“This uniform consisting of uniform coat, waistcoat, and pair of knee breeches was initially donated to the Columbian Institute; in 1841, it was transferred to the National Institute and was housed in the Patent Office. It came to the Smithsonian in 1883 from the Patent Office collection, and has been on display almost continuously. During the years 1942 - 1944, during World War II, the Smithsonian packed up many of its treasured artifacts and sent them to the Shenandoah Valley for safekeeping.
This uniform was worn by George Washington from 1789 until his death in 1799; the small clothes or breeches and waistcoat, date from the revolutionary period.
In paintings of Washington during this period, he often posed for life portraits and was often depicted wearing this uniform. An example of this would be the watercolor portrait on irovy painted by artist John Ramage in 1789; it is the first known depiction of this uniform in a portrait of Washington.
In December 1798, Washington was recorded wearing this uniform when he visited Philadelphia on Provisional Army duty. He wore a similar uniform when he was commissioned by the Continental Congress as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army.
None of his uniforms from the Revolutionary War period are known to have survived.”