Jefferson’s Monticello Opens New Visitor Center

Posted April 10, 2009 at 1:31pm

Thomas Jefferson’s 266th birthday will also be celebrated at his home this week. Monticello, the third president’s estate near Charlottesville, Va., will host the grand opening of the Thomas Jefferson Visitor Center and Smith Education Center on Wednesday.

The day’s special events will include remarks by Annette Gordon-Reed, author of “The Hemingses of Monticello— and “Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings,— and by Michael Beschloss, author of “Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America 1789-1989.—

Other activities will include period fiddle music, a hot-air balloon replicating the one that Jefferson designed and songs from the Combined Choir of the Union Run Baptist Church in Keswick, formed after the Civil War by former Monticello slaves.

The visitor center offers a cafe, gift shop and ticketing. In addition, there are a film introducing Jefferson, four exhibits and a hands-on activity room for children. Tickets to the grand opening are free, but reservations are necessary.