Mount Vernon in Miniature is a scaled down replica of the first president’s home that has traveled around the country and is now at home at the Ford Orientation Center located on the grounds of the Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens in Mount Vernon, Virginia. The Center gets its name from its benefactor the Ford Motor Company Fund, which is the philanthropic branch of the the company.
The Mount Vernon mini mansion was scrupulously built and furnished at the 1:12 scale to be a working model of the president’s home as it looked in 1799, the year Washington died. More than one million visitors come to see the dollhouse every year. The Mount Vernon miniature was the concept of Stan Ohman, who had worked as a bridge engineer and a carpenter. He used blueprints of the real Mount Vernon estate to make the miniature exactly to scale. The house was five years in the making and in addition to Ohman, a group of dedicated miniaturists and artisans primarily from Washington State were involved in the creation of the home. Mount Vernon in Miniature was originally given as a gift to the Mount Vernon Ladies Association and was first shown to the public in 1998.
Mount Vernon in Miniature traveled to five cities and was housed for a time at the Harry
S. Truman Library and Museum in Independence, Missouri and three other presidential libraries, the Toy and Miniature Museum of Kansas City, and the National Building Museum before coming to its permanent location in Mount Vernon.
The twenty two room house has a value of more than $500,000 and weighs in at 1100 pounds and is ten feet long and six feet wide and eight feet tall. The windows and doors of the Mount Vernon in Miniature open and close, the doorknobs turn, drawers and latches work, and it has roof that opens up to a third floor and there are two walls that raise up and down. The furnishings are finely detailed
reproductions of the actual furniture, paintings and even books and china that are found in George Washington’s home. To get the delicate details on some of the porcelain china, the artisans reportedly used a mouse whisker to paint the minute designs. The roof of the home is made up of 16,000 cedar shingles and the house boasts 13 working fireplaces. Some of the most famous pieces in the dollhouse include a working replica of Nelly Custis’s harpsichord which cost more than $4,000 to recreate. The working telescope in Washington’s study is another marvel.
The Mount Vernon in Miniature remains a fitting tribute to the nation’s first president and has become a much loved gift to the nation.