"No estate in America is more pleasantly situated than this," declared Washington, speaking of his eight-thousand acre home, Mount Vernon. Mount Vernon has changed very little over the last 200 years, except now you can tour it from the comfort of your home computer. If you begin at Meet George Washington, you will be guided through the entire web site: an interactive quiz, a Washington biography, the Mount Vernon tour, and an essay on Washington and slavery. This outstanding resource includes lesson plans for teachers.
The Papers of George Washington was established in 1969 to compile and publish a complete edition of Washington's correspondence. There are 135,000 Washington-related documents held in photographic form in the project's offices. This website covers highlights from the project and includes a few excerpts such as his farewell address and Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789. Be sure to peruse the Educational Resources which include two slide shows, a "mini-lesson", and a George Washington webquest.
"Why should young Americans who care about their country and aspire to do something worthwhile with their lives be interested in the greatness of George Washington? For at least two reasons: First, although knowing what is worthwhile and what is possible is essential to living a good life and doing some good for our country, we are not born knowing these things." Explore Washington's great legacy with a biography, timeline, gallery of primary documents, and half-dozen of Washington's letters read by Charlton Heston.
Mark Pachter, curator of the National Portrait Gallery, calls Gilbert Stuart's 1796 full-length portrait of George Washington "probably the most important visual document from the founding of our country." The interactive portrait feature allows you to explore the painting from three different perspectives: symbolically, biographically, and artistically. This Smithsonian site is my pick of the week because of its unique approach and fabulous design. Don't let the portrait take all your time though, because the rest of the site (biography, games, teacher guide) is just as wonderful.
As part of its series on American Presidents, the White House web site presents George and Martha Washington. As this is the only one of this week's sites that features Martha, I was curious to learn more about her. The oldest daughter of John and Frances Dandridge, she was born June 2, 1731 on a plantation near Williamsburg. As was typical for a girl, Martha's education consisted mostly of domestic and social skills. Although she and her husband closely guarded their privacy, in one of her surviving letters she confided to a niece that she did not enjoy her role as First Lady.