Governor’s Mansion Tours+ Add to Itinerary
About Governor’s Mansion Tours
Volunteer docents from the Governor’s Mansion Foundation offer tours of the Washington State Governor’s Mansion on most Wednesdays throughout the year. Tours are free and last approximately 45-60 minutes. For reservations call 360-902-8880 or email email@example.com.
Since 1975 when tours started, the Governor’s Mansion Foundation has offered tours of the Washington State Governor’s Mansion. While the primary mission of the Foundation is to provide and maintain the elegant furnishings and art in the public rooms of the Mansion, guided tours play a vital role in educating the public about the history and continuing importance of the house.
The Governor’s Mansion Foundation, http://wagovmansion.org, is a private, non-profit organization that honors the historical and cultural importance of the Washington State Governor’s Mansion by maintaining furnishings and art for the home, educating the public about the Mansion, and advocating on behalf of the State’s executive residence.
The Foundation has its roots in an earlier organization founded in 1969, but officially traces its beginnings to 1972 when the State of Washington was planning major repairs and additions to the historic Governor’s Mansion. While the Legislature was willing to fund the structural work, there was no public money appropriated for furnishings. The Foundation was established to raise funds and obtain furnishings for the public rooms of the house. Between 1972 and 1975, under the leadership of Foundation Chair Laurene Gandy and First Lady Nancy Bell Evans, the Foundation acquired a collection of antique furnishings and other assets valued then at $350,000.
The Foundation continues to own and maintain these furnishings, repairing or replacing them when necessary. GMF has also added a considerable number of art pieces to its collection over the past four decades, and has conducted public tours of the house since 1975.
The Washington Governor's Mansion, built in 1908-09, is the oldest building on the capitol campus and is the official residence of the governor of Washington. The Georgian Revival style mansion is located on the grounds of the State Capitol campus in the capital city Olympia. It is on the crest of Capitol Point, with a view of mountains, ocean, and the city.
Visitors to the residence view handsomely coordinated public rooms furnished principally with antiques from the English Regency and American Federal periods.
The antique furnishings of the house were inspired by the Georgian Revival architecture of the Mansion. The furnishings are actual antiques from the late 18th and early 19th centuries, roughly a hundred years older than the Mansion.
The drawing room, or formal living room, of the house is used mostly for receptions and large social events. The most significant piece in the drawing room is the portrait of George Washington by noted American portrait painter Rembrandt Peale.
This is the one room of the house where visitors can get a feel for how the Mansion was furnished when it was first built. The most striking feature of the dining room is its murals. The artist, Edwin Chapman, originally from Spokane, painted the murals in his studio in San Francisco. The massive dining room furniture set is original to the Mansion, chosen by First Lady Lizzie Hay in 1909.
The elaborate silver service was presented in 1899 by the people of the State of Washington to the navel cruiser USS Olympia. In the early 1930’s, after the ship was retired, the Navy returned the silver on long-term loan to the City of Olympia, which in turn presented it for display in the Governor’s Mansion.
Currently, the Mansion has engaged in supporting environmental sustainability with the Honeybee Project. Nearly 30,000 European honeybees and two hives were placed on the front lawn of the Mansion in April 2016 by the Olympia Beekeepers Association. The bees and hives are part of a collaborative effort with the Department of Enterprise Services and the First Lady Trudi Inslee to raise public awareness about their importance to Washington agriculture, the decline of bee populations, and to boost the pollination of plants on the Capitol Campus.
The Department of Enterprise Services Visitor Services Program accepts requests for tours throughout the year. Please call (360) 902-8880 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Staff will be happy to help you determine what works best for you or your group's needs.
Mansion Gift/Souvenir Table
In the ballroom, the Governor’s Mansion Foundation offers a gift table of Washington State, Governor’s Mansion, and City of Olympia souvenirs…an eclectic treasure trove of distinctive art, culinary articles, books, decorative and unique items. Whether a tourist or local, visitors can find the perfect complement to a memorable tour of the Governor Mansion. It is also an opportunity to learn more about the Foundation, sign the guest book, and ask more questions about the Mansion.
Wednesdays by Appointment