Food Exhibition at George Washington’s Home

Beginning Feb. 18, Mount Vernon invites visitors to experience a behind-the-scenes look at the Washingtons’ kitchen through the new exhibition, Hoecakes & Hospitality: Cooking with Martha Washington.

On display inside the Donald W. Reynolds Museum, this temporary exhibition celebrates food at Mount Vernon and Martha Washington’s role as early America’s premier hostess.

Following food from the Estate’s field to kitchen to table, visitors will see recipes and cookbooks that Martha treasured, pots that simmered in her kitchen, and fine tablewares that made Mount Vernon’s dining room fit for a president.

For the first time ever, visitors to the Museum will experience scents as they explore the exhibition – smelling cinnamon, coffee, herbs and warm bread. Hoecakes & Hospitality: Cooking with Martha Washington is included with general Estate admission: adults, $15; children ages 6-11, $7; and children under 5 are admitted free.

“Visitors to Mount Vernon have long enjoyed seeing the Washingtons’ dining rooms, kitchen, gardens, orchards, and slave quarters,” said curator Susan P. Schoelwer.

“Unlike the anonymous pots and pans found in most historic houses, this exhibit offers a rare, intimate look at a specific 18th-century kitchen, thanks to the actual pots and pans, kettles and canisters lovingly preserved by several generations of Martha Washington descendants.”

The exhibition takes a closer look at the slaves who worked in Mount Vernon’s kitchen and includes a detailed timeline of the cooks’ 16-hour day. On display will be a reproduction livery coat, waistcoat, and breeches that Mount Vernon’s enslaved waiters wore when serving dinner.

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