Calendar of Events



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. 


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 site highlights the continuing struggle for African Americans during Reconstruction and the Gilmore family's eventual ownership of the land and citizenship. The Gilmore Cabin is open to visitors 7 days a week beginning June 8 through Labor Day weekend from 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Located on Rt. 20 across from Montpelier's main entrance. Admission is free. Special thanks to the Farkas Foundation for their support of this exhibit. 


Visit with Mr. Madison
Guests may call on Mr. Madison in the mansion's south wing. Mr. Madison will talk with guests about his work in drafting the Constitution and Bill of Rights, his early life, and his supervision of his Montpelier plantation. He will be present on the following dates: July: 18, 25; August: 1, 8, 22, 29; Sept: 12, 19, 26; Oct: 3, 10, 24


2015 Events

This Event Has Been Canceled October 3: Garden & Grounds Tours
Peel back 250 years of landscaping, one layer at a time, to learn about the grounds of Montpelier became a trove of champion trees and unique plantings, cultivated with great care and attention over generations of care and preservation. Begins at 2 PM from the Visitor Center. Free.

This Event Has Been Canceled - October 3-4: Fall Fiber Festival
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 their website for complete details.

October 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 learn about America's transition through Emancipation, Reconstruction, segregation, and 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.          

October 17: Virginia Vignettes, Rick Britton Book Event
In Virginia Vignettes, master storyteller Rick Britton weaves for his readers a wonderfully rich tapestry of colorful people, momentous events, and long-forgotten anecdotes. Virginia Vignettes (Volume I) features: express rider Jack Jouett, First Lady Dolley Madison, young Edgar Allan Poe, local Black Baptist Churches, thrill-seeker B. F. Ficklin, the U.Va. Rotunda Fire, the Civilian Conservation Corps, and Medal of Honor winner Frank Dabney Peregoy. Reception 4:30-5:00 - Visitor Center, Book talk 5:00-5:45 - Potter Theater

October 18: 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 25: 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 7: 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

November 21: 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. 

December 5: 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. Sponsor of Christmas in Orange. 10:00-5:00