What you should know before you visit James Madison's Montpelier
Guidelines and Tips
Spending time at Montpelier involves a fair amount of walking and standing. To ensure the best experience for every guest, we ask that you observe the following:
Smoking is allowed in designated areas only, situated outside the Visitor Center and and in the back lawn of the mansion.
Photography and video are permitted on the grounds of Montpelier. Casual, non-flash photography for personal use, on a cell phone, tablet, or camera is permitted in the House and Gallery spaces at the discretion of Montpelier staff. Audio or video recording is not permitted in the House or Gallery spaces. Commercial or group tour photography must be authorized prior to visit. Tripods, selfie sticks, large camera bags, camera equipment, and video cameras are not permitted in the House and Gallery spaces. Photos and video are only allowed for your personal use. Requests for commercial use should be forwarded to our Communications Department using this form.
Food, drink, and chewing gum are prohibited in the House.
Eating, drinking, and flash photography are prohibited in the galleries.
Cell phones must be on silent or vibrate mode while inside the House.
Service animals are permitted throughout the property. Leashed dogs that are not service animals are welcome on the grounds, but are not permitted indoors. Pet owners are asked to curb their dogs.
Can I visit and not take a tour?
Absolutely. Explore the 8+ miles of trails that traverse the Montpelier property, go for a run, or enjoy the scenery. You'd be remiss, however, not to take one of our tours, led by interpreters knowledgeable about all things James Madison.
What are the colors of the paints used at Montpelier?
Best Commercial Match: Benjamin Moore #OC-11 “Clay Beige”
Yellow Exterior Doors:
Best Commercial Match: Sherwin-Williams #SW2343 “Grillework Gold”
Brown Exterior Doors:
Best Commercial Match: Benjamin Moore #HC-73 “Plymouth Brown”
Best Commercial Match: Pratt and Lambert Williamsburg Color Collection CW 423 “Buffet Green”
Best Commercial Match: Pratt and Lambert Williamsburg Color Collection #704
Best Commercial Match: Benjamin Moore #HC-167 “Amherst gray”
Interior Doors: Yellow Ocher
Benjamin Moore #2165-30 “Golden Retriever”
Wall Color in North Passage (Upper and Lower) and Large Bedroom:
Best Commercial Match: Benjamin Moore # 2161-40 “acorn yellow” (Flat)
Nelly’s Best Room Closet:
Best Commercial Match: Benjamin Moore #HC-151 “Buckland Blue”
Can you suggest some good books about the Madisons and Montpelier?
There are many excellent books available at the Montpelier Visitor Center, including The Madisons at Montpelier: Reflections on the Founding Couple by Ralph Ketcham; James Madison: A Life Reconsidered by Lynne Cheney; and A Perfect Union: Dolley Madison and the Creation of the American Nation by Catherine Allgor.
Is Montpelier handicapped accessible?
James Madison's Montpelier strives to provide the best possible accessibility to the Mansion, grounds, and facilities to meet our visitors' diverse abilities and needs. However, spending time at Montpelier does involve a fair amount of standing and walking, including a 2/3-mile round-trip walk with an incline from the Visitor Center to the Mansion. Although all paths in the visitor areas are wheelchair accessible, there may be uneven surfaces and steep grades that some might find difficult.
There are eight handicapped parking spaces available at the Visitor Center.
Accessible restrooms, each with a water fountain nearby, are located in the Visitor Center and near the mansion.
Visiting with Infants
Baby changing stations are available at bathrooms in the Visitor Center and at the satellite facility near the mansion. Strollers are not allowed in the mansion. No food or drink other than water is allowed in the mansion and water bottles must remain closed.
Visitors with limited mobility are advised to build extra time into their schedule.
All paths in visitor areas are wheelchair accessible. The mansion is three stories, including the cellars. The first floor and cellar of the mansion are wheelchair accessible; a handheld dvd experience is available for those who cannot climb to the second story. If you need assistance with mobility, we recommend that you bring your own wheelchair. Standard wheelchairs are available at the Visitor Center at no extra charge on a first-come, first-served basis.
The introductory film at the Visitor Center is closed-captioned. Printed house tour scripts are also available for the deaf and hearing-impaired.
Blind and partially sighted visitors can experience their tour with the added touch of objects and more in-depth visual descriptions.
Certified service dogs are allowed in the house when utilized for assisted care.
How can I find out more about other branches of the Madison family?
The National Society of James Madison Descendants maintains the official website for the living collateral descendants of James Madison, with genealogical information and useful links (http://www.jamesmadisonfamily.com).
What is the photo and video policy at Montpelier?
Casual, non-flash photography for personal use, on a cell phone, tablet or camera is permitted in the House and Gallery spaces at the discretion of Montpelier staff. Audio or video recording is not permitted in the House or Gallery spaces. Commercial or group tour photography must be authorized prior to visit. Tripods, selfie sticks, large camera bags, camera equipment, and video cameras are not permitted in the House and Gallery spaces.