George Washington
George Washington, A National Treasure
The Portrait Kids Washington's Life Exhibition Calendar
Portrait for Kids
The Patriot Papers
Teacher Guide
Family Guide
Experience... is the best rule to walk by. --George Washington to John Parke Curtis, West Point, August 24, 1779

* SPRING 2003, Seattle
WINTER 2003, Los Angeles:
“George Washington: A National Treasure” on Tour
Students Make a Wish for the United States
A Blast From the Past
Not Our Finest Hour
Death Be Not Proud
Trippin' Through Time
The Pudding Papers
* FALL 2002, Las Vegas
* WINTER 2002, Promotional

The Patriot Papers
print-friendly version MIDDLE SCHOOL, WINTER 2003, LOS ANGELES

George Washington (Lansdowne portrait) by Gilbert Stuart, oil on canvas, 1796

National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution acquired Gilbert Stuart's 1796 Lansdowne portrait of George Washington in 2001 as a gift to the nation through the generosity of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.

“George Washington: A Nationial Treasure” creates excitement in Houston, Las Vegas, and Los Anageles
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Tours Exhibition

In the spring of 1789, citizens crowded the New York shoreline, anxiously awaiting the arrival of their first President, George Washington. In a letter to his wife, Elias Boudinot captured the excitement:

New York, 24 April 1789
If it was in my Power, I could wish to give you an adequate account of the Proceedings of the Citizens of this Metropolis on the approach and the Reception of our President George Washington when he arrived here yesterday....The Streets were lined with the Inhabitants as thick as the People could stand—Men, Women & Children—Nay I may venture to say Tens of Thousands....Heads standing as thick as Ears of Corn before the Harvest when their [sic] stood up about 20 gentlemen & Ladies & with most excellent voices sang an elegant
Ode prepared for the purpose to the tune of God Save the King, welcoming their great Chief to the seat of Government—At the conclusion we gave them our Hatts [sic] and then they with the surrounding boats gave us their Cheers.

More than two hundred years later, cities once again await the arrival of George Washington. And once again the mood is festive as museums across the country welcome the National Portrait Gallery 's exhibition "George Washington: A National Treasure." Students, many visiting museums for the first time, have crowded the galleries in Las Vegas and Houston to see this prized image of the father of our country on tour for the first time in history. Made possible through the generosity of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, the exhibition opened at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas, on February 15,2002,continued on to the Las Vegas Art Museum in Nevada, and opened November 7 at the Los Angeles County Art Museum (LACMA)in California. At the tour 's conclusion, the portrait will return to its permanent home in the Smithsonian 's National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Painted in 1796 by artist Gilbert Stuart, the portrait was commissioned by Senator and Mrs. Bingham of Philadelphia as a gift for the British Marquis of Lansdowne, who sympathized with colonial grievances before the Revolutionary War. Thus, it is often referred to One year after the tragedy of September 11,2001, Americans have paused to remember and reflect. The Wall of Expression that surrounds the Old Patent Office Building in Washington, D.C., still stands as a memorial to those who sacrificed, a tribute to those who served, and an expression of hope for the future. And across the country at the Las Vegas Art Museum, students place their wishes for America on the "Wish Tree." "I wish that everyone would be happy." "I wish that the Twin Towers would never have fallen." "I wish there would be no poor people and everyone would have enough to eat." "I wish everyone in the world would be free like us." "I wish that no one would be dead." "I wish Americans would feel safe. "The wishes keep coming. And from even the youngest participants, we sense a deep concern for the nation and its people. Perhaps we have all begun to care for one another. as the "Lansdowne " portrait. One of the most important visual documents of the founding of our nation, its historical and cultural significance has been compared to that of the Liberty Bell and the Declaration of Independence.

At the Las Vegas Art Museum, home to the portrait for the last 18 weeks, Lansdowne Tour Coordinator Cynthia Dunn reports that 15,000 students have visited "George " through school tours, and now wear lapel stickers claiming "I saw the President today." Students in Lexington, South Carolina, hosted the first George Washington State Education Day. Their "commitment to country " shows in everything from their Veterans Day ceremony to a salute to New York's firefighters. And in Pasadena, Texas, kids even drew their own versions of the portrait.

Join the tour in Los Angeles November 8, 2002 through March 9, 2002 and let LACMA introduce you to this treasured portrait saved from the auction block for the American people, and to this true patriot, a man who shaped the American presidency and guided the country through the "fragile experiment" of democracy.


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