Mount Vernon is part of the Tentative list of United States of America in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.
Mount Vernon is an example of an 18th century American south cultural landscape that is one of the most preserved examples of its time. Mount Vernon was home to the first President of the United States, George Washington, and consists of a Virginia plantation that was reliant on hundreds of enslaved workers. The property includes buildings constructed in the Colonial Revival style, as well as gardens, farms, and paths demonstrating landscape design in the American south.
Map of Mount VernonLoad map
The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.
Mount Vernon simply cannot be separated with the man and its not what the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association want. As stated on the official website, "The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association is an intrepid group of American patriots who have been preserving and promoting George Washington's Mount Vernon for more than 160 years." If the property was managed by the National Park Service, perhaps the narrative of Mount Vernon would be more expansive in scope. The justification of Outstanding Universal Value outlined in the nomination refers to Mount Vernon as an "evolved cultural landscape of the 18th-century American south".
I enjoyed my time at Mount Vernon, but the founding myths of American greatness should not be inscribed on the world heritage list. Sure Washington is a great man, but he is also a deeply flawed one as well. Unfortunately, while the preservationists that operate Mount Vernon have done more to address the issue of slavery, the narrative over generations that has been fed to the American public is one that still tends to justify or dismiss slavery when discussing statesmen like Washington or Jefferson. For example, common dismissals of the slavery issue include "Washington freed his slaves when he died." That is only partially correct. Yet, other relevant questions are rarely pursued, for example: What about the conditions of slaves or the stories about slaves that attempted to escape Mount Vernon? I was certainly curious to know more about the slave burial ground.
I am thankful the Alamo was not inscribed on the world heritage list alone, nor was it inscribed for its association with Texan Independence. That would be another example of myth clouding reality. Inscribing the San Antonio missions for the carefully chosen OUV in the nomination made sense. However, that approach would be hard to replicate here in Mount Vernon. Management of the property is a complication and the fact that the site is wildly popular, particularly with school groups, makes little incentive for Americans to support a 2nd nomination attempt. I struggle to see how Mount Vernon can make it toward inscription under these conditions.
Read more from Kyle Magnuson here.
I visited this site in 1994. It was a very historical and informative site. Artifacts from the home and farm were unique and well preserved. I think the site ties into being a world heritage site because of the documents and artifacts that corresponded to the relationship our 1st president had with the French government. The education I received about that aspect of this country's early years came alive at this visit.
George Washington is a (or The) National Hero in the United States. His estate Mount Vernon now features on the USA's updated Tentative List. "We had to look at the site itself regardless of Washington," says one of the persons responsible for the nomination document.
For the casual visitor it's not easy to get around George Washington and the story of his life. This is a very popular spot for school trips, and there were already plenty of noisy children around when I arrived at 8.30 am on a Monday morning.
Washington bought the estate in 1754 and expanded it in the following years. Visitors are herded through the fairly modest main house. I wouldn't call it tastefully decorated; one of the rooms is even painted bright green. In each room there is a lady present of the Mount Vernon Ladies Association to tell some simple anecdotes to the passing tourists. At the sight of five guest rooms it is noted that the Washingtons received up to 667 visitors staying overnight during the first year he was President!
The interior may not be very luxurious, the man did have a lovely veranda overlooking the broad Potomac River.
If it's not the life and works of George Washington, what element of international significance will make this site into a WHS? Is it the 18th century plantation layout? Or the innovative agricultural techniques used? Surely a walk in the pleasant gardens and a visit to the farm are worth an hour or two. However, many of the current buildings (like the 16-sided barn and the slave cabin) are reconstructions, a fact that will not amuse the advisory bodies or the WHC.
2010 Requested by State Party to not be examined
2008 Added to Tentative List
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