The Retreat

Tours & Exhibits

Your tour of Poplar Forest is certain to deliver you new insights on architecture, 19th-century culture—including an understanding of the enslaved community—and the unique accomplishments of one of our country’s most influential citizens.

Docent-Guided House Tours

A docent-guided house tour gives you an in-depth look at the main level of Jefferson’s retreat home, led by an official Poplar Forest docent. Admission includes a guided tour of the upper level, along with self-guided exploration of the exhibits in the lower level of the house, the Wing of Offices, the ornamental grounds, the 1857 Slave Dwelling and the slave quarter site. As of April 12, 2021, docent-guided house tours will be offered at 10:30 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 1:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., with capacity limited to a maximum of 9 people per tour. Reservations are strongly encouraged.

Self-Guided House Tours

Explore the main level of Jefferson’s retreat home at your own pace, using the Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest app. The app features an audio tour of the main level of the house that can be listened to with headphones or read. Admission includes the app-guided tour of the upper level, along with further self-guided exploration of the exhibits in the lower level of the house, the Wing of Offices, the ornamental grounds, the 1857 Slave Dwelling and the slave quarter site. Please note that the use of headphones is required while using the app to explore the house. The self-guided house tour ticket is currently only available for purchase on-site in the Poplar Forest Museum Shop. Regular admission rates apply.

Enslaved Community Talks

Discover the men, women and children who lived and toiled at Poplar Forest—enslaved individuals who, in the words of Mr. Jefferson, “labor for my happiness.” A specially trained docent will introduce you to the only intact enslaved quarter on the property and tell authentic stories of resistance, survival, and perseverance among the men, women and children enslaved at Poplar Forest. Docents are available on most Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from April through October, either for the talks or to answer visitor questions. Additionally, the Enslaved Community Exhibit Room is open daily for self-guided exploration.

Exhibits

Exhibits that explore archaeology, restoration and the history of Poplar Forest—including that of the enslaved community—are available at the restoration workshop, archaeology laboratory, slave quarter site, 1857 slave dwelling and in the lower level of the house. Access to all exhibits is included in the price of general admission.

Winter Weekends

The retreat house is open for “Winter Weekends: At Home with Mr. Jefferson,” from mid-January to mid-March. Explore the octagonal villa on a guided or self-guided tour, walk the plantation grounds, visit the slave quarter site and browse the exhibits in the lower level of the house and 1857 Slave Dwelling. Winter Weekend hours are 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays only.