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. 

 

2016 Events

January 31: 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 tour begins at 2 PM at the Visitor Center. Dogs on leashes are permitted.

February 13-15: Presidents' Day Celebration
Learn more about Madison's role as Father of the Constitution on the Madison and the Constitution Tour on Monday at 1 PM. Tour fees: $20/adult; $7/child; free/under 6.

February 13-15: Montpelier Celebrates Black History Month
 In honor of Black History Month, Montpelier is offering special tours highlighting the arc of African American citizenship. Visit sites and original structures that bring to life the generations of enslaved individuals who lived at Montpelier, and discover their experiences as they transitioned through Emancipation and Reconstruction, into Jim Crow segregation, and finally, through the Civil Rights Movement. Journey from Slavery to Freedom Tour on Saturday at 2 PM; Madison and Slavery on Sunday at 1 PM; and Madison and the Constitution on Monday at 1 PM. Visit the Gilmore Cabin & Freedman's Farm on Saturday to learn more about the struggle for African Americans during Reconstruction. 

February 13: Journey from Slavery to Freedom Tour
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 discover their experiences as they transitioned through Emancipation and Reconstruction, into Jim Crow segregation, and finally, through 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. This guided tour begins at 2 PM at the Visitor Center.

February 14: Hugh Howard Book Talk
Join author and historian Hugh Howard for his talk "Portraits of a Marriage: James and Dolley Madison." He has written numerous books in the fields of history and architecture, including Mr. and Mrs. Madison’s War: America’s First Couple and the War of 1812 and Houses of the Presidents. Begins at 1:30 PM in the Visitor Center. Admission is free of charge, but attendance is limited. Please RSVP to Karen Costello at kcostello@montpelier.org or (540) 672-4370.

February 26-28: 151st Commemoration of McGowan's Brigade Winter Camp
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 and was occupied by General Samuel McGowan’s South Carolina brigade. Visitors are requested to park at Gilmore Farm or across from the 1910 Train Depot on Route 20. More information and the full schedule of events will be forthcoming.
 
February 27: Civil War Mansion Tour
Through the lens of the Montpelier mansion, trace the sequence of events, decisions, and compromises that led from Madison's work to create the Union, to its near destruction in the Civil War. Discover Madison's view of the Union, his struggle to preserve it, and the greatest challenge it ever faced. This guided tour begins at 11 AM in the Visitor Center.

February 27: 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.
 
March 16: James Madison's Birthday
Commemorate the 265th 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. A special tour highlighting Madison's role as Father of the Constitution will be offered at 11 AM and 3 PM.
 
March 28: Homeschool Day
This day is designed especially 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. 9 AM to 5 PM. $10/adults; $5 children 6-14; and free children 5 and under. For more information, visit our website at www.montpelier.org/visit/homeschool
 
April 2: Historic Landscape Tour
Peel back 250 years of landscaping, one layer at a time, to learn how the grounds of Montpelier evolved through generations of owners from a working plantation to a trove of champion trees and unique plantings. Begins at 1 PM at the Visitor Center. Free.

April 9: Journey from Slavery to Freedom Tour
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 discover their experiences as they transitioned through Emancipation and Reconstruction, into Jim Crow segregation, and finally, through 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. This guided tour begins at 2 PM at the Visitor Center.

April 10: 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.
 
April 17: 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 23: Civil War Mansion Tour
Through the lens of the Montpelier mansion, trace the sequence of events, decisions, and compromises that led from Madison's work to create the Union, to its near destruction in the Civil War. Discover Madison's view of the Union, his struggle to preserve it, and the greatest challenge it ever faced. This guided tour begins at 11 AM in the Visitor Center.

April 23: 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.
 
April 23-30: Historic Garden Week
Each spring, visitors are welcomed to over 250 of Virginia's most beautiful gardens, homes, and historic landmarks during "America's Largest Open House." The Town of Culpeper, a scenic 25-minute drive to Montpelier, is the home to this year’s local tour. Be sure to include a visit to Montpelier to enjoy the Annie duPont Formal Garden, originally designed for the Madisons by French landscaper Bizet. After William duPont's purchase of Montpelier in 1901, wife Annie duPont transformed the space into an early 20th-century formal garden. Later, Annie's daughter, Marion duPont Scott, commissioned noted landscape architect Charles Gillette to design several perennial beds. Montpelier's grounds and gardens are open to the public year-round at no charge.
 
