Friday, June 18, 2010

Thomas Jefferson's Monticello Visitor Center

After nearly a decade of planning, the Thomas Jefferson Visitor Center and Smith Education Center had its Grand Opening last year on April 15, 2009. We visited a month after it opened and visited again a couple of weeks ago. View Thomas Jefferson's Monticello Visitor Center Photo Album.

Information about the center from their website:

The new center serves as the 21st-century gateway to Jefferson’s timeless Monticello, with multiple components that transform the visitor experience by preparing guests for their trips to the historic mountaintop through dynamic content presenting fresh perspectives on Monticello and the enduring significance of Jefferson’s life and ideas.

Emphasizing the power of place and the strength of ideas, these all-new features highlight Jefferson’s accomplishments, his beliefs about liberty and their global relevance today, the wider community of people – both enslaved and free – who lived on the plantation, and the remarkable house and landscapes of Monticello. Curators and historians on the Monticello staff developed the content of the interpretive and educational elements.

Located on the lower slope of Monticello mountain, the center comprises five pavilions around a central courtyard. The three-level, 42,000-square-foot complex follows the contour of its hillside setting and blends into the wooded landscape with natural building materials, two “green” roofs, and other environmentally sensitive elements.

The center’s visitor amenities include a cafĂ© with indoor and outdoor seating, a spacious gift shop, and an indoor ticket and information counter.

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