Introducing the Mountaintop Project: Revealing Jefferson’s Monticello!
Leslie Greene Bowman
"Architecture is my delight, and putting up and pulling down, one of my favorite amusements." –Thomas Jefferson (as told by Margaret Bayard Smith)
Monticello has always been a work in progress, overflowing with Thomas Jefferson’s brilliance and complexity, his designs and experiments. For nearly a century, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation has worked step by step to restore Monticello and its signature mountaintop landscape to the period of Jefferson’s retirement. We have systematically removed modern overlays and intrusions and reacquired original acreage and furnishings. Our preservation work on the House–the embodiment of Jefferson’s genius and the only presidential house in America designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site–has received our field’s most prestigious accolades.
After nearly a century of preservation efforts, we stand poised at perhaps the most significant opportunity in the history of Monticello’s restoration. I’m thrilled to announce that Monticello has begun work on a multi-year transformational initiative, to reveal with conviction Monticello as Jefferson knew it. This initiative, known as the Mountaintop Project, will allow us to complete the House and Mulberry Row, neither of which can be understood independently of the other, and which together reveal the authentic story of Jefferson’s plantation. This project will dramatically expand each guest’s experience of the House and its dependencies, opening up the 38% of the House that is currently not on view and the 50% that has not has been fully restored and interpreted. For the first time, visitors will be able to experience the dynamic ‘Main Street’ of the 5,000-acre plantation through the physical and virtual restoration of structures on Mulberry Row.
It’s an exciting time to be at Monticello! Preliminary work is already underway. We welcome you to join us for each exciting step in the Mountaintop Project and invite you to learn about the research behind the restoration here on our blog and in person at Monticello.
The Mountaintop Project is made possible by a transformational contribution from David M. Rubenstein. Leading support was provided by Fritz and Claudine Kundrun, along with generous gifts and grants from the Sarah and Ross Perot, Jr. Foundation, the Robert H. Smith Family Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. John H. Birdsall, Mr. and Mrs. B. Grady Durham, the Mars Family, the Richard S. Reynolds Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Charlotte Moss and Barry Friedberg, the Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, the Mary Morton Parsons Foundation, the Cabell Foundation, the Garden Club of Virginia, and additional individuals, organizations, and foundations.