individual he was.”
Discover the Real George Washington goes beyond the iconic image on the dollar bill to reveal 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 in this exhibition. Life-size figures of Washington developed through a cutting-edge forensic investigation, engaging videos, intricate three-dimensional architectural models, and interactive displays will enhance the visitor experience, and a dedicated Web site (DiscoverGeorgeWashington.org) and extensive educational programming provide additional learning opportunities.
“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, Executive Director 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 is presented in 11 sections, ranging from Washington’s youth to his final days. In addition to his dentures, paintings, books, and maps are artifacts, such as surveying equipment, Revolutionary War armaments, tools used by enslaved individuals, and presidential table settings. Mrs. Washington is represented by original jewelry, pieces of her china, silver, glassware, and reproductions of her gold wedding dress and purple satin slippers.
The three life-size models of George Washington were assembled from a two-year forensic study where computer scientists, art historians, 18th-century garment experts, and a forensic scientist used technology and research from primary sources to measure and analyze portraits, sculpture, and Washington’s dentures and clothing. The project employed proprietary age-progression and age-regression techniques to create three depictions of Washington as a teenaged surveyor, as commander-in-chief atop a white horse, and as the first president taking the oath of office. These lifelike wax figures, with real human hair that was implanted one strand at a time, are embedded in realistic settings — one even with animation — that re-create scenes in the woodsy Ohio Valley territory, in wintry Valley Forge, and on the balcony of Federal Hall.
The fascinating process of creating the figures is shown in a video by The History Channel, which also produced five other videos in the exhibition on religion, espionage, slavery, Washington’s dentures, and his state-of-the-art gristmill.
A full-size, functional replica of Washington’s pew at Pohick Church and detailed models of Fort Necessity and Washington’s Mansion and estate, gristmill, and innovative 16-sided treading barn bring large structures to the exhibition in a scalable manner, while computer touch screens encourage interactivity.
Discover the Real George Washington 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 exhibition was designed by MFM Design Inc. and fabricated by Explus Inc. The forensic figures of George Washington were created by StudioEIS.
Ticket and Group Tour Information
Admission is free for ages 18 and under. The fee is $10 for ages 19 and up; $8 for senior citizens, active military personnel and students with an ID. Tickets will be sold in the Museum Shop. Admission is free to Associates members.
Registration for group tours will begin Aug. 1. To schedule tours for groups of 10 or more, call the Capital Area Visitor Center at 919-807-7950 or toll-free at 866-724-8687. Reservations are required for groups of 10 or more.
About the N.C. Museum of History
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 ncmuseumofhistory.org 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, www.ncculture.com.
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, access www.MountVernon.org.
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 DWReynolds.org.