The Archaeology team has begun its excavations at the quarters for field slaves, located just below the visitor center. We are searching for the remains of the homes for farm slaves who lived in this area from the late 1700s-1844. Back in 2002, when we were planning for the construction of the visitor center, we located a very well preserved farm complex dating back to the Madison era.
April 21-28, Montpelier will celebrate the Garden Club of Virginia’s Historic Garden Week along with sister historic sites and landmarks across the commonwealth. The Orange County Tour, entitled “Mr. Madison’s Neighborhood,” includes stops at James Madison’s Montpelier, Somerset Plantation, Mayhurst Inn, and Woodley.
In honor of the 74th anniversary of Battleship’s victory at Aintree and the long legacy of the duPont family at Montpelier, a collection of additional notable duPont objects are now on display in the William duPont Gallery at the Montpelier Visitor Center.
The vision of forest sustainability, as imagined by James Madison at Montpelier, stood in contrast to the wanton resource extraction he observed in the early 1800s. Today, those same forests have not only recovered, they are sustainably managed and boast the Commonwealth of Virginia’s first smartphone tree ID trail.
One of the most oft-repeated yet ill-cited pieces of Madison lore suggests Dolley Madison instituted the famous Easter egg roll on the White House lawn. When the tale appeared in published monograph, it was often paired with such qualifying phrases as “according to tradition” or “as the story goes.”
This past week twelve metal detector experts from Minelab Americas attended a week-long metal detecting program to help archaeologists search for plantation sites across the property. The program also provided the participants an opportunity to learn about how archaeologists use metal detectors to discover and define archaeological sites.
In September 1821, Albert Picket Sr., Albert Picket Jr., and John W. Picket wrote James Madison requesting his opinion of female education, particularly in light of a planned female college in Maryland. The Pickets asserted, “If it be worthy of national concern, to educate young men well, in all that pertains to their morals & intellect, it is no less necessary to educate females in an equally solid, if not splendid degree.”1
James Madison is having a birthday commemoration and you’re invited! March 16 marks the 261st anniversary of the fourth president’s birthday. We will have several opportunities for our visitors to mark the occasion.
In honor of African American History Month, objects once owned by Montpelier slave Catherine Taylor are currently on display in the Joe and Marge Grills Gallery, joining archaeological objects from the recent South Yard excavation.