The Fakes, Forgeries, and Frauds of George Washington - Atlas Obscura

Mount Vernon, Virginia

The Fakes, Forgeries, and Frauds of George Washington

Join us at George Washington's Mount Vernon as we enter the world of deception where fraudulent artifacts and signatures elude even expert eyes.

For centuries, George Washington fraudsters have attempted to make a pretty penny off forging bookplates and handwriting of our nation's first president. 

Join us at George Washington's Mount Vernon as we work with the experts at the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington to discover the forged, the fraudulent, and the spurious world of Washington’s words. Can you spot a real Washington signature from a fake?

Attendees will have the opportunity to view and compare side-by-side manuscripts and documents not normally on display from both the man himself and those who pretended to be him. 

Afterward, the exploration of the estate will continue as we will be given a private tour of Washington's mansion and rare access into the basement. Then, attendees will have the chance to explore the estate, education center, and museum themselves, which includes the new interactive "Be Washington" game and recently renovated Revolutionary War 4D Theater.


  • Our meeting point will be outside of the library gate. Further information will be sent to attendees several days prior to the event. 
  • Due to the delicate nature of the artifacts and the library's collections, this adventure is open only to explorers over 10 years of age.
  • Mount Vernon has plenty of free parking on site.
  • This event is somewhat accessible via public transportation. It will require an additional ride from the yellow line's Huntington Station. For additional information about parking, public transportation, and driving directions, please visit Mount Vernon's website.
  • This event will require walking on uneven surfaces. Please wear comfortable shoes.
  • Photography is encouraged in all areas except inside the mansion and in the museum. Flash photography is not allowed in the library.
  • Only bottled water is allowed on the property. Other food and beverages are not allowed. Additionally, bags larger than 16" x 16" x 8" are not allowed and all bags are subject to inspection.
  • This ticket includes access to Mount Vernon for the rest of the day. If you plan on spending the rest of the day at the estate, here are a few tips for your visit.


Contact Matt Blitz at

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Advance tickets only. All sales final. No refunds or exchanges.