The Montpelier Foundation formed in 2000 with the goal of transforming James Madison’s historic estate, a property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, into a dynamic cultural institution capable of stewarding the 2,650-acre property and engaging the public with the enduring legacy of Madison’s most powerful idea: government by the people.
Between 2003-2008 The Montpelier Foundation undertook one of the largest historic building restoration projects of its kind, returning Montpelier’s main house to the era of James Madison’s retirement, between 1816-1836, and reintroducing the public to the home that James and Dolley Madison loved so dearly.
In 2003, the Foundation also launched the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution, which was created on the Madisonian principle that the success of a democratic society relies on an engaged and educated public. The Center creates innovative programs and experiences that inspire civic engagement and deepen the public’s understanding of the U.S. Constitution. To date the Center has trained over 45,000 participants from every state and over 90 countries.
In 2012, after nearly two decades of engagement with the descendants of people held in slavery at Montpelier and rigorous archaeological and documentary research, the Foundation, with the support of patriotic philanthropist David M. Rubenstein, began the process of reconstructing the physical landscape of slavery. Montpelier is committed to telling the history of the enslaved community and its descendants’ struggle for freedom and equal rights from the Founding Era to the present.
Each year, over 125,000 visitors come to Montpelier to experience its rich history, picturesque landscape, and dynamic programs. We hope you will support our work by becoming a member of the Montpelier Foundation.