FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - November 10, 2015
Media Contact: Mia Magruder, 434-984-7596

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA—The Institute for Museum and Library Services recently announced it will provide Monticello with nearly $300,000 through its National Leadership Grants for Museums program to fund a three-year study to assess the effectiveness of teacher education programs at historic sites. National Leadership Grants for Museums support projects that address critical needs of the museum field and that have the potential to advance practice in the profession so that museums can improve services for the American public. Fewer than twenty were awarded nationwide this year.

Collaborating with experts from Teachers College, Columbia University, Monticello staff will assess what and how teachers learn in professional development programs at historic sites. During the first year of the grant, an assessment tool will be developed for Monticello’s summer teacher program, the Monticello Teacher Institute. During the second and third years of the grant, the assessment will be tried at five additional museums, including Monticello’s partner Mystic Seaport: The Museum of America and the Sea.

“Many historic sites and museums have teacher development programs, and Monticello has welcomed hundreds of teachers over the last twenty-five years to summer professional development programs. Participants tell us how valuable the power of place is as part of that experience. Our goal with this project is to document what teachers are learning and incorporating into their classrooms. We believe they are becoming better teachers. But we want to demonstrate how they are. We are looking forward to improving the role historic sites play in the professional development of teachers by developing an assessment tool that museums across the country can use,” said Gary Sandling, the Vice President of Visitor Services and Programs.

The assessment tool and results of the research will be shared with other researchers and museum professionals, enabling historic sites to evaluate the relative strengths and weaknesses of current teacher professional development programming and to develop, adjust, and implement programs that more fully support teacher growth and development.

This project will benefit programs like the Monticello Teacher Institute. For more information on Monticello’s resources and opportunities for teachers, visit


About Thomas Jefferson’s 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 engage a national and global audience in a dialogue with Jefferson’s ideas. Monticello is recognized as a National Historic Landmark and a United Nations World Heritage Site. 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. About 440,000 people visit Monticello each year. For information, visit


About the Institute of Museum and Library Services

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit and follow IMLS on Facebook and Twitter.