Come see and celebrate artwork made by over 400 Charlottesville City 2nd graders who visited Monticello this fall on a mission to explore Monticello’s gardens. Join us on Saturday, January 18 from noon-2 p.m. in the Carl and Hunter Smith Education Center classrooms for a celebration of student art, free and open to the public, complete with family activities and light refreshments.

About the outreach program:
Each year, My Monticello: Charlottesville City Schools welcomes over 400 second-grade students from all six public elementary schools in Charlottesville for a FREE field trip, art exhibit, and family outreach program. Working closely with Charlottesville City Schools to develop a curriculum that supports classroom learning goals through a mix of history, science, and arts education, My Monticello seeks to introduce local students to the lives and legacies of the many people, free and enslaved, who lived and worked at Monticello. The program invites students to engage with the past through hands-on learning and feel inspired to practice historical inquiry skills to build new knowledge that’s relevant to their lives today.

Onsite programs during November’s harvest season focused on Monticello’s gardens. Inspired by Thomas Jefferson’s passion for ordered knowledge, students practiced making estimations and gathering scientific recordings at activity stations set up in and around Monticello’s mountainside vegetable garden and David M. Rubenstein Visitor Center classrooms.  As students moved from station to station, they noted the weather and wind direction; estimated the weight and length of snake gourds, pumpkins, squash and other vegetables from the garden; drew close-up, detailed drawings of seeds and flowering plants; and compared the taste and smell of root vegetables, edible greens, and herbs they found growing. The young scientists recorded their observations in journals, provided by Monticello. While on site, they also learned about the work done by enslaved gardeners like Wormley Hughes, visited the Griffin Discovery Room, Mulberry Row and Monticello’s kitchen and cellar spaces, and toured the first floor of Thomas Jefferson’s house.

Once back in their classrooms, students used pages from their “My Monticello Journal” to further illustrate what they learned through words and drawings. These projects chronicle each student’s connection to Monticello and its gardens. Every participating student and teacher received a free pass to return to Monticello on January 18 – 20, 2020 to see their artwork displayed and tour Monticello together.