Mount Vernon Archaeological Field School

This summer, George Washington’s Mount Vernon will be offering an archaeological field school class in conjunction with the University of Maryland’s Historic Preservation graduate program.   This is a very exciting opportunity for anyone passionate about archaeology, and the archaeologists at Mount Vernon have specifically invited preservation students from NOVA to apply.  The text of the announcement for the program is as follows:

“George Washington’s Mount Vernon, located near Washington, DC, is the historic site dedicated to interpreting the life of the first president within the context of his home and plantation. Under the management of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association (MVLA), the property is preserved and restored to reflect the 18th‐century home of the Washington family and the enslaved community. In 2013, the Historic Preservation and Collections Department will embark on a multi‐year project to explore the evolution of the homelot and the multiple generations of outbuildings flanking the Mansion’s west front beginning with an interdisciplinary study of the kitchen. The inaugural year of the Mount Vernon / University of Maryland (UMD) Field School in Historic Preservation will investigate the archaeological, architectural, and interpretive histories of the Washington family’s kitchen to create an integrated approach to its study, documentation, and public presentation while offering a unique educational opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students.

This course will instruct students in historic preservation method and theory. Students will learn archaeological and architectural field methodology, laboratory procedures, and current themes in historical archaeology and historical preservation. Via readings, discussions, and field trips, students will delve into three prominent themes of historic house museums – the evolution of the plantation landscape, African American history, and public interpretation – while conducting fieldwork at George Washington’s original Mansion House Farm. They will gain hands‐on, practical experience as they work closely with Mount Vernon’s preservation professionals. Additionally, students will interpret the work to the Estate’s many visitors.

Details. The field school will take place from May 28th through July 3rd. Faculty includes UMD Professor Donald Linebaugh and MVLA staff Eleanor Breen, Luke Pecoraro, and Esther White.  Students earn 6 course credits by attending 6 weeks of classes, 40 hours per week. Check with your institution about transferring credit. Mount Vernon does not offer housing on the property, but staff will work with students to find local accommodations if necessary. Be advised that most of our time will be outdoors doing strenuous work in hot, humid conditions.


  • Undergraduate or graduate with good academic standing who is attending college full time.
  • Interest in historical archaeology, historic preservation, museums, and American history.
  • Strong communication skills.
  • Ability to work as part of a team.

Application. Applicants should submit a resume, names of two references and cover letter, including a statement detailing interest in this program by April 1, 2013.”


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About docampbell

Doug is a historian and educator with more than a decade of experience teaching Western, World, US, and European history at colleges and universities in Virginia and Maryland. His scholarship focuses on national identity, education, and historical memory in Austria during the era of the World Wars, and includes work at the US Archives, the US Library of Congress, the Austrian National Library, and the Austrian State Archive. He has taught at NOVA since 2006 and has been the Historic Preservation Program Head since 2012.