Groundbreaking held for George Washington’s presidential library at Mount Vernon

Our first president is finally getting his own library. The building, to be located on the grounds of his historic Mount Vernon estate, a short drive from DC, will open in 2013.

Destined to be a George Washington “think tank,” the 45,000 square foot National Library is expected cost $47 million.

The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington will be located on a 15 acre site within walking distance of Washington’s home. It will house more than 15,000 items including 2,500 rare 18th and 19th century books, 87 books that were owned by Washington, and 500 letters, ledgers, and account books that bear George Washington’s writing or signature

“We expect to create the world’s intellectual headquarters for everything to do with George Washington,” said Mount Vernon’s president, James Rees. “By encouraging new research, aggressively reaching out to families across the nation, and hosting conferences that stress Washington’s leadership as the gold standard, we hope to touch the hearts and minds of each new generation.”

A modest residence for visiting scholars, authors and interns will be constructed next to the National Library.

The larger education wing on the east side will provide spaces for seminars, lectures and training programs on George Washington’s life, times and remarkable leadership. Offices in the west wing and on the second floor will supply work spaces for visiting scholars and staff members.

A picturesque drive to the southern end of the scenic George Washington Memorial Parkway, Mount Vernon is located just 16 miles from the nation’s capital. The early spring is a pleasant time to visit Washington’s home, as the weather is often warm enough to stroll about the extensive grounds.