INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – The Truman Library is now home to our first president’s mansion as it hosts the traveling Mount Vernon in Miniature exhibition through September 23.
Since 1998, this miniature mansion (at a one-twelfth scale), created by a group of miniaturists, artisans, and “George enthusiasts,” has traveled throughout the United States allowing visitors an in-depth and detailed look at George Washington’s home without requiring a visit to Virginia.
The door knobs turn, the latches latch, the windows open and close, the candles and fireplaces light, the door knocker knocks, and the drawers open.
Valued at over $500,000 and in a scale of one inch to one foot, everything is recreated to look exactly as it did at the original Mount Vernon during George Washington’s lifetime.
Approximately 25 percent of the furnishings in the Mount Vernon Mansion in Virginia belonged to the Washington family; when original pieces are not available, comparable items from the 18th century are placed in room settings.
The mini-mansion is not restricted to the use of authentic period pieces – the artisans can reproduce objects that were at Mount Vernon when Washington lived there, but no longer survive today.
The miniature’s master architect, Stan Ohman of Washington state, worked over 4,500 hours over five years to create the 22-room house complete with 16,000 shingles, 58 windows, and eight exterior and 36 interior doors – all with workable parts.
The miniature also has state-of-the-art mechanical features designed to lower two sides and raise the roof, so visitors can truly appreciate the beauty of the interior.
Sparing no detail. Mount Vernon in Miniature contains hundreds of objects including oil paintings, china, tables and chairs, and books. The furnishings in each room were created by the world’s best artisans.
The ingrain rug, matching the one in Mount Vernon’s small dining room took over 500 hours of needlepoint in a 24 stitch-count.
The upholstery for the 24 chairs in the large dining room was also a challenge. Working from a photograph of the silk and horsehair chair cover, the artisan traced the pattern and wove the yellow fabric with a circular blue design.
After five years of labor, the Mount Vernon in Miniature was donated by the People of Washington to the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association (the private, nonprofit board that maintains George Washington’s Mount Vernon home).
Other exhibit stops. After its stay at the Truman Library, residents of Hyde Park, N.Y., can visit the Mount Vernon in Miniature at the FDR Library from October 2001 through March 2002.
It will travel to the Gerald Ford Library in Grand Rapids, Mich. for the remainder of 2002.
The Truman Presidential Museum and Library is located at U.S. 24 Highway and Delaware Street in Independence, Missouri.
Hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. and open until 9 p.m. on Thursdays.
Learn more. For more information call 800-833-1225 or visit www.trumanlibrary.org.