Jefferson and Peale
2009 Shaping the World: Conversations on Democracy
Thomas Jefferson and Charles Willson Peale in Conversation
Presented by Poplar Forest, Blue Ridge PBS, Virginia Department of Education, Virginia Virtual Advanced Placement School
Project made possible with funding from The Greater Lynchburg Community Trust
Born two years apart, almost to the day, Peale and Jefferson shared interest in many topics and activities. Both were patriots, archaeologists, scientists, and inventors. They were fascinated with agricultural innovations, science and natural history. Many of the specimens Jefferson received from the Lewis and Clark westward expedition were exhibited in Peale’s natural history and art museum in Philadelphia (founded in 1802), including two live magpies, a live prairie dog and the Mandan buffalo robe.
In 1801 as Jefferson begins his first term in the Presidency, Peale conducts the first scientific exploration in the United States, unearthing the bones of a mastodon. Peale is perhaps best known as an artist, having painted the founding fathers -- Jefferson, George Washington, John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton and others. Close to 1,100 paintings are credited to the talent of Peale.
Jefferson and Peale engage in conversation prompted by eighth grade students from Woodrow Wilson Middle school. Interview questions range from science, art, archaeology, natural history, inventions and gadgets, music, politics, family, public education and American Independence. Students and teachers are invited to join this conversation and learn more about these two talented individuals.
"Shaping the World: Conversations on Democracy" can assist teachers with the following Standards Of Learning
Thomas Jefferson wrote the words “pursuit of happiness” in 1776 at the age of thirty-three. It was an idea that spread around the world to stand for the essence of democracy and the personal stake that each of us has in the workings of our governments. Thirty years later, in the midst of the challenging second term of his presidency, Jefferson sought relief from the burdens of government and public life. He looked to the future and began to design and direct construction of a truly innovative architectural masterpiece at Poplar Forest in Bedford County. Jefferson’s plan brought together architecture and landscape into a sanctuary where he could find rest and leisure, rekindle creativity, spend time with his family, and correspond with friends. He also continued the operation of Poplar Forest as a working plantation, critical to his efforts as a farmer. Several years after Jefferson’s death, his grandson Francis Eppes sold the plantation. Over the years its acreage dwindled and the house underwent structural changes. Today under the guidance of the Corporation for Jefferson’s Poplar Forest, the house and plantation are undergoing state of the art restoration and archaeological investigation. The exterior restoration of the house was completed in 1998 and earned an Honor Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Poplar Forest is a National Historic Landmark and a Virginia Historic Landmark.
Blue Ridge PBS:
Since 1967, Blue Ridge PBS has provided instructional television for western Virginia, and today broadcasts SOL-correlated programs to 41 school divisions with 200,000 students. Blue Ridge PBS works on-site with all communities of learners, including teachers, pre-schoolers, and adult learners. Blue Ridge PBS sponsors Virginia’s JASON Project, Reading Rainbow Young Authors and Illustrators Contest, and the McGlothlin Awards for Teaching Excellence.
Virginia Satellite Educational Network and Virginia Department of Education:
The Virginia Satellite Educational Network (VSEN) provides advanced placement and foreign language courses to K-12 students. Programs that support the Virginia Standards of Learning for students, teachers, and administrators are also delivered through VSEN. The Department of Education and VSEN are pleased to make Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest program available via streaming to students across the Commonwealth and nation.