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Tour: Gunston Hall
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Gunston Hall on Mason Neck, Lorton, Virginia is the plantation home of the American Statesman George Mason. He was the principal architect of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, a document that served as a partial model for the first section of the Declaration of Independence and for the federal Bill of Rights. As a youth George Mason, who came from a wealthy plantation background, took a keen interest in the law; he later served in the Virginia House of Burgesses. He drafted Virginia's Non-Importation Resolutions against British goods, as well as the Fairfax Resolves, a definition of the colonies' constitutional position in relation to Britain. In 1776 he helped frame Virginia's constitution, to which his Declaration of Rights was attached. From 1776 to 1788, George Mason served in the Virginia House of Delegates. In 1787 he attended the CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION in Philadelphia, where he played a leading role in framing the new government. He became an active and articulate opponent of the U.S. Constitution, largely because he felt it vested too much ill-defined power in the national government. He refused to sign the document and voted against it in the Virginia Ratifying Convention of 1788.

Built circa 1755-1759, the house incorporated a number of fashionable and even innovative design elements. The ground floor had imposing public rooms which were separate from a private bedchamber and a family parlor/dining room, and the surprisingly spacious second floor included seven bedchambers and a storage room. The architectural design is thought to be primarily the work of a young indentured servant from England, carpenter/joiner William Buckland, who later went on to design a number of distinguished buildings in Virginia and Maryland. He and carver William Bernard Sears, another indentured servant, were responsible for elaborate interior carving and woodwork. These decorative embellishments, combining rococo, chinoiserie, and Gothic elements, are extraordinary for the region because they far exceed the typical colonial Virginian style of “neat and plain.”

Gunston Hall was once the center of a 5,500 acre plantation. Its owner, George Mason (1725-1792), was a fourth generation Virginian who became a senior statesman and one of the era's most well-known public figures. As author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, Mason was the first to call for such basic American liberties as freedom of religion and freedom of the press. Thomas Jefferson referred to Mason as "a man of the first order of wisdom."

The Museum Shop carries on the Plantation's purpose of educating today's citizens on life in 18th century Virginia. You can find anything from handblown glass, jewelry, creamware and toys, to silver, scented soaps and lotions or hand turned wood from 200 year old boxwood trees on the plantation. Our products are hand selected by our manager for their uniqueness and quality.

Since 1950 Gunston Hall has been preserving the legacy of George Mason and memorializing his unique contribution to the universal cause of Human Rights. Your tax-deductible donation allows us to continue providing innovative programming, research and educational offerings to the public.

Benefits of Membership:

Free General Admission

The Gunston Gazette, our "members only" newsletter

A 10% discount in our Museum Shop

Reduced fees for special seminars and events, including our popular Decorative Arts Symposium and Plantation Christmas Celebration

Membership window decal

Please call our membership department at 703-550-9220; or use our online membership form.

 Gunston Hall Plantation Membership
      10709 Gunston Road
      Mason Neck, VA 22079

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