May 7: Historic Landscape Tour
Peel back 250 years of landscaping, one layer at a time, to learn how the grounds of Montpelier evolved through generations of ownetrs from a working plantation to a trove of champion trees and unique plantings. Begins at 1 PM at the Visitor Center. Free.    
 
May 7-8: Montpelier Wine Festival
The best wineries in Central Virginia come to one place for family fun and tastings. Held annually on the grounds of Montpelier, the Festival has arts and crafts booths, food vendors, and children's entertainment and rides all day. Co-hosted by the Orange County Chamber of Commerce. Visit the website for the full schedule of events at http://www.montpelierwinefestival.com.

May 20: Dolley Madison's 248th Birthday
Celebrate the anniversary of Dolley Madison's birthday with special tours and cupcakes! Per Montpelier tradition, those named Dolley receives complimentary admission.

June 4: Historic Landscape Tour
Peel back 250 years of landscaping, one layer at a time, to learn how the grounds of Montpelier evolved through generations of owners from a working plantation to a trove of champion trees and unique plantings. Begins at 1 PM at the Visitor Center. Free.

June 11: Civil War Mansion Tour
Through the lens of the Montpelier mansion, trace the sequence of events, decisions, and compromises that led from Madison's work to create the Union, to its near destruction in the Civil War. Discover Madison's view of the Union, his struggle to preserve it, and the greatest challenge it ever faced. This guided tour begins at 11 AM in the Visitor Center.

June 11: 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.

June 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 discover their experiences as they transitioned through Emancipation and Reconstruction, into Jim Crow segregation, and finally, through 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.    

July 2: Historic Landscape Tour
Peel back 250 years of landscaping, one layer at a time, to learn how the grounds of Montpelier evolved through generations of owners from a working plantation to a trove of champion trees and unique plantings. Begins at 1 PM at the Visitor Center. Free.

July 8-August 31: Kids are Free this Summer
Montpelier is offering free admission to all children (14 and under) who visit with a paying adult. Kids are Free promotion applies exclusively to any Daily Tour. All visitors are asked to check in at the Visitor Center.
 
July 10: 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 17: 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 6: Historic Landscape Tour
Peel back 250 years of landscaping, one layer at a time, to learn how the grounds of Montpelier evolved through generations of owners from a working plantation to a trove of champion trees and unique plantings. Begins at 1 PM at the Visitor Center. Free.

September 3: Historic Landscape Tour
Peel back 250 years of landscaping, one layer at a time, to learn how the grounds of Montpelier evolved through generations of owners from a working plantation to a trove of champion trees and unique plantings. Begins at 1 PM at the Visitor Center. Free.

September 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 discover their experiences as they transitioned through Emancipation and Reconstruction, into Jim Crow segregation, and finally, through 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.

September 15: Tenth Annual 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 Washington, D.C. Registration information will be forthcoming.

September 17: 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 fireworks.

October 1: Historic Landscape Tour
Peel back 250 years of landscaping, one layer at a time, to learn how the grounds of Montpelier evolved through generations of owners from a working plantation to a trove of champion trees and unique plantings. Begins at 1 PM at the Visitor Center. Free.

October 1-2: Fall Fiber Festival and Montpelier Sheep Dog Trials
Great workshops for adults and children, animal exhibits, sheep dog trials, hands-on demonstrations, a fleece sale, fiber and crafts vendors, music and more. Visit http://fallfiberfestival.org/ for complete details.
 
October 8: Journey from Slavery to Freedom Tour
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 discover their experiences as they transitioned through Emancipation and Reconstruction, into Jim Crow segregation, and finally, through 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. This guided tour begins at 2 PM at the Visitor Center.     
 
October 15: Civil War Mansion Tour
Through the lens of the Montpelier mansion, trace the sequence of events, decisions, and compromises that led from Madison's work to create the Union, to its near destruction in the Civil War. Discover Madison's view of the Union, his struggle to preserve it, and the greatest challenge it ever faced. This guided tour begins at 11 AM in the Visitor Center.

October 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.

October 16: 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 23: 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 5: 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 24: Thanksgiving Day - closed

December 3: Christmas Open House
Tour the mansion for a very special introduction to the holiday season for you and your family. Visit with Santa Claus, enjoy live music, kids’ crafts, and seasonal food. 10 AM to 5 PM. Free.

December 25: Christmas Day - closed

December 26-January 1: Kids are Free after Christmas
Montpelier is offering free admission to all children (14 and under) who visit with a paying adult. Kids are Free promotion applies exclusively to any Daily Tour. All visitors are asked to check in at the Visitor Center.