Thursday, April 20, 2017

April 22 - Sheep Shearing Day at James Monroe's Highland

Sheep Shearing Day at James Monroe's Highland
A Great Event for Families!

Charlottesville, VA - James Monroe's Highland will have their Annual Sheep Shearing Day on Saturday, April 22 from 11 a.m. to 12:00 noon (rain or shine), with additional activities to follow. Tom Stanley will demonstrate the New Zealand sheep shearing method at this educational, agricultural event. We will also have traditional wool carding and spinning demonstrations for the family following the shearing. Plus, meet the newest lambs to call James Monroe’s Highland home!

If the weather is favorable, visitors are encouraged to enjoy a picnic lunch on the grounds. Bring your own or choose from our selection of fresh sandwiches at the Museum Shop.

Admission to the sheep shearing event is $5 per person. Children under 6 are admitted free. Tickets are available at the door or online at

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

April 22 - Montpelier's Civil War Trail & Gilmore Farm Walking Tour

Saturday, April 22 – 2:00 p.m. – James Madison’s MONTPELIER in Orange, Virginia, presents a FREE “Civil War Trail & Gilmore Farm Walking Tour.” During the latter part of the Civil War, Confederate Brig. Gen. Samual McGowan—considered one of the Army of Northern Virginia’s best brigadiers—and his South Carolina brigade camped in the woods just north of Montpelier. Walk in the footsteps of McGowan's Brigade on Montpelier's Civil War Trail, carving a path through archaeological remains of this Confederate winter camp to a reconstructed camp street. Conclude at the cabin and farm of George Gilmore, born into slavery at Montpelier in 1810 and turned farmer and landowner after Emancipation, on the site of an abandoned Confederate hut. 

FREE and open to the public, this tour begins at the parking lot across from the Montpelier Station Train Depot on Route 20.

Orange, Virginia

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

April 17 - Civil War Round Table - The Last Battle of Winchester

Monday, April 17 – 7 p.m. - THE CHARLOTTESVILLE CIVIL WAR ROUND TABLE hosts historian Scott Parchan speaking on “Phil Sheridan & the Last Battle of Winchester.” Widely regarded as the leading authority on the 1864 Shenandoah Valley Campaign, Patchan is the author of Shenandoah Summer: The 1864 Valley Campaign, and most recently, The Last Battle of Winchester: Phil Sheridan, Jubal Early, and the Shenandoah Valley Campaign, August 7 - September 19, 1864. Fought on September 19, 1864, Third Winchester was a stunning Federal victory. During the action, Union Gen. Philip Sheridan launched a massive cavalry attack—featuring over 6,000 Northern horsemen—that rolled up Confederate Gen. Jubal Early’s left flank. Come hear the authority on this topic!

Monthly CWRT meetings are held the third Monday at Westminster Canterbury of the Blue Ridge on 250 East starting at 7 p.m. Dinner (optional) starts at 6 p.m. Dinner menu: salmon, steak, or crab cakes with salad & desert for $