A Student of History

December 19, 2007

Jefferson Foundation gets big Grant

Filed under: Early America — John Maass @ 1:43 pm

The Thomas Jefferson Foundation has been awarded a grant of $367,200 by the National Endowment for the Humanities to support the creation of exhibitions, installations, and other interpretive features at the new visitor center currently under construction at Monticello.

The 42,000-square-foot Thomas Jefferson Visitor Center and Smith History Center will serve as the new gateway to Monticello, with enhanced ticketing, educational, exhibition, service, dining, and shopping features in one location. Construction work on the facility, located below the Monticello mountaintop, began late last year and will continue into 2008.
The NEH grant will help fund a set of projects designed to promote a more comprehensive understanding of Thomas Jefferson’s consequential ideas and their implications at Monticello and elsewhere. These include a 9-foot-long, table-height touchable bronze model of the entire Monticello plantation; a permanent exhibition, “To Try All Things”: Jefferson’s American Experiment, featuring more than 200 objects that will illustrate Jefferson’s lifelong efforts to obtain, disseminate, and apply useful knowledge; an interactive animated timeline of Jefferson’s life; and a second animation about Jefferson’s pursuit of knowledge. The NEH grant also will support the development and publication of an expanded visitor’s guide as well as the participation of exhibition designers and consulting historians.
“These additions to our existing interpretive programs will convey to visitors a deeper and critical understanding of Jefferson’s public and private accomplishments in the context of their time,” said Susan R. Stein, Monticello’s Richard Guilder Senior Curator and vice president for museum programs. “We are both pleased and grateful that NEH has decided to support our efforts.”
NEH is an independent grant-making agency of the federal government dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities.
In awarding the grant to Monticello, NEH designated the visitor center interpretive programs a We the People project. We the People is an NEH initiative designed to encourage and strengthen the teaching, study, and understanding of American history and culture through the support of projects that explore significant events and themes and that advance knowledge of the principles that define America.
Monticello’s planning for the visitor center interpretive programs was partially funded by a $40,000 consultancy grant awarded by NEH in 2004.

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