National Geographic : 1953 Nov
682 Kathleen Revis Mount Vernon Always Rates a Salute from U. S. Navy Vessels Passing by Day Hospitalized veterans were President Eisenhower's guests aboard the White House yacht Williamsburg before she was decommissioned June 30 (page 651). Her skipper, Comdr. Julian T. Burke, Jr., stands on the left. visitors would touch anything. If anyone tried, the others would stop him." Yet the crowds themselves could be a haz ard. Washington's house has been given inner steel supports to withstand the marching feet of a million visitors a year. The floors where these armies pass are protected by a special covering, replaced as it wears out. The funds for all these maintenance chores and supplies come from entrance fees, which are waived in the cases of children under 12, pre-college school groups, and uniformed mem bers of the armed services. No salaries are paid except to Mount Ver non's actual working staff. Association mem bers (including the regent, elected from the ranks every five years) serve for life without pay. Ladies Celebrate 100th Birthday This October the Ladies came again from all over the country for their annual adminis trative meeting at Mount Vernon. But some thing new had been added for 1953-a year long exhibit commemorating the 100th anni versary of the whole project. It is built around the association's founder and relics of her early days of doubt and struggle. From an old-fashioned gilt frame Ann Cun ningham's dark, intense face broods over the exhibit. It is a reminder of what one woman's daring and imagination could accomplish. But even Miss Cunningham's most soaring hopes could never have pictured what hap pened here last year on Washington's Birthday. Early in the morning a dozen or more men poured out of the power and trans mitter trucks that drew up to the old mansion. Adjusting reflectors and the complex mecha nisms of giant cameras, they went about their assignment of showing Mount Vernon to a 20th-century television audience. It wasn't as incongruous as it looked. If the charm, dignity, and order of this 18th century home have something to offer the har ried 20th century, the modern age in return provides the most advanced mechanical de vices to permit the maximum number of peo ple to view it. "Let them see," Ann Cunningham wrote prophetically 79 years ago, "that, though we slay our forests, remove our dead, pull down our churches, remove from home to home, till the hearthstone seems to have no resting place in America, let them see that we know how to care for the home of our hero."