FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - May 26, 2020
Contact: Jennifer Lyon, Marketing & Communications Manager
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA — The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), an independent federal agency and one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States, recently awarded a $75,000 Historic Places Planning Grant to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. This competitive, merit-based grant is part of a special NEH initiative advancing civic education and commemorating the nation’s 250th anniversary. Since 1965, NEH has funded the telling of America’s story. In preparation for the anniversary of the founding of the United States in 1776, NEH has launched a major new initiative, “A More Perfect Union: NEH Special Initiative Advancing Civic Education and Commemorating the Nation’s 250th Anniversary.” Monticello is honored to be part of this important initiative and will use this grant to support the planning and development of a new interpretative visitor experience at Monticello to mark the nation’s 250th anniversary and the bicentennial of Thomas Jefferson’s death in 2026.
“The National Endowment for the Humanities has been an invaluable and long-standing supporter of our work at Monticello,” said Leslie Greene Bowman, president and CEO of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation. “From the restoration of Mulberry Row to archaeological excavations to the galleries in the David M. Rubenstein Visitor Center, our guests directly benefit from their generosity. We are extremely grateful for NEH support to create new exhibits and interpretation on Jefferson’s seminal role in the founding of our nation and his authorship of the Declaration of Independence.”
In advance of the semiquincentennial in 2026, Monticello will develop a new interpretative plan to share the ideas of one of Jefferson’s greatest contributions: the promises of freedom and equality in the Declaration of Independence. This plan for the core visitor experience will be reflective of – and inspirational to – our modern, pluralistic society. Through new exhibitions and tours, the guest experience will center on universal themes set out in the Declaration of Independence -- equality and freedom.
For more nearly three decades, the National Endowment for the Humanities has been a generous benefactor of various historical and educational initiatives at Monticello. Projects supported by NEH grants include the 1993 “Worlds of Thomas Jefferson” exhibition; the construction of Monticello’s Visitor Center; efforts to reveal the landscape of slavery through the restoration of Mulberry Row and Monticello’s dependencies; the groundbreaking digitization of archaeological research through the Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery (DAACS); and the Capstone Public Summit on Race and the Legacy of Slavery: “Memory, Mourning, Mobilization: The Legacy of Slavery & Race in America.” Through support for these and other initiatives, the NEH has advanced Monticello’s longstanding efforts to share themes of equality and freedom in meaningful ways with millions of global citizens through new exhibitions and live historical interpretation.
About The Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello
The Thomas Jefferson Foundation was incorporated in 1923 to preserve Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, in Charlottesville, Virginia. Today, the foundation seeks to bring history forward into national and global dialogues by engaging audiences with Jefferson’s world and ideas and inviting them to experience the power of place at Monticello and on its website. Monticello is recognized as a National Historic Landmark, a United Nations World Heritage Site and a Site of Conscience. As a private, nonprofit organization, the foundation’s regular operating budget does not receive ongoing government support to fund its twofold mission of preservation and education.