Thomas Jefferson viewed the world around him with the eye of a scientist. His interests were limitless and encompassed archaeology, astronomy, botany, geography, horticulture, meteorology, natural history, and paleontology. Jefferson was a strong promoter of the sciences and felt that new discoveries would benefit the new nation. In the performance of his everyday tasks, Thomas Jefferson meticulously recorded his observations, from documenting the first appearance of the peas in his vegetable garden and the number of bricks that it would take to build his garden pavilion to calculating the provisions allotted to his slaves. Jefferson's daily habit of recording-keeping gave expression to his passion for scientific inquiry.
Jefferson's cabinet (or office) was the center of his scientific world at Monticello. From this room he corresponded with the leading philosophers and scientists of his day. His cabinet illustrates Jefferson's wide-ranging interests and shows us examples of some of his advanced scientific instruments.
Watercolor painting by Michael Powers.