As a kid, I’d heard about Monticello.  We drove out to Virginia one summer for a family vacation, but we didn’t make it there for whatever reason. 
It was a lot of fun to see it all, and I got a chance to use some of the tips from my post at ABC & 123 yesterday.  The Monticello website has some great materials, and I have all sorts of follow up plans for this trip.  I especially like the families and teachers section.

One of the things that has always been an oddity for me about Thomas Jefferson is the ideals he claimed to believe and how he actually lived.  He claimed to abhor slavery and its practices, yet he owned slaves.

I had a great discussion with one of the docents at the museum there, about that, and she pointed out that he didn’t actually buy more slaves, and when possible strived to unite slaves families.  He was a benign slave owner in that he didn’t approve of whipping the slaves.  But, he still did own them.

054The other thing I struggle with about him is the amount of debt he had.  He had so much debt in his lifetime that all he owned had to be sold and auctioned off to pay for his debts.  He left no legacy for his children.

But, with all of that he was a great innovator.  Take the polygraph to the right here.  It was the original copy machine.  I’d say it’s all danged hard to operate.  It takes some practice.

He also designed an absolutely fascinating house with all sorts of conveniences.  The interesting thing I learned today: He wasn’t an inventor so much as a “first adaptor.”  He took other people’s ideas and implemented them in his own house or in other things.

He had doors that opened and closed together using a pulley system, a clock that told the time and the days of the week.

I asked the kids what their favorite parts were, and as always it was different and varied.

Princess like the Discovery Room, which had a salve quarters and reproductions of many of the trade skills to try.  Here she’s cooking in the slave quarters.

Superman loved the house itself, which you can’t take pictures inside of.

Batman loved the ancillary buildings, kitchen, storage rooms, and such where he was allowed to take pictures (believe me, if I showed you those pictures you’d see our trip from a whole new viewpoint, at some point I will share those pictures).

I can’t quite decide what was my favorite.  I really enjoyed looking through it all, and enjoyed the amusing anecdotes we got about him and his family.
And some random pictures to finish the post that amused me (some T.J. quotes) and a smorgasboard of pictures.

9 thoughts on “Monticello

  1. It looks like a great trip. We're hoping to make it there this summer, so thanks for the great tips. I think my kids will enjoy it.
    Kelly at Little Wonders' Days

  2. I really liked reading this post about your trip! I shared it with Lauren, too…she loves learning about Thomas Jefferson and has been interested in Monticello. She wants to visit!

  3. Sounds like a great trip!! I used to live closer to Monticello and never went. Now with kids and just finishing a history unit with Thomas Jefferson, I'm ready to go;)

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