Dr. Susan Schoelwer

Mount Vernon historian to explore re-discoveries about George Washington

“A Historian’s Work is Never Done: Re-Discovering George Washington” is the focus of a lecture on Thursday, March 19, at 7 p.m. in the Abe and Annie Seibel Foundation Wing, 4015 Avenue Q, Galveston.

Speaker is Dr. Susan Schoelwer, executive director of historic preservation and collections and Robert H. Smith senior curator at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, who will explore “re-discoveries” about George Washington and his life at Mount Vernon.

The lecture is the second in the college’s 2019-2020 lecture series: Discovery: The Forefront of Knowledge. It is free and open to the public.

“Despite Washington having been studied and written about for more than two centuries, there are still unanswered questions, which I find fascinating,” said Dr. Schoelwer during a recent interview. “History is dynamic, not static, with new questions and new evidence frequently leading to new insights.”

Dr. Schoelwer directs the architectural preservation, furnishings and interpretation of George and Martha Washington’s house and surrounding plantation buildings and landscape, as well as the creation of museum exhibitions, including the current, award-winning special exhibition, Lives Bound Together: Slavery at George Washington’s Mount Vernon.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Schoelwer present a lecture focusing on George Washington, the first president of the United States, and shedding a new light on his remarkable life and his contributions to this great country,” said Dr. Laimutis Bytautas, chair of the Faculty Professional Development Committee at Galveston College, sponsor of the lecture. “It has been nearly two and a half centuries since the presidency of George Washington, and having an opportunity to reflect on his life from a perspective of the 21st century is amazing.”

Growing up on a farm in Illinois, Dr. Schoelwer graduated with a high school class of 42, then went on to be among the first classes of women to graduate from the University of Notre Dame. She holds a master’s degree in American history and art history from the University of Delaware and Doctor of Philosophy in American studies from Yale. Prior to coming to Mount Vernon in 2010, she directed the museum collections at the Connecticut Historical Society and the special collections at the Chicago Public Library.

In addition to the Washingtons and Mount Vernon, her research projects have spanned a variety of topics, including Connecticut needlework, early American tavern signs, western American art, Chicago authors and the legacy of the Alamo for the exhibit, “Alamo Images: Changing Perspectives on a Texas Experience,” for the DeGolyer Library at Southern Methodist University and the Texas Humanities Council. She is currently researching a book re-examining the creation and continuing re-creation of George Washington portraits.

The Galveston College Culinary Arts Academy will provide refreshments for the evening.