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Conservation: Where Science, Art, and History Meet

It may seem obvious that the people who work at Mount Vernon love history, but did you know there is a role for art and science as well? At the beginning of February we blogged about restoring Mount Vernon’s New Room throughout 2013. This project draws on many disciplines, not just history.

In order to return the room to how it appeared in 1799, we rely on the work of architectural conservators as well as historians and curators. Conservators use scientific methods to study the materials used in the room, such as paint and plaster, in order to determine how the room was decorated during Washington’s lifetime. They also wear the hats of 18th century artisans as they apply new paint and other materials where the original is lost or in need of repair.

20130226_NR for GWW_Scaffolding

To document the restoration of the New Room and share what happens on top of the scaffolding, Mount Vernon will be posting updates on our Tumblr blog, The New Room Renewed. Over the past few weeks, the blog has featured interviews with Susan Buck, a conservator and paint analyst, and Maeve Bristow, an architectural paint conservator, who are both working on the New Room.


Head over to The New Room Renewed blog to find out more about how Susan and Maeve got their start as conservators, what their daily work entails, and what they are working on in the New Room:

An Interview with Susan Buck, Conservator and Paint Analyst

Interview with Maeve Bristow, Architectural Paint Conservator

Hannah Freece
Outreach Coordinator, Historic Preservation & Collections Department

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Portraits in Schools

Kids holding George Washington Portrait

Mount Vernon recently invited K-12 schools nationwide to request framed portraits of George Washington to display in a respectful, prominent place.

The response was overwhelming: thousands of schools submitted letters! Along with the portrait, schools received curriculum materials to help explore our first president’s contributions.

Where has George Washington gone back to school? Click here to see!

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