Calendar of Events

 

Exhibits

Everybody Loves Mrs. Madison: Dolley Madison in Letters and Pictures
This new Grills Gallery exhibit illuminates the iconic Dolley Madison, the original presidential spouse to be called "First Lady," through her personal letters, a daguerreotype by the famed artist Matthew Brady, and a commemorative silver dollar designed by Tiffany & Co. for U.S. Mint. 

 

The Presidential Detective Story
Architectural, archaeological, and curatorial objects identified through the Presidential Detective Story are now on display in the mansion's second floor chambers. This carefully curated exhibit illustrates the processes that our research teams employ to determine the authenticity and significance of our finds, as well as life at Montpelier in the early 19th century. 

 

In the Time of Segregation
This self-guided exhibit illustrates a watershed period in American history - the time of segregation - and explains the codification of laws which dictated that blacks and whites be given "separate but equal" accommodation across the South. Open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Located adjacent to Montpelier's main entrance on Rt. 20. Admission is free. 

 

The Gilmore Cabin
Enter the home of George Gilmore, born into slavery at Montpelier in 1810, and visualize the life he built for his family after Emancipation. This site highlights the continuing struggle for African Americans during Reconstruction and the Gilmore family's eventual ownership of the land and citizenship. The Gilmore Cabin is open to visitors every Saturday and Sunday, April-October, from 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Located on Rt. 20 across from Montpelier's main entrance. Admission is free.

 

2015 Events

March 16: James Madison's Birthday
Commemorate the 264th birthday of America's fourth president and Father of the Constitution with the United States Marine Corps Band and Color Guard during this annual wreath-laying ceremony at the Madison Family Cemetery at Montpelier. Remarks will be made by Alan Taylor, one of the nation’s premier experts in Colonial America and the early U.S. republic. Ceremony begins at 2:00 PM. After the ceremony, Mr. Madison will accept birthday wishes at the mansion. A special in-depth tour highlighting Madison's role as Father of the Constitution will be offered at 11 AM and 1 PM. Signature tours will be offered every 30 minutes between 10 AM - 4 PM. 

April 4: Garden & Grounds Tours
Peel back 250 years of landscaping, one layer at a time, to learn about the grounds of Montpelier became a trove of champion trees and unique plantings, cultivated with great care and attention over generations of care and preservation. Begins at 2 PM from the Visitor Center. Free.

April 6: Homeschool Day
This day is designed specially for homeschooling families or any family seeking a fun day out! Guided tours, games, exhibits, nature trails, and additional programs allow you and your family to learn and explore together. Open house begins at 9:30 AM. Last mansion entry at 4 PM. $5/person and free/under 6. In-Depth Tours will not be available to accommodate visiting families. 

April 12: Big Woods Walk
Hike through the National Landmark Forest—a rare hardwood forest composed of towering poplars, stately oaks, and sprawling beeches. Guests will learn about ecology, conservation, and Madison's role as an early environmentalist. The trail is a gentle mile loop. $10/person or $5/person with purchase of a mansion ticket. This guided tour begins at 2 PM at the Visitor Center. Dogs on leashes are permitted. 

April 18: South Yard Groundbreaking Ceremony
In honor of the upcoming 150th anniversary of Emancipation, The Montpelier Foundation is hosting a groundbreaking ceremony to kick off the reconstruction of Montpelier's South Yard enslaved community site at 2:00 PM. Learn more about this project here

April 19: Working Woods Walk
Venture deep into the Montpelier Demonstration Forest on a two-hour hike guided by experts in forest conservation. Learn about cultivation strategies that generate mutual benefit to man and nature, both in the Madisons' time and today. $10/person or $5/person with purchase of a mansion ticket. This guided tour begins at 2 PM at the Visitor Center. Dogs on leashes are permitted. 

April 19: Book Signing & Author Talk with Michael Signer
Charlottesville-based attorney and author Michael Signer kicks off Montpelier's spring book signing series with his newest book, Becoming Madison: The Extraordinary Origins of the Least Likely Founding Father. This intellectual and psychological biography examines the upbringing, education, and political rise of the young James Madison, famed for executing many of his most notable accomplishments, including authorship of the Federalist Papers and ratification of the U.S. Constitution, before the age of 36. Reception begins at 4:15 PM at the Montpelier Visitor Center with lecture to follow in the Potter Theater. 

