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Read what Monticello staff members and guest authors have to say about Jefferson, Monticello, and how they experience Jefferson's experiment every day.


Monticello marked the 273rd anniversary of Thomas Jefferson’s birth with a celebration and ceremony on the West Lawn featuring a keynote address by Marian Wright Edelman, the 2016 recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Citizen Leadership.More >>
Detail from page 1 of Jefferson's Garden Book
Happy Birthday, Garden Book! On March 30, 1766, Jefferson wrote, "Purple hyacinths begin to bloom" at Shadwell, initiating a 50-year journal of his gardening hopes, observations, successes and failures. Monticello's Curator of Plants, Peggy Cornett, and Monticello guide Bill Bergen introduce this...More >>
Figure 1 - Hand warmers taped to the window trim
How do you locate evidence for missing curtain hardware two hundred years after it was removed? Science! The Restoration Department recently used four different techniques to locate evidence for curtain hardware. First, a flash light was racked over the window trim to reveal any depressions or any...More >>
The Chinese-inspired railings around Monticello’s terraces date to ca. 1940. After almost 80 years the elaborate wooden panels have weathered to the point where repairs are no longer feasible. While the existing railings will be missed, the project is an exciting opportunity to accurately...More >>
Entablature from Monticello's Parlor
It's unofficially #ColorOurCollections Week (Feb. 1-5), so we're sharing a few Monticello-related drawing. Three are from the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), which were done in the early 1990s. The last is of a Twinleaf plant (Jeffersonia diphylla) by former Shannon Research Historian at...More >>
Behind the scenes at Monticello, our curators are intrigued by a ceramic inkstand and sandbox that are thought to have belonged to Thomas Jefferson. According to a Jefferson descendent, the set was acquired while he was Minister to France (1785-1789). It was then purportedly used at Monticello...More >>
No story illustrates Jefferson’s missionary zeal for plant experimentation or his devotion to American economic success better than his lifelong quest for upland rice. In 1787, Jefferson was serving his country in Paris as Minister to France. He envisioned the new American nation as an agrarian...More >>
 A sample of Letters from the new collection (Privately Owned).
Thomas Jefferson loved to play chess, sometimes engaging in “four hour games” with his close friend James Madison. Unfortunately, not all of Jefferson’s gaming was so enjoyable. According to his granddaughter Ellen W. Randolph Coolidge, while Jefferson was serving as minister plenipotentiary in...More >>
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Research
Reconstructed pump and cistern
When Jefferson started to build Monticello in the 1770s, he understood that water would always be a scarce resource on the mountaintop. To help solve the problem, the self-trained architect planned to install four cisterns at the corners of the two terraces to collect rain falling on the roof and...More >>

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