Calendar of Events

For the most up-to-date information about particular events, please contact 540.672.2728.



A Young Nation Stands: James Madison & the War of 1812

A special exhibit at James Madison’s Montpelier will tell the story of James Madison’s Presidency and wartime struggle. Read more...


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 self-guided tour highlights the continuing struggle for African Americans during Reconstruction and the Gilmore family's eventual ownership of the land and citzenshipThe 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.


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. 


2014 Events

July 23-25: Montpelier Seminar "Suffrage in America"
Explore the history of the right to vote in the United States, from the absence of an affirmative right to vote in the Constitution to current debates about election procedures and voter suppression. Lead by Alexander Keyssar, Ph.D., of Harvard Kennedy School.

August 5: Plymouth Fife and Drum Corps
Don't miss this special presentation by the Fife and Drum Corps of Plymouth, Michigan, featuring a selection of American music that spans the last three centuries with an emphasis on the colonial period. This is the youth Corps first performance at Montpelier and is part of their "presidential tour" of the state of Virginia. The performance will take place at 3:30 p.m. on the mansion's front lawn. 

August 8-10: Civil War Encampment
During the winter of 1863 and 1864, Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia camps spread across Orange County. The western-most section of these camps, under the command of General Cademus Wilcox, was at Montpelier. This weekend event includes company drills, a skirmish, a ladies fashion show, and tours and talks by Civil War historians. 

September 3-4: "America Under Fire: Mr. Madison's War & the Burning of Washington City"
Learn about the leadership of James and Dolley Madison during the War of 1812 and how the war helped forge American identity at this two-day bicentennial symposium hosted by The Montpelier Foundation in collaboration with The White House Historical Association and The United States Capitol Historical Society at historic Decatur House in Washington. Leading scholars, including Catherine Allgor, Alan Taylor, Andrew Burstein, and Nancy Isenberg, will share their insights and research. 

September 17: State of the Constitution, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
Celebrate America's most impactful founding document with us on Constitution Day in Washington D.C. at the annual State of the Constitution lecture, sponsored by the Claude Moore Foundation. Join us in a discussion about America's continuing evolution living as a constitutional democracy.

September 20: Constitution Day Celebration
Celebrate the 227th signing of the U.S. Constitution with family, friends, and the Taste of Freedom Wine Festival on the historic grounds of James Madison's Montpelier! Live music, balloon rides, mansion tours, and children's activities will be offered throughout the day. Tastings from Virginia wineries, breweries, ciderhouses will be offered from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. General admission is $10/car. Tasting tickets are $20/person in advance or $25/person at the gate. Ticket information coming soon. 

October 3-5: Montpelier Seminar "The Federal Judiciary: Idea to Institution"
Examine the role of "the judiciary" as one of the three branches of American government with former Oregon Supreme Court Justice Susan M. Leeson and historian Scott Casper, Ph.D. A handful of the core issues covered in this seminar include: creation of the judicial branch and its constitutional ties to the other branches of government; the relationship between the federal judiciary and state judicial systems; the relationship between the Supreme Court and its co-equal branches in the national government; the doctrine of judicial review; and contemporary issues involving the role of federal courts in the American political system.

October 4-5: 27th Annual Fall Fiber Festival and Montpelier Sheep Dog Trails
Love wool? Join us for the Fall Fiber Festival, held opposite the main entrance of Montpelier and the Montpelier Train Depot on VA-Route 20. This family-fun event showcases fiber animals, sheep shearing demos, hands-on crafts demos and workshops for children and adults, sheep dog trials, craft vendors, food, and music.

October 19: Big Woods Walk
Hike through Montpelier’s Landmark Forest—a rare hardwood old growth forest consisting of towering poplars, stately oaks, and sprawling beeches. Learn about ecology, conservation, and Madison's role as an early environmentalist. The trail is a gentle 1-mile loop. $5 with purchase of mansion tour/$10 for Big Woods Walk alone. Begins at 2:00 at Visitor Center.

October 26: Working Woods Walk
Venture deep into the Montpelier Demonstration Forest on a two-hour hike.  Learn from experts about conservation and cultivation strategies that generate mutual benefit to man and nature, both in the Madisons'  time and today. $5 with purchase of mansion tour/$10 for Working Woods Walk alone. Begins at 2:00 at Visitor Center. 

November 1: Montpelier Hunt Races
Join us for the 80th running of the Montpelier Hunt Races, an annual celebration of steeplechase racing and traditional southern hospitality! Seven exciting horse races, Jack Russell Terrier races, stick horse races for the kids, unique shopping and more ensure a whole day of family fun.

November 14-16: Montpelier Seminar "Slavery and the Constitution: From Colonial Slave Codes to the 15th Amendment"
Explore one of the most paradoxical periods in American history through the lens of the U.S. Constitution with J. Holt Merchant, Ph.D., of Washington & Lee University. Participants will examine slave clauses in the Constitution, the federal government's involvement (or lack thereof) with the controversial institution, and how the Constitution at first hindered and then finally enabled a speedy resolution to the problem of slavery. Special emphasis will be given to Lincoln's efforts to limit slavery in a manner that was constitutionally permissible, as well as adoption of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments.