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Lifelike Washington Figures Based on Forensic Research

Three life-size figures of Washington, developed through a cutting-edge forensic investigation, are among the highlights in Discover the Real George Washington: New Views From Mount Vernon, opening Friday, Sept. 10, at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh. The figures are based on a two-year forensic study in which 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 the depictions of Washington at three stages of his life: at age 19 as a young surveyor, at age 45 as commander in chief, and at age 57 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. The forensic figures of Washington were created by StudioEIS, based in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Discover the Real George Washington was organized by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association and funded by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. The exhibition will run through Jan. 21, 2011. For ticket information, go to ncmuseumofhistory.org or call 919-807-7900.

Related Program: Putting a Face on the First President

Hear how Jeffrey Schwartz, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh, and his team used computer imaging and forensic techniques to help create the life-size statues of our nation’s first president in Discover the Real George Washington. Schwartz will present the program Putting a Face on the First President on Sunday, Oct. 3, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. To register, call 919-807-7992 by Friday, Oct. 1. A reception follows the program.

For information about the Museum of History, call 919-807-7900 or go to ncmuseumofhistory.org or Facebook®.

North Carolina Museum of History: The exhibition includes three life-size models depicting Washington as a teenaged surveyor, as commander-in-chief at age 45 (shown above), and as the nation’s first president taking the oath of office. Courtesy of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association

The exhibition includes three life-size models depicting Washington as a teenaged surveyor, as commander-in-chief at age 45 (shown above), and as the nation’s first president taking the oath of office. Courtesy of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association

PROGRAMS AND LECTURE SERIES COMPLEMENT EXHIBITION

In conjunction with Discover the Real George Washington: New Views From Mount Vernon, the N.C. Museum of History offers programs for all ages. Unless otherwise noted, all museum programs are free.

Children can enjoy the fun, hands-on activities in the museum lobby. They can get a firsthand look at a soldier’s life during the American Revolution by climbing into a military wedge tent, trying on period clothing, and more! The museum’s Colonial Discovery Room features interactive activities about life in backcountry North Carolina during the 18th century. Hours may vary for the Colonial Discovery Room.

The George Washington Lecture Series, sponsored by the Museum of History Associates, begins Wednesday, Sept. 22. The series will feature speakers from Mount Vernon and North Carolina. The Opening Gala, hosted by the Associates, on Thursday, Sept. 16, will be a once-in-a-lifetime event.

Take advantage of these offerings at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh. Discover the Real George Washington was organized by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association and funded by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.

PROGRAMS

*Make It, Take It: Paper Pockets

Saturday, Sept. 18

1-3 p.m. (drop-in program)

Are your pockets sewn into your clothes? They wouldn’t have been in the 1700s! Color and assemble a paper pocket, then learn about colonial life in Discover the Real George Washington.

From Head to Toe: Clothing in 18th-Century North Carolina

Sunday, Sept. 19, 3-4 p.m.

To register, call 919-807-7992.

Louise Benner, Curator of Costume and Textiles

From silks to homespun, colonial clothing reflected the wearer’s social status and occupation. Join Benner for an illustrated talk highlighting fashions of the period.

*Family Day: Colonial North Carolina

Saturday, Sept. 25

11 a.m.-4 p.m.

One of the original 13 colonies, North Carolina has a rich history. Get to know the 1700s during this large, fun-filled educational event.

  • Tour Discover the Real George Washington free of charge.
  • Watch craftspeople at work and make your own sample crafts to take home.
  • Meet Revolutionary War soldiers and see the gear they carried into battle.
  • Churn butter, grind corn, and then taste the fruits of your labor.
  • Listen to stories from backcountry Carolina.
  • Practice writing with a quill pen.
  • Answer colonial trivia to win a prize.
  • For more information, call Rachel Dickens at 919-807-7969.

*Artists at Work: Colonial Crafts and Trades

Saturday, Sept. 25, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. (drop-in program both days)

Sunday, Sept. 26, 1-3 p.m.

See members of the Sixth North Carolina Regiment re-enactment group demonstrate carding and spinning, straw hat making, bookbinding, and other skills.

First Friday Film: 1776

Friday, Oct. 1

7-9:30 p.m.

Enjoy this rousing musical about the American colonies’ move toward independence. Get $5 adult admission to Discover the Real George Washington from 6 to 9 p.m.!

Putting a Face on the First President

Sunday, Oct. 3

2-3:30 p.m.

To register, call 919-807-7992 by Oct. 1.

Jeffrey Schwartz, Professor of Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh

Hear how Schwartz and his team used computer imaging and forensic techniques to help create the life-size statues of our nation’s first president in Discover the Real George Washington. A reception follows the program.

