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The Mountaintop Project: Revealing Jefferson’s Monticello

Pulitzer-prize winning historian Jon Meacham said that experiencing Monticello “…is as close as you can get to having a conversation with Thomas Jefferson.”

The Mountaintop Project is a multi-year effort to restore Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello as those who lived there knew it, and to tell the stories of the people—enslaved and free—who lived and worked on the 5,000-acre plantation.  On May 2, 2015 we unveiled the first phase of the project which included the restoration of Mulberry Row,  a new app, the Kitchen Road, and the upper floors of the house.

Visit Monticello to see historic changes underway, and learn online about the restoration of iconic rooms — including Jefferson’s Cabinet —inside the house, the north and south wings, and the stable and textile workshop on Mulberry Row. Once the restoration is complete, exhibitions on Sally Hemings and Monticello’s Getting Word Oral History Project will have dedicated physical space on the mountain for the first time.

On June 16, 2018, in conjunction with national Juneteenth commemorations, Monticello will mark major milestones — the landmark conclusion of the Mountaintop Project and the 25th anniversary of the Getting Word oral history project. Monticello will welcome the largest reunion of descendants of enslaved families in modern history, host a free public event and have an original copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, generously loaned by David M. Rubenstein, on view for the occasion. 

Latest Project Updates

Monticello is Jefferson’s three-dimensional autobiography, and the only U.S. Presidential and private home in the United States recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. All of Monticello’s preservation projects begin with painstaking study of Jefferson’s extensive documentary records, analysis of the building itself, and study of the grounds. Ninety-percent of what you see in the House is original to Jefferson’s time. Two-thirds of the furnishings on view in the House are Jefferson’s originals. Archaeologists have spent fifty years of research revealing the landscape of slavery on the mountaintop. Monticello is the best documented, best preserved, and the best studied plantation in North America. Thanks to these efforts it is an incomparable site for American storytelling through landscape and architecture.

In service to Monticello’s mission of preservation and education, the Mountaintop Project will tell Monticello’s many stories as never before and reveal the landscape of Monticello as Jefferson designed it.

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 Goode Family Foundation, the Richard S. Reynolds Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Charlotte Moss and Barry Friedberg, Christopher J. Toomey, Sally and Joe Gladdenthe Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, the Mary Morton Parsons Foundation, the Cabell Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Richard A. Mayo, the Manning Family Foundation, Jan Karon, the Garden Club of Virginia, and additional individuals, organizations, and foundations.




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