George Washington's Mount Vernon Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center

Mount Vernon, VA

Seven permanent and changing museum galleries
Fourteen education center galleries
Three theaters, two distance-learning classrooms
Loading dock, exhibit preparation spaces
Mount Vernon Ladies' Association
Programming, Site Analysis, Fundraising Materials, Cost Estimating, Full Design Services, Construction Administration

As conceived by George Washington, nature is at the center of any visit to Mount Vernon. With much of the new museum and education center tucked beneath a four-acre pasture to minimize impact on the historic site, the design reconciles the challenging objective of achieving underground construction without visitors realizing they are underground.

The entry pavilion, encompassed by nature, has a quiet presence in the landscape. As visitors descend the grand stair in the light-filled space, constant visual connections to the outdoors make the transition to below grade imperceptible. The entrances to the education center and museum exhibits immediately materialize. After viewing them, visitors exit through a glass-enclosed serpentine corridor, curved like the many natural paths present on the estate.

What Our Clients Say

“[GWWO’s] work for the Association over the years has been exceptional. ... The success of the buildings is a testament to the imagination, originality, and thoughtfulness that GWWO brings to the design process.”

—Jim Rees, former Executive Director, George Washington’s Mount Vernon


AIA Maryland Excellence in Design Citation Award 
AIA Baltimore Design Award Honorable Mention

The 36,000-SF education center features multi-media exhibits, three theaters, classrooms, and distance learning facilities focused on providing innovative learning opportunities for school children, families, and researchers. The new 5,000-SF museum showcases objects and artifacts relating to the life and times of George Washington, including a 1,000-SF changing exhibit area.