National History Academy: Mount Vernon
July 2, 2018
Today, the National History Academy traveled to Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington. At its peak, Mount Vernon was actually five plantations with almost 8,000 acres. Today, the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association preserves over 500 acres of Washington’s original property. Students observed current archeological efforts and toured the plantation’s many outbuildings including the blacksmith shop, kitchen, and smokehouse. In the Welcome Center’s museum, students utilized an interactive, multi-media experience that allowed them to role play George Washington developing America’s foreign policy during the hostilities between Britain and France. In another exhibit, students learned of late 18th-century medical practices through the reenactor portraying George Washington’s personal physician, Dr. Craik. The highlight of the trip was touring the mansion itself and sitting on the veranda overlooking the Potomac. Throughout the day, students were reminded of Washington’s many contributions, sacrifices, and devotion for our nation. “I have no wish superior to that of promoting the happiness and welfare of the County.” (George Washington, 1793)
After returning to campus, students prepared for Tuesday’s Better Angels’ parliamentary-style debate to promote civil discourse by watching a mock debate put on by the TAs on the East Coast vs. the West Coast.