Gilbert Stuart’s famous portrait of George Washington, ca. 1798, is featured in the exhibition. Courtesy of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association

Gilbert Stuart’s famous portrait of George Washington, ca. 1798, is featured in the exhibition. Courtesy of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association

*History Hunters: Washington’s World

Wednesday, Oct. 6

10-11 a.m.

Ages 10-13

To register, call 919-807-7992.

He’s known as the “Father of Our Country,” but what was George Washington like as a kid? What adventures and experiences formed our first president? Come find out!

Hand Sew a Colonial Pocket

Saturday, Oct. 9

10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Age 12 and older

$20 ($15 members); bring a bag lunch.

To register, call 919-807-7988.

See 18th-century sewing tools and clothing from the museum’s collection and sew a pocket using historically accurate reproduction fabrics and patterns. The program is open to beginning and intermediate hand sewers.

The Great Dismal: A Carolinian’s Swamp Memoir

Saturday, Oct. 9

3-4 p.m.

Bland Simpson, Professor of English and Creative Writing, UNC-Chapel Hill

Simpson blends personal experience, oral history, and natural history to create an intriguing portrait of the Great Dismal Swamp and its people. A book signing will follow the program.

History à la Carte: Carolina Backcountry at War

Wednesday, Oct. 13

12:10-1 p.m.

Bring your lunch; beverages provided.

Tom Magnuson, Trading Path Association

Some of the most remarkable social, political, and military events in American history occurred in North Carolina between 1761 and 1781. Magnuson will address how these events impacted our state.

* marks programs of interest to children or families

NC Museum of History: Visitors can see the only surviving complete set of George Washington’s dentures, ca. 1790-1799. Courtesy of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association

Visitors can see the only surviving complete set of George Washington’s dentures, ca. 1790-1799. Courtesy of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association

EXHIBITION OPENING GALA

Washington Opening Gala

Thursday, Sept. 16

7-11 p.m.

To purchase tickets, call 919-807-7849 or buy online at ncmuseumassoc.com.

Join this black-tie celebration to welcome Discover the Real George Washington. Colonial officers on horseback will wait outside the Museum of History for the arrival of the “official” President Washington and the First Lady, who are making a special appearance from Mount Vernon Estates & Gardens. Uniformed footmen will guide gala attendees into the museum to greet the Washingtons and Eve and Sherwood Smith, honorary chairs of this event hosted by the Museum Associates. Major funding for the gala is provided by Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.

This once-in-a-lifetime evening includes cocktails, period dancing and music, and a seated dinner. Each floor of the museum will be transformed for the occasion. Walk through the manicured gardens of Mount Vernon on the first floor, enjoy a private VIP lounge with a colonial flair on the second floor, and dine in the formal dining room on the third floor.

GEORGE WASHINGTON LECTURE SERIES

The Museum of History Associates is sponsoring eight lectures throughout the run of Discover the Real George Washington. The lectures begin at 7 p.m., with the exhibition remaining open until 9 p.m. The exhibition is made possible by the generous support of The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.

Tickets cost $12 for each lecture, which includes discounted admission to the exhibition. The lectures and the exhibition will be free for Associates members.

For reservations, please call 919-807-7847.

Washington’s Southern Tour

Wednesday, Sept. 22

Hear Raleigh’s own Warren Bingham, an expert on Washington’s visits to North Carolina, speak on where Washington really did sleep.

George Washington and the Federal Court

Thursday, Sept. 30

Willis Whichard, former N.C. Supreme Court justice and former dean of the Campbell Law School, will look at Washington’s relationship with James Iredell and the federal court. Iredell, a North Carolinian, was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by Washington.

The Gardens at Mount Vernon

Thursday, Oct. 28

Dean Norton, director of horticulture at Mount Vernon, will speak on the gardens’ landscape design and unusual plants, and the innovative agricultural techniques employed by Washington.

Washington’s Whiskey

Thursday, Nov. 4

Dennis Pogue, Vice President of Preservation at Mount Vernon, will present this lecture.

Myths and Trivia About Washington

Thursday, Nov. 18

Laura Simo, Associate Curator at Mount Vernon, will present this lecture.

Washington’s Will

Thursday, Jan. 6

Jill DeWitt, Assistant Curator of Mount Vernon, will present this lecture.

The Art of Commemoration

Thursday, Jan. 13

Jennifer Van Horn, Assistant Curator at Mount Vernon, will present this lecture.

Martha Washington and the Decorative Arts

Thursday, Jan. 20

Susan Schoelwer, Curator at Mount Vernon, will present this lecture.

NC Museum of History: This seed pearl pin belonged to Martha Washington. Courtesy of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association

This seed pearl pin belonged to Martha Washington. Courtesy of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association

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, 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 www.ncculture.com.

About Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens

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.

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