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.

2007 AIA Maryland Design Award Winner

2007 AIA Baltimore Design Award Winner

"At Mount Vernon, New Centers Offer Lessons in Harmony" – An article by Roger K. Lewis, The Washington Post, October 28, 2006

"[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


  • Seven permanent and changing museum galleries
  • Fourteen education center galleries
  • Three theaters, two distance-learning classrooms
  • Loading dock, exhibit preparation spaces