Mount Vernon Press Release

In anticipation of the Bicentennial Celebration of Mount Nebo Lodge in 2011, the apron was loaned to the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria Virginia and to Mount Vernon, where it could be studied and preserved.  As a result of those studies, Mount Vernon issued the following press release and publicly displayed the apron from February to May 2011:


                        January 20, 2011 Press Release - Mount Vernon, VA.

Historic Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington, celebrates the first commander-in-chief’s 279th birthday with three new exciting additions on display beginning February 19 inside the Donald W. Reynolds Education Center. For the first time in over 200 years, one of Washington’s Masonic aprons will return to Mount Vernon! The Education Center provides a new look at Washington’s political and military leadership through two new exhibits, Tools of War and Power Through Union.

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George Washington’s Masonic Apron On view February 19 through May 19. On loan from the Brethren of Mt. Nebo Lodge #91, Ancient Free & Accepted Masons Shepherdstown, West Virginia 

This Masonic apron was made in France and is believed to have been presented to George Washington at Mount Vernon in 1784 by the Marquis de Lafayette, a former general and close friend of Washington’s who was also a Freemason. The apron features compasses and square – central Masonic symbols – together with the crossed flags of the United States and France, all exquisitely embroidered in silk and gold- and silver-wrapped threads with metallic sequins. Washington would have worn this apron when attending Masonic meetings, and Freemasons still wear similar aprons when they meet today. Aprons are the badge of a Freemason. After Martha Washington’s death in 1802, the apron is believed to have been purchased for six dollars from her estate by Thomas Hammond, husband of George Washington’s niece, Mildred Washington. It was given to the Mt. Nebo Lodge in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, prior to Hammond’s death in 1820.  In 1844, it was displayed at an anniversary celebration at the Jefferson County courthouse in nearby Charles Town. It was also worn by the Masonic Grand Master at the cornerstone ceremony of the Washington Monument on July 4, 1848.For more than 100 years, this apron could only be seen within the walls of the Mt. Nebo Lodge, where generations of local Freemasons treasured the fragile relic. Recognizing its significant history, Lodge members brought it to Mount Vernon in 2009 for conservation and exhibition.  According to the current Master of Mt. Nebo Lodge, George Alwin, its display also marks a significant occasion in the Lodge’s history. “In commemoration of the bicentennial of Mt. Nebo Lodge #91 in 2011, we are pleased to loan this national treasure to Mount Vernon,” said Alwin. “It has been our honor to preserve this important piece of Masonic history in our Lodge.”


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