Monticello’s Main Street comes to life

Visitors can experience the sights and sounds of Mulberry Row, Monticello’s plantation hub

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Friday, June 3, 2011
Media Contact: Lisa Stites, 434-984-7529

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA.—Beginning June 4th and 5th, Monticello’s visitors can discover the sights and sounds of Mulberry Row, Monticello’s main plantation road, during Mulberry Row: Monticello’s Main Street weekends.  Mulberry Row was the hub of the plantation’s domestic and light manufacturing activities performed largely by Thomas Jefferson’s enslaved African American workers.

“In Thomas Jefferson’s time, Mulberry Row was not as it appears today,” says Linnea Grim, Monticello’s Hunter J. Smith Director of Education and Visitor Programs.  “Then, it was a bustling hub of work and cultural activities.  On four weekends this summer, through costumed historical interpretation and activities for all ages, we’ll invite visitors to experience the Mulberry Row of the past.”

This four-part series offers a visual and interactive interpretation of Mulberry Row. Held on four weekends from June through October, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., each program offers a different glimpse into life on the plantation. Topics include gardening, crafts, culture and animal husbandry.

The garden comes alive June 4th and 5th, during African American Gardens and Foodways at Monticello. Costumed interpreters will demonstrate 19th-century cooking techniques and gardening methods.  Visitors will learn how to use period gardening tools, pull weeds from Jefferson’s garden and help harvest seasonal vegetables by hand. Monticello gardeners will share their expertise on seed varieties and how food came from garden to table during Jefferson’s time. Kids can clean and sort seeds at our Mountaintop Activity Center and plant a flower to take home with them.

Visitors will travel back in time to the 19th century with the sights and sounds of Mulberry Row during Crafts and Trades on Mulberry Row, July 23-24. Visitors can experience the trades and crafts of Jefferson’s time like nail-making, weaving, basket-making demonstrations. Kids can enjoy hands-on fun at our Mountaintop Activity where they can write with a quill pen, “card” wool, and play 19th century games.

The story continues to unfold on Mulberry Row, September 10–11 with African American Storytelling and Music at Monticello. Listen to costumed interpreters recount stories of the plantation amid musical entertainment. Kids can enjoy games, storybooks, crafts and other hands-on activities in our Mountaintop Activities Center.

The final event for the year: Monticello Main Street Weekend is Animal Husbandry and Provisioning the Tables at Monticello, October 22–23. Visitors will learn about livestock at Monticello and how foods were brought to the table. From hogs to pullets to Albemarle Pippin apples and smoked hams, the foods consumed at Monticello were raised, grown, harvested, prepared and served by enslaved African Americans.  In the Mountaintop Activity Center, kids will enjoy animal- and food-related activities.

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