On June 16, 2018, Monticello unveiled exhibits and newly restored spaces, including the opening of the South Wing and The Life of Sally Hemings exhibit. This landmark conclusion of the Mountaintop Project, a major restoration initiative at Monticello, also commemorated 25 years of the Getting Word Oral History Project.
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 was a multi-year effort to restore Monticello as Jefferson knew it, and to tell the stories of the people—enslaved and free—who lived and worked on the 5,000-acre plantation. Visit Monticello to see historic changes under way, and learn online about the restoration and preservation of Mulberry Row, the upper floors of the House and Jefferson’s historic Kitchen Road.
Tom Brokaw, Jon Meacham and Rex Ellis participated in a panel discussion moderated by David M. Rubenstein.
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 was 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, Ms. Jacqueline B. Mars, Mr. and Mrs. Forrest E. Mars, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. John F. Mars, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Charlotte Moss and Barry Friedberg, the Cabell Foundation, the Richard S. Reynolds Foundation, the Garden Club of Virginia, and additional individuals, organizations, and foundations.