Making Monticello: Jefferson's 'Essay in Architecture' showcases the architectural origins, construction, and four-decade evolution of the Monticello house, which is widely regarded as one of the icons of American architecture.
Viewers of this exhibition in the David Bruce Smith Gallery can become familiar with Jefferson's ever-changing designs over time and the enslaved and free workers who performed the myriad tasks that made his vision a reality, from the erection of the first structure in 1770 to the virtual completion of the house and its "dependencies" in 1809.
Making Monticello features displays of drafting instruments, architectural references, and copies of Jefferson's drawings and notebooks that underscore his deep and longstanding interest in architecture. Three detailed models illustrate Jefferson's first design for Monticello, a section through the completed house, and the innovative zigzag roof. A video animation shows the transformation of the "first Monticello" into the house that exists today.