Last weekend the Ashbrook Center hosted a group of teachers from across the country at Mount Vernon for an in-depth discussion of George Washington’s role as president. Topics included his actions that helped to shape the office itself and the Cabinet, his handling of the growing split between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, and his management of foreign affairs. These discussion sessions on Saturday and Sunday were all supported by a wide and diverse selection of Washington’s letters and other correspondence.
The weekend began with a reception and dinner on Friday night, May 1st, during which teachers were treated to a visit from Nellie Custis, portrayed by one of the professional historical interpreters at Mount Vernon. Her knowledge of Washington’s granddaughter was encyclopedic, and through her participants were able to learn about what life was like at Mount Vernon for family members, and how Washington was when at home and among family.
Outside of discussion session time, attendees were able to explore the grounds of the estate and spend time with some of the 500 Revolution-era reenactors who were taking part in a massive encampment there over the weekend. Teachers also had the opportunity to take part in a special wreath-laying ceremony at George Washington’s tomb while on a guided tour of the mansion and grounds, and watch fireworks over the Potomac on Saturday night.
Check on our schedule of summer programs at TeachingAmericanHistory.org for future professional development opportunities.