Open Daily, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm – Tickets Are Available Online.

Department of Curatorial & Collections






The Curatorial department researches and acquires objects that help provide context for those who lived at Montpelier, including the Madisons, the duPonts, and enslaved individuals. The Collections department is responsible for the maintenance and preservation of the 5,000 objects on exhibit and in storage at Montpelier.

Curatorial & Collections Projects

Many of the projects our department undertakes are not done within the view of visitors. Our work is seen in the interpretation of the rooms, exhibit cases, and in the care of the objects. Read about our projects to get a behind the scenes look at how exhibits come together and the special objects at Montpelier.

Digging Deeper Blog

Our blog is the place to learn about the day to day projects happening in the Architecture and Historic Preservation department. No two days are the same at Montpelier, so our blog is a place to see what’s happening behind the scenes.

The Pink House

What is the Pink House? Nope, I am not talking about Barbie’s dream house, even though it may look similar. I am actually talking about ...
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The Naming Project: Judy

James Madison received John as a gift from his father, along with John’s mother Sinar and his five siblings. John accompanied Madison to Philadelphia in ...
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Preventative Measures In the House

“Good storage is preventive conservation.”   Storing Objects When you think of museum storage, what do you think of? Do you think of the giant ...
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Garden Statuary Care

Ever wonder how our garden statuary is cared for? Read here to find out more!
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James Madison's Montpelier, Orange County Virginia

Documenting Some Overlooked Buildings at Montpelier

An overview of the first week-long Building Documentation Expedition
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James Madison's Montpelier, Orange County Virginia

Subfloor Pits: Exploring Archaeological Discoveries in the Cellar of the Main House

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Out of Sight, But Not Out of Mind

Dive into collections storage with this in-depth blog all about the ins and outs of storing Montpelier’s decorative arts collection.
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Ten Words with James Madison

How does your vocabulary match up to James Madison’s? Take our Madisonian Vocabulary Quiz and find out!
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What’s in a Number?

When looking at labels in your favorite museum, you might notice that the objects are referred to with specific sets of numbers. Sometimes a combination ...
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Read all of the Curatorial & Collections Blogs

Learn about taking care of the Montpelier collection.

The Team


Jenniffer Powers, BA

Collections Manager
Jenniffer Powers joined Montpelier in May 2014, after completing her degree in Historic Preservation from the University of Mary Washington. As the Collections Manager, Jenniffer works behind the scenes and beyond the ropes to provide care and maintenance for the entirety of the Montpelier Collections – both on display and off display. This includes everything from proper storage to vacuuming textiles, to cleaning silver and sweeping floorcloth! Jenniffer is passionate about making collections and collections management accessible to the public and loves using the Collections Department Instagram account to highlight pieces of the collections both on and off display as well as the work that it takes to preserve the objects and spaces for decades to come!
EChew 2022

Elizabeth Chew, PhD

Senior Director of Museum Programs and Chief Curator
An art historian, she holds a B.A. from Yale, an M.A. from the Courtauld Institute of the University of London, and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has worked at museums and historic sites since 1985, including as a curator at Monticello for thirteen years, and as the Betsy Main Babcock Director of the Curatorial and Education Division at Reynolda House Museum of American Art in Winston-Salem, N.C. She has taught art history at the University of North Carolina, the University of Virginia, James Madison University, Wake Forest University, and Davidson College and published and lectured widely on ways that art and architectural patronage relate to gender, race, and family politics.