April 18: Journey from Slavery to Freedom
Experience the African American transition from slavery to freedom. Visit sites and original structures that bring to life the generations of enslaved individuals who lived at Montpelier, and learn about America's transition through Emancipation, Reconstruction, segregation, and the Civil Rights Movement. This walking and driving tour will visit sites of enslavement near the mansion, as well as the Gilmore Cabin and the 1910 Train Depot. $10/person or $5/person with purchase of a mansion ticket. This guided tour begins at the 2 PM at the Visitor Center.      

April 25: Civil War Trail & Freedman's Farm Walking Tour
Walk in the footsteps of McGowan's Brigade on Montpelier's Civil War Trail, carving a path through archaeological remains of this Confederate winter camp to a reconstructed camp street. Conclude at the cabin and farm of the George Gilmore, born into slavery at Montpelier in 1810 and turned farmer and landowner after Emancipation, on the site of an abandoned Confederate hut. Begins at 2 PM in the parking lot across from the Montpelier Station Train Depot on Route 20. Free.

May 2-3: Montpelier Spring Wine Festival
Voted Favorite Wine Festival in the 2014 Charlottesville Welcome Book, this premier spring event is fun for the whole family, featuring children's entertainment, arts and craft vendors, live music, and tastings all day long! 

May 2: Garden & Grounds Tours
Peel back 250 years of landscaping, one layer at a time, to learn about the grounds of Montpelier became a trove of champion trees and unique plantings, cultivated with great care and attention over generations of care and preservation. Begins at 2 PM from the Visitor Center. Free.

June 6: Garden & Grounds Tours
Peel back 250 years of landscaping, one layer at a time, to learn about the grounds of Montpelier became a trove of champion trees and unique plantings, cultivated with great care and attention over generations of care and preservation. Begins at 2 PM from the Visitor Center. Free.

June 15-19: Mud Camp (Rising Third and Fourth Graders)
Here learning is fun! Your child will learn about the natural world around them first hand from Montpelier's experienced Education Staff. Daily hikes, outdoor games and activities, and wilderness exploration will help your young camper understand conservation as well as the animals and habitats of the Virginia Piedmont. Learn more!

June 20: Journey from Slavery to Freedom
Experience the African American transition from slavery to freedom. Visit sites and original structures that bring to life the generations of enslaved individuals who lived at Montpelier, and learn about America's transition through Emancipation, Reconstruction, segregation, and the Civil Rights Movement. This walking and driving tour will visit sites of enslavement near the mansion, as well as the Gilmore Cabin and the 1910 Train Depot. $10/person or $5/person with purchase of a mansion ticket. This guided tour begins at the 2 PM at the Visitor Center.          

June 22-26: Mud Camp (Rising Fifth and Sixth Graders)
In this hands-on camp, your child will experience the natural world around us and learn by discovering, understand by observing, and appreciate by doing. Daily hikes, outdoor games and activities, and wilderness exploration in the fields, forests, and streams of Montpelier make this an experience your young campers will not soon forget! Learn more!

July 4: Garden & Grounds Tours
Peel back 250 years of landscaping, one layer at a time, to learn about the grounds of Montpelier became a trove of champion trees and unique plantings, cultivated with great care and attention over generations of care and preservation. Begins at 2 PM from the Visitor Center. Free.

July 12: Big Woods Walk
Hike through the National Landmark Forest—a rare hardwood climax forest composed of towering poplars, stately oaks, and sprawling beeches. Guests will learn about ecology, conservation, and Madison's role as an early environmentalist. The trail is a gentle mile loop. $10/person or $5/person with purchase of a mansion ticket. This guided tour begins at 2 PM at the Visitor Center. Dogs on leashes are permitted. 

