June 16, 2011; Mason Neck, VA.
Contact: Washington Foreign Press Center Media Relations Officer Alison T. Mann.
Telephone: 202-504-6362; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
As a precursor to Independence Day celebrations, the Foreign Press Center accompanied journalists from Bulgaria, China, Romania, Serbia, Korea, Russia and Spain on a tour of historic Gunston Hall, home of American patriot George Mason, in Mason Neck, VA. The Director of Gunston Hall gave the journalists a private historic and architectural tour of the building, explaining Mason’s role in American politics in the Revolutionary and Constitutional era. Mason was the author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, and among the first American colonists to call for such fundamental American liberties as religious toleration and freedom of the press. The journalists were surprised to learn that these principles came from Mason, as they are often ascribed to the more well-known Thomas Jefferson. Archeologists working near the home spoke to the journalists about their findings, and costumed volunteers cooked typical colonial era foods in the 1760 kitchen for sampling. The tour enabled foreign media to experience a taste of what life was like in colonial Virginia, as pre-Revolutionary era homes in the Washington, DC area are rare—especially ones as well preserved as Gunston Hall.