History Channel Search for George Washingtonv

History Channel Search for George Washingtonv

Anyone wishing to get a head start on the George Washington Birthday celebration and have a fascinating learning experience as well should tune into The History Channel on February 17 at 10 p.m. That's where they will find a program entitled: "Save Our History: The Search for George Washington."

The program, premiered in the theater of the new Ford Orientation Center at Mount Vernon Estate on February 7, takes an in-depth look at the nation's first President from the viewpoint of what did George Washington really look like? No one has really known the answer to that question -- until now.

Countless 18th century paintings, busts and statues of Washington exist in museums across the country. His face graces the one dollar bill that passes through our hands every day. But, do these iconic images offer an accurate glimpse of the real George Washington?

In a two-plus year forensic investigation that concluded last fall a team of historians, scientists, artists, computer programmers, and a forensic anthropologist tracked down an array of Washington artifacts and gathered evidence on his dimensions. They then commenced their scientific recreation.

Using cutting edge technology, they created life-size figures of this Founding Father at three key stages of his life: as the 19-year-old surveyor; the 45 year-old Commander in Chief of the Continental Army; and the 57 year-old first President of the newly established United States.

To fashion a realistic human likeness required hundreds of thousands of precise measurements from head to toe, according those undertaking the research. Since most of the physical evidence that exists of Washington is based on the latter part of his life, the team worked backward, starting with the only life mask taken of Washington.

An imprint made of plaster, this life mask was made at his Mount Vernon plantation by Jean Antoine Houdon, a renowned Parisian artist, in 1785 when Washington was 53. Both the mask and a bust, also made by Houdon, were scanned using laser technology. These scans formed the basis for the recreation of Washington's face and head.

All this research, work, and creativity is the essence of not only the one hour television presentation but also of the life-like figures spread throughout Mount Vernon's new Reynolds Education Center and Museum. The most eye catching of which is the large head of Washington in the museum's entrance area with his eyes fixed on

each visitor's every movement.

"We're delighted to present the premiere of this behind-the-scenes look at the technology and expertise that Mount Vernon employed to create part of their fascinating education center," said Dr. Libby O'Connell, senior vice president, Corporate Outreach and Chief Historian, The History Channel. Cox Communications partnered with The History Channel for the premier showing at Mount Vernon Estate.

"The History Channel has played a vital role in bringing George Washington to life through a series of dynamic programs. Both at Mount Vernon and in living rooms across the country, they have invigorated the image of America's first man of action," said James Rees, executive director, Mount Vernon Estate.