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KEY Oklahoma City

George Washington: A National Treasure

The Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery continues it's most important and ambitious touring exhibition to date: "George Washington: A National Treasure." The multi-city tour celebrating our nation's first president - the man, the icon, the hero - will be on view through April 11, at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art.

The iconic portrait of George Washington, painted by Gilbert Stuart in 1796, is also known as the Lansdowne portrait. The portrait is a true national treasure, one whose historical and cultural importance has been compared to that of the Liberty Bell and the Declaration of Independence. In addition to providing funds to keep this treasure at the National Portrait Gallery, the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation has allowed for this first-ever national tour of the portrait, as well as educational materials, accompanying programs, and the creation of a special gallery at the National Portrait Gallery, where it will make its permanent home in Washington, D.C. following the tour.

“George Washington: A National Treasure” represents a once-in-a-lifetime chance for millions of Americans to see this famous icon – one of the most significant visual documents of the founding of our nation – first-hand. The tour is traveling to eight cities across the nation through 2004. The tour has already stopped in Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Seattle, and is currently in Minneapolis. After its stay in Oklahoma City, it will travel to Little Rock and New York City before making its permanent home in Washington, DC.

Education is a key component of this inspiring exhibition. The National Portrait Gallery has developed an expansive educational initiative that brings both the portrait and the man behind the image to life. The educational element of the tour has reached people of all ages in the venue cities and nationally. Each venue has been provided funds for free educational programming such as teacher workshops, brochures, family days, public lectures and bussing for schoolchildren.
Painted by Gilbert Stuart, the most prestigious portraitist of his day, the 207-year-old painting has a storied past. A fixture in Washington since 1968, the painting actually belonged to a prominent British family until very recently. In spring 2001, the National Portrait Gallery rescued the portrait from potential auction thanks to a generous $30 million gift from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. This gift – as much an act of patriotism as of philanthropy – has allowed the National Portrait Gallery to preserve the iconic work for future generations.

For more information about "George Washington: A National Treasure" and the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, please call Clifford Public Relations at (212) 358-0800.

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