This original diorama depicts the scene at Ford Mansion in Morristown, New Jersey, at the moment when George Washington greets the Marquis de Lafayette on March 10, 1780. Morristown is nationally significant as the American Revolutionary War site of the 1779-1780 winter encampment of the Continental Army under General George Washington; the site is now managed by the National Park Service. The Marquis de Lafayette had come to inform Washington that France would be sending a large fleet of ships and trained soldiers to aid the Continental Army—a commitment that ultimately played an important role in securing American independence.
In the diorama at the left edge is the Ford Mansion, a white quoined, early 1730s Georgian-style house with green shutters that served as Washington's headquarters for six months during the winter of 1779-1780. The figure of George Washington is descending the front steps and shaking the hand of Lafayette. Ten onlookers consist of uniformed soldiers; two of which are attending to two horses by a tree in the right foreground. The painted background shows verdant tree-covered grounds; two people tending to a carriage in a barn-like structure; a person tending to two cannons; a woman walking on a path with a child; and a line of uniformed soldiers walking in formation past what appears to be a line of three simple barrack buildings.
It is believed that this was the first of the dioramas begun by the National Park Service's Eastern Museum Laboratory for the U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, and the lab's proximity to the Ford Mansion allowed the artists to be extraordinarily accurate and detailed.