Wikimedia Commons/Carole J. Buckwalter
AAA Editor Notes
James Madison’s Montpelier is at 11350 Constitution Hwy. (SR 20). The 2,650-acre property was the lifelong home of James Madison, fourth president of the United States, Father of the Constitution and architect of the Bill of Rights. Madison and his wife, Dolley—America’s “first” first lady—are buried in the family cemetery.

The David M. Rubenstein Visitor Center houses the Potter Theater, which presents an orientation film, the Joe and Marge Grills Gallery and the William duPont Gallery. Also on the grounds is the Gilmore Cabin. The restored structure was built in the 1870s by George Gilmore, a freed Montpelier slave, and his wife Polly. The 1910 Train Depot houses a Jim Crow exhibit titled In the Time of Segregation.

Ongoing archaeological excavations uncover details of plantation life, and curators continue to work to return the Madisons' furnishings and décor to the home. The cellar houses The Mere Distinction of Colour exhibit while the South Yard—the domestic slave quarters—features re-created slave dwellings, a spinning house, a kitchen and a smokehouse. The grounds also include the Annie duPont Formal Garden, the Stable Quarter, the 200-acre James Madison Landmark Forest, an archaeology lab, a Civil War encampment site, a slave cemetery and more than 8 miles of walking trails through old-growth forests and meadows.

Guided tours are available. Food is available.

Daily 9-5. Closed first 2 weeks in Jan., Thanksgiving and Christmas. Gilmore Cabin open Mon.-Fri. for self-guiding tours, Sat.-Sun. for guided tours, Apr.-Oct. Phone ahead to confirm schedule.
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