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Purpose of the Washington Association

The purpose of the Washington Association of New Jersey is two fold: 1) to support the Morristown National Historical Park in the preservation and interpretation of this renowned American Revolutionary War site, and 2) to honor the contributions of George Washington and his troops to the cause of American Independence. In addition, it seeks to acquire documents, library materials, and museum artifacts, to enhance site and museum interpretation programs, to preserve and protect Historical Park properties, and to acquire land.

Ford Mansion Museum Exhibit
Museum Exhibit

Books & Maps

These objectives are carried out through both the funding of, and active participation in, the following areas:

  • Educational programs, lectures, symposia, and publications.
  • Acquisition of documents, library materials, and museum artifacts.
  • Enhancement of site and museum interpretation programs.
  • Preservation and protection of Historic Park properties.
  • Land acquisition.

 

The Washington Association is by statute the advisory body to the Morristown National Historical Park of the National Park Service.

  • Education & Publications
  • Acquisitions & Conservation
  • Enhance Interpretations
  • Preservation

George Washington used the Ford Mansion as his military headquarters during the bitter winter of 1779-1780. A century later preservation-minded citizens saved the mansion from an uncertain fate. In 1873 the group bid $25,000 at an auction and saved the old landmark. They expected to hold the property in trust until the state of New Jersey could acquire it as a historical site. However, the legislature opted not to take over the house.

Left to their own resources, the group founded the Washington Association. Their intent was to make the mansion a place where visitors could contemplate the Revolutionary past, and in time of danger, find inspiration.

In opening the mansion to the public in the late 1800s, the Washington Association became one of the first American organizations devoted to the maintenance of a historic site. By the early 1930s, staffing and maintaining the museum became problematic. The Association then pursued the creation a historical park under the jurisdiction of the Federal Government.

As a result of the Association's efforts, the scope of the National Park Service was broadened to include historical sites. On March 2, 1932, President Herbert Hoover signed the legislation establishing Morristown as the first National Historical Park.