July 19: Working Woods Walk
Venture deep into the Montpelier Demonstration Forest on a two-hour hike guided by experts in forest conservation. Learn about cultivation strategies that generate mutual benefit to man and nature, both in the Madisons' time and today. $10/person or $5/person with purchase of a mansion ticket. This guided tour begins at 2 PM at the Visitor Center. Dogs on leashes are permitted. 

August 1: Garden & Grounds Tours
Peel back 250 years of landscaping, one layer at a time, to learn about the grounds of Montpelier became a trove of champion trees and unique plantings, cultivated with great care and attention over generations of care and preservation. Begins at 2 PM from the Visitor Center. Free.

August 15: Civil War Trail & Freedman's Farm Walking Tour
Walk in the footsteps of McGowan's Brigade on Montpelier's Civil War Trail, carving a path through archaeological remains of this Confederate winter camp to a reconstructed camp street. Conclude at the cabin and farm of the George Gilmore, born into slavery at Montpelier in 1810 and turned farmer and landowner after Emancipation, on the site of an abandoned Confederate hut. Begins at 2 PM in the parking lot across from the Montpelier Station Train Depot on Route 20. Free.

September 5: Garden & Grounds Tours
Peel back 250 years of landscaping, one layer at a time, to learn about the grounds of Montpelier became a trove of champion trees and unique plantings, cultivated with great care and attention over generations of care and preservation. Begins at 2 PM from the Visitor Center. Free.

September 17: State of the Constitution Lecture
On National Constitution Day, join us in honoring James Madison, Father of the Constitution and Architect of the Bills of Rights, for his leadership in the creation of the U.S. Constitution during this free lecture and panel discussion at the National Archives in our nation's capital. 

September 19: Constitution Day Celebration
Celebrate the anniversary of the U.S. Constitution with family and friends on the historic grounds of Montpelier. Learn, feast, and play during this year's celebration with mansion tours, live music, children's games, and the third annual Taste of Freedom Wine Festival.

October 3: Garden & Grounds Tours
Peel back 250 years of landscaping, one layer at a time, to learn about the grounds of Montpelier became a trove of champion trees and unique plantings, cultivated with great care and attention over generations of care and preservation. Begins at 2 PM from the Visitor Center. Free.

October 10: Journey from Slavery to Freedom
Experience the African American transition from slavery to freedom. Visit sites and original structures that bring to life the generations of enslaved individuals who lived at Montpelier, and learn about America's transition through Emancipation, Reconstruction, segregation, and the Civil Rights Movement. This walking and driving tour will visit sites of enslavement near the mansion, as well as the Gilmore Cabin and the 1910 Train Depot. $10/person or $5/person with purchase of a mansion ticket. This guided tour begins at the 2 PM at the Visitor Center.          

October 18: Big Woods Walk
Hike through the National Landmark Forest—a rare hardwood climax forest composed of towering poplars, stately oaks, and sprawling beeches. Guests will learn about ecology, conservation, and Madison's role as an early environmentalist. The trail is a gentle mile loop. $10/person or $5/person with purchase of a mansion ticket. This guided tour begins at 2 PM at the Visitor Center. Dogs on leashes are permitted. 

October 25: Working Woods Walk
Venture deep into the Montpelier Demonstration Forest on a two-hour hike guided by experts in forest conservation. Learn about cultivation strategies that generate mutual benefit to man and nature, both in the Madisons' time and today. $10/person or $5/person with purchase of a mansion ticket. This guided tour begins at 2 PM at the Visitor Center. Dogs on leashes are permitted.

November 7: The Montpelier Hunt Races
A premier event on the National Steeplechase Association’s circuit, the races are always held on the first Saturday in November.  Learn more at www.montpelierraces.org.

November 21: Civil War Trail & Freedman's Farm Walking Tour
Walk in the footsteps of McGowan's Brigade on Montpelier's Civil War Trail, carving a path through archaeological remains of this Confederate winter camp to a reconstructed camp street. Conclude at the cabin and farm of the George Gilmore, born into slavery at Montpelier in 1810 and turned farmer and landowner after Emancipation, on the site of an abandoned Confederate hut. Begins at 2 PM in the parking lot across from the Montpelier Station Train Depot on Route 20. Free.