NEW DETAILS:

Ohio prison guard suffers ‘several dozen’ stab wounds in inmate attack, official says

Mount Vernon visitors get a chance to 'Be Washington,' the decision-maker


Do you have what it takes to be a leader like George Washington? Two new programs at Mount Vernon might help you find out. 

"Be Washington," opening February 12, combines 18th-century reenactments with 21st-century technology as participants test their ability to make split-second decisions, tackling four challenges faced by Washington during the Revolutionary War and into his presidency - battle strategies, military pay, America's neutrality, and a tax revolt.  

Recently, local home-schoolers ages 8 to 16 previewed "Be Washington." Beyond the "who, when and where" of history, they learned the "why" in Washington's decision-making process.  

As events unfold on a 30-foot screen, students at touch-screen consoles choose which advisers to consult and rate their advice. As Mark Lyons, 13, of Alexandria, Virginia, was about to make his decision, new information in the form of dispatches arrived.  

"Oh, those dispatches! They changed everything," Mark said. "They showed how the story evolved and the stress that must have been felt."  

David Earwood, 9, of Alexandria, said, "I like all the different ways that you get information to help you decide - the big screen story, the advisers and the dispatches made it easier for me to understand and remember the information."  

At the end of each 17-minute segment, students have 10 seconds to choose one of three actions to take. Then, they compare their choices to what George Washington did and to what other kids in the group chose.  

"I was surprised at how hard it was to make a decision that felt 100 percent right," said Aurora Dennison, 11, of Silver Spring, Maryland. "Getting new information almost made it harder to decide."  

Allie Fiul, 14, of Springfield,Virginia, said, "It makes you understand that you can't just act on your own opinions - you need to listen to others."  

"I was expecting just another museum exhibit and was so excited to see the touch screens!" said Alex Geyer, 9, of Alexandria, who noticed other special flourishes. "The way the windows change color was really cool and unexpected. It shows how much detail they put into making it feel dramatic." Lightbulbs in the room also flickered like 18th-century candles.  

Next was the "Revolutionary War 4-D Experience" movie. While learning more about the why of Washington's actions and strategies, snow, wind and fog brush your face. Flashes from cannon and musket firings whiz around the room as your seat rumbles from the barrage of battle.  

Alex said, "The way they show the troops and maps was like they knew exactly what I was thinking next. The snow, the fog and the sound effects make you feel like you're actually there crossing the Delaware" River.  

"Washington was confronted by some truly challenging crises, and he used the input of trusted advisers and others to reach the best decisions," said Rob Shenk, who's in charge of Mount Vernon's visitor engagement. "He sought out and weighed differing viewpoints so that all sides could be fully considered. It's our hope that people will be inspired to 'Be Washington' ... or to be better leaders in whatever capacity available."  

---  

IF YOU GO  

What: "Be Washington" and "Revolutionary War 4-D Experience."  

Where: Mount Vernon's education center, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon, Virginia. 

When: "Be Washington" opens Feb. 12. The Revolutionary War 4-D movie is open. Programs will run on a loop during regular Mount Vernon hours, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily through March.  

How much: Included in admission price. $12 ages 6 to 11, $20 adults, age 5 and younger free. (Tickets to visit through this Sunday are half-price because the mansion is closed.)  

For ages: 8 and older.  

For more information:mountvernon.org.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Travel

Florida beach named nation's best in TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice awards
Florida beach named nation's best in TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice awards

A Florida beach has been named the nation's best in TripAdvisor's annual Travelers' Choice awards. The travel website announced Tuesday that Clearwater Beach was the best in the U.S. in 2018, climbing from No. 4 in 2017. The beach also topped the national list in 2016.  >> Read more trending news  Meanwhile, Grace Bay in Providenciales...
Viking joins Miami’s fleet of ocean-going cruise ships
Viking joins Miami’s fleet of ocean-going cruise ships

Typically, it’s the biggest cruise ships that grab the headlines, the ones that could carry the entire population of a small city, have more restaurants than Ocean Drive, and claim the most thrilling recreational amenities at sea. But a smaller class of ships is becoming popular, vessels that have a more intimate feel, can get into smaller harbors...
Denali National Park welcomes its first, and last, luxury hotel

One of the most luxurious lodges in Alaska, and one of the most remote anywhere, has just opened on a rocky glacier outcropping, or nunatak, smack in the middle of Denali National Park. From its wraparound windows, the resort's guests-a maximum of 10 at any given time-can watch the aurora borealis dance around the sky or survey an endless horizon of...
Travel dilemmas: Vietnamese currency tips

Question: I will be traveling to Vietnam. Am I legally permitted to bring Vietnamese currency into Vietnam from the United States?  —Joe Joffino, Torrance, Calif.   Answer: You may take Vietnamese currency into Vietnam from the U.S. and vice versa.   Just for background: The dong is the national currency issued by the...
Switzerland-Italy train ride traverses different worlds
Switzerland-Italy train ride traverses different worlds

It takes 27 minutes to pass through the Gotthard Base Tunnel. It’s something of a dreamlike experience: you’re on the train hurtling through lush Swiss scenery — trackside haystacks and farmhouses, small villages with a single towering steeple, distant mist-crowned mountains, and dramatic landscape unfolding in more shades of green...
More Stories