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Get Familiar With James Madison’s Montpelier as a Summer ’17 Destination

Summertime is fast approaching and if you haven’t already, you’re probably planning and thinking about the trips you want to take once the temperatures start to rise.

If you’re someone who likes history or enjoys visits to museums and exhibitions, then a visit to James Madison’s Montepelier in Montpelier Station, Virginia should be on your list of summer plans.

James Madison’s Montpelier is the home of Madison who is the father of the Constitution and also the fourth President of the United States. Like many during his time, Madison owned slaves. Montpelier will be opening a new exhibit on June 5 called, ‘The Mere Distinction of Colour,’ which will be different from other exhibitions. I know you’re probably thinking going to an exhibit that focuses on slavery might not be the ideal way you want to spend a summer day, but what sets this apart from others is slave descendants were involved in its creation and it will show the humanity of the enslaved.

It’s not every day you hear about slave descendants being included in the development of a historical exhibit such as this. Another feature is a public archaeology program allowing the descendants as well as the public to dig for artifacts on the grounds where the slaves worked and lived. Artifacts that have already been dug up include coins and tools which are now part of the exhibit.

What you can also expect to see from ‘The Mere Distinction of Colour’ is how this country’s forefathers dealt with slavery and the Constitution.

A few notable members of the Montpelier descendant community include Margaret Jordan, a descendant of Madison’s personal slave, Paul Jennings, who wrote the first White House memoir, “A Colored Man’s Reminiscences of James Madison” in 1865; Hugh Alexander, another descendant of Jennings and whose father was one of Jennings’ sons; Michelle Taylor, who discovered her aunt’s great-grandfather, George Gilmore, was part of Madison’s enslaved community on his estate and among many others, Rebecca Gilmore Coleman, a direct descendant of Gilmore, who was heavily involved in the restoration of the cabin he purchased on nearby property once he was a free man.

To learn more about how you can book a trip to James Madison’s Montpelier, check out the information below:

James Madison’s Montpelier

Hours: 9 am – 5 pm

Address: 11350 Constitution Hwy, Montpelier Station, VA 22957

Directions: Trip planning info available here

Tickets: $7 for kids, $20 for adults