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Montpelier part of program with Monticello and Smithsonian

Date published: 12/29/2011


The Charlottesville Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau, Monticello and Montpelier have created the Presidents Passport program to build on interest in "Slavery at Jefferson's Monticello: Paradox of Liberty."

The exhibit opens Jan. 27 at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington.

"The passport program brings together two historic sites--Monticello and Montpelier--as key destinations for visitors wanting to continue the conversation about early American history and slavery," said CACVB Executive Director Kurt Burkhart.

A new exhibition at Montpelier is designed to help visitors visualize the areas where domestic and skilled slaves lived and worked during Madison's time. The South Yard includes newly constructed frames of outbuildings including smokehouses, an outdoor kitchen and slave quarters. The frames are located where the original buildings stood.

The area helps tell the story of enslaved community members such as Paul Jennings, the trusted manservant who attended James Madison; Sukey, who attended Dolley; and Ailsey Payne, who cooked in the Madisons' kitchen during their retirement years.

Visitors can also see:

Mount Pleasant, where slaves carved the original Madison family home out of the wilderness

The mansion's cellar kitchens

The slave cemetery

The Gilmore Farm, where emancipated Montpelier slaves settled after the Civil War

The 1910 segregated train depot.

Next spring visitors can also watch an archaeological dig of the agricultural complex in progress.

"Montpelier offers visitors the opportunity to see the broad sweep of the African American journey from slavery to the Jim Crow era in one place. Here they can examine the landscape of slavery, the paradox of liberty, and explore the friendship of the two great men who gave us the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution," said Montpelier President Michael C. Quinn.

"We are excited about partnering with Monticello and the Smithsonian."

Cathy Jett: 540/374-5407
Email: cjett@freelancestar.com