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Saturdays and Sundays From 10 A.m. to 4 p.m.
Spend time as Jefferson did—in the home designed as his personal retreat. Read and relax in a historic setting, enjoy complimentary coffee and tea, explore our grounds or engage with special exhibits and vignettes at your own pace. And on Saturdays, join us for parlor talks led by experts on subjects related to Jefferson’s time, including the eventful year of 1819.
A look at The Year 1819
A momentous year, 1819 was fraught with peril: a financial panic gripped the nation—and Jefferson himself; an epidemic ravaged the enslaved community; and the debate on what would become the Missouri Compromise began. Small exhibits, vignettes and parlor talks will be presented throughout the house to tell true stories of the time culled from Jefferson’s letters and journals.
Admission to Winter Weekends (Saturdays and Sundays only from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.—last admittance at 3 p.m.) is $16 for adults; $14 for seniors (ages 65+) and military (must show ID); $8 for college students (must show ID) and teens (ages 12-18); $4 for youth (ages 6-11); and free for children under age 6 and Poplar Forest members.
Parlor Talks Schedule
On Saturdays, join us in the Parlor of Jefferson’s retreat home (or in the Kitchen as noted) for our 2019 Parlor Talks series. Each talk is given by a Poplar Forest expert on a specific topic about Jefferson and his time. All talks are included with admission.
Hearth Cooking In the Kitchen—Jefferson’s Cooks and Poplar Forest Craftsmen
Saturday, March 9
Restoration craftsmen working in house throughout the day
Kitchen Talks at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Who’s cooking in Jefferson’s kitchen? Join Vince Fastabend, Architectural Restoration Supervisor and Kathy Massie, Tour Docent, for an introduction to Jefferson’s enslaved cooks and a demonstration of the 19th-century hearth cooking techniques they employed.
Also speak with one of the current craftsmen working on the Poplar Forest villa restoration; and watch them work, installing molding throughout the house.
Sickness, Drought, Debt, Depression and Disunion: Jefferson’s Trials in 1819
Saturday, January 19 at 1 p.m.
Always philosophical, Jefferson’s optimism was put to the test in 1819, a year with widespread illness, drought, family strife and crumbling finances in his midst, and unmistakably ominous clouds of national disunion on the horizon. How is it that Jefferson did not become paralyzed by despair? As we enter into the bicentennial of this unsettled year, come hear exactly what happened during 1819. Presented by Wayne Gannaway, Director of Programs, Marketing and Grants for Poplar Forest.
Restoring Jefferson’s Carriage Turnaround
Saturday, January 26 at 1 p.m.
Poplar Forest archaeologists have carefully excavated and studied evidence related to Jefferson’s carriage turnaround. Join Eric Proebsting, Ph.D., Director of Archaeology and Landscapes for a look at what they’ve discovered, and learn exciting details about its upcoming restoration, generously supported by the Garden Club of Virginia. When the restoration is complete in early 2019, the north side of Jefferson’s retreat will look as it did during Jefferson’s ownership for the first time in over 200 years.
Jefferson’s Poplar Forest Neighbors
Saturday, February 2 at 1 p.m.
While Poplar Forest wasn’t envisioned as a grand home for many guests, Jefferson often invited neighbors to Poplar Forest to dine with him and his grandchildren and they would return the visits, as well. Join Gail Pond, Poplar Forest’s Collections Manager, for an introduction to Jefferson’s Poplar Forest neighbors and their relationships with Jefferson. Hear true stories about these first friends of Poplar Forest and what their visits were like.
Poplar Forest Craftsmen
Saturday, February 9
Restoration craftsmen working in house throughout the day
Parlor talk at 1 p.m.
Constructing Jefferson’s architectural vision for Poplar Forest between 1806 and 1826 was no small task. Meet the free and enslaved craftsmen responsible for originally bringing that vision to life. Join Travis McDonald, Poplar Forest’s Director of Architectural Restoration, for an introduction to these craftsmen and their work; speak with one of the current craftsmen working on the Poplar Forest villa restoration; and watch him work, installing molding throughout the house.
Saturday, February 16 at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Jefferson wisely warned his granddaughter Cornelia to “Never spend your money before you have it,” but, personally, had much difficulty following his own advice. Join Bill Skinner, a longtime tour docent at Poplar Forest, as he explores the debts Jefferson incurred throughout his adult life. The accumulation of significant debt was a lifelong struggle for Jefferson and a burden for his family after his death.
Hearth Cooking In the Kitchen—Jefferson’s Cooks
Saturday, February 23 at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
What’s cooking in Jefferson’s kitchen? Join Mary Kesler, Coordinator of Themed Tours and Historical Information and Vince Fastabend, Architectural Restoration Supervisor, for an introduction to Jefferson’s enslaved cooks and a demonstration of the 19th-century hearth cooking techniques they employed.
Clothing and Textiles in the Late 18th and Early 19th Centuries
Saturday, March 2 at 1 p.m.
They say clothes make the man or women. Join Dr. Jenn Ogborne, Poplar Forest’s Curator of Archaeological Collections, for a look at the clothing worn by men and women during the late 18th and early 19th centuries and the production of textiles by enslaved people at Poplar Forest. Observe as Dr. Ogborne demonstrates various sewing techniques throughout the day. Examples of reproduction clothing and artifacts from the collection representing the enslaved community and Jefferson’s family, will be on display.