Media Contact: Mia Magruder Dammann, 434-984-7596

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – The Thomas Jefferson Foundation, the private, nonprofit organization that owns and operates Monticello, announces new leadership for its board of trustees. Effective January 2019, Jon Meacham will assume the role of chairman of the board. The foundation also announced that Melody C. Barnes was elected vice chair of the board and began serving in that capacity on June 15, 2018. 

“As a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Site of Conscience, Monticello offers a rich and complex history of the founding era and its reliance on slavery. Our vision is to bring history forward into national and global dialogues by engaging audiences with Jefferson’s world and inviting them to experience the power of place at Monticello,” said Leslie Greene Bowman, president of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation. “Who better than Jon and Melody to lead us in those conversations – on civic engagement, race and the legacy of slavery, religious freedom, and the progress of our democracy?”

Jon MeachamMeacham, who has served on the board since 2013, is a presidential historian, contributing writer to the New York Times Book Review, contributing editor at TIME, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of numerous books including the best-selling “Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power.” A member of the Council on Foreign Relations and of the Society of American Historians, he is a distinguished visiting professor at Vanderbilt University. A former executive editor at Random House and editor at Newsweek, Meacham is a regular guest on Morning Joe and other broadcasts.

Melody BarnesBarnes is a senior fellow and Compton Visiting Professor in World Politics, Miller Center, University of Virginia. She is a co-founder and principal of MB2 Solutions LLC, a domestic strategy firm. Barnes also serves as chair of the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions and Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund and vice chair of the advisory board of the Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU. From January 2009 to January 2012, Barnes served as an assistant to the president of the United States and director of the White House Domestic Policy Council.

“Monticello is at an important juncture, having just completed a $76 million campaign that fueled a transformative period of restoration and exhibits. Jon and Melody will lead us through the next chapter, in our ongoing determination to share an honest, complicated and inclusive history of Monticello – common ground for all Americans,” said Donald A. King Jr., chairman of the board of trustees.  

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. Monticello is recognized as a National Historic Landmark, a United Nations World Heritage Site and a Site of Conscience. Because it is 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. About 440,000 people visit Monticello each year. For information, visit