Thursday, September 18, 2014

View the Star-Spangled Banner at Mount Vernon

Photo courtesy of the Maryland Historical Society

From our friends at Mount Vernon...

View The Star-Spangled Banner at George Washington's Home

Manuscript on View: October 1-31

George Washington’s Mount Vernon has partnered with the Maryland Historical Society to display Francis Scott Key’s original draft of The Star-Spangled Banner in the Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center in commemoration of the poem’s bicentennial. This special October-long exhibition of the manuscript will be surrounded by panels describing Mount Vernon at time the poem was written during the War of 1812.

A special day of activities focused on the manuscript and its connection to Mount Vernon will take place on Sunday, October 5. Learn more about the surprising connection between George Washington and the melody of our national anthem!

Sunday, October 5
11:00 AM & 2:00 PM: A Musical Tribute Celebrating The Star-Spangled Banner. Early American music expert David Hildebrand performs authentic music of the War of 1812 in the Robert H. and Clarice Smith Auditorium. Hildebrand sings and plays upon period guitar, fretless banjo, and a variety of flutes. Join in sing-alongs like “The Battle of Baltimore,” and hear the real story about the birth of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

10 a.m. & 3 p.m: Special Wreath Laying Ceremony at Washington’s Tomb. Listen to brief remarks about Washington’s legacy and its impact on saving Mount Vernon during the War of 1812. A performance of the Star-Spangled Banner will take place while the wreath is laid at the tomb of George Washington.

Events, programs, and activities are subject to change.

Public Information: 703-780-2000; 703-799-8697 (TDD);

About the Star-Spangled Banner:
On September 14, 1814, Francis Scott Key spent the night on board a ship at Fort McHenry, Maryland, watching as the British bombarded Baltimore. At dawn, he spied the still-waving American flag in the distance, signaling an unlikely victory. Inspired, he penned a poem, “Defense of Fort M’Henry,” which would later become America’s national anthem.

Although Key’s poem was written fifteen years after Washington’s death, the song itself is based on a popular tune that the General likely would have recognized. The melody, called “To Anacreon in Heaven,” or the “Anacreontic Song,” was first heard in London in 1776. Before Key set his famous poem to this familiar tune, it was commonly used in a song called “Adams and Liberty,” which offered a musical defense of John Adams. The song was also re-written in 1793 to carry lyrics supporting the French Revolution.

About Mount Vernon:
Since 1860, over 80 million visitors have made George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens the most popular historic home in America. Through thought-provoking tours, entertaining events, and stimulating educational programs on the Estate and in classrooms across the nation, Mount Vernon strives to preserve George Washington’s place in history as “First in War, First in Peace, and First in the Hearts of His Countrymen.” Mount Vernon is owned and operated by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, America’s oldest national preservation organization, founded in 1853.  A picturesque drive to the southern end of the scenic George Washington Memorial Parkway, Mount Vernon is located just 16 miles from the nation’s capital.

Hours of operation: April-August, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM; March, September, October, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM; November - February, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Regular admission rates: adults, $17; senior citizens, $16; children age 6-11, when accompanied by an adult, $8; and children under age 5, FREE. Admission fees, restaurant and retail proceeds, along with private donations, support the operation and restoration of Mount Vernon.

All activities are included in admission: $18/adult, $9/child, five and under free. Please visit to plan your visit and purchase tickets.