Day 2 – Washington’s Influential Documents and Experiences

Waking up on Day 2, I was in a much better place mentally.  There is something therapeutic about getting a good night’s sleep and a hot shower that makes the world a little better.  The only thing that threatened to bring down the day was the constant threat of rain.  None the less, we walked over to the Library building to begin our day.

We started out with a lecture on the Magna Carta and its effects on the Constitution by  Robert Pallitto.  It was a great day because I think the Magna Carta is very difficult to teach because it’s difficult to shoehorn in.  We all know if plays a role in the principles of the Constitution, but how to do it effectively is a challenge.  He did a great job of making both the Magna Carta and the Constitution in bitesized pieces and then arranged them in a way they made sense.

From there we proceeded to my current favorite thing we’ve done, we headed off to the working whiskey distillery and gristmill on the Mt. Vernon property.  We got to talk with the master distiller as well as watch the gristmill in action.  It was a fantastic experience and according to the staff a really big surprise to do both.

When we returned to the library, we had a couple of application sessions about the Declaration of Independence as well as Project Based Learning in the classroom.  These presenters did a great job showing some practical application steps and how we could use things like the Texas Declaration of Independence to compare with the US Constitution.

After lunch, we toured the actual library on site.  We walked into their special collections rooms and got to see a number of vary rare books, including some owned by George Washington.  While the library is small compared to most public libraries, I was in awe of the amount of material at your disposal about Mt. Vernon and the Washington family.  We followed the tour with an application session about pictures of Washington and their transition throughout the years.

In the afternoon we had a lecture and application session about Washington’s thoughts and practice of government.  It was a fantastic look at how the (arguably) most important man on the planet at the time thought about government as well as his effect on the brand new government.  We transitioned to a tour of the grounds of Mt. Vernon with the lead horticulturist.  He brought huge amounts of insight about the gardens and layout of the mansion…and there may have been adult beverages shared by him as well.

We finished the evening at the Mt. Vernon Inn Restaurant talking with an actor portraying Tobias Leer, George Washington’s secretary and tutor of his children.  It was a fantastic day and I enjoyed every moment of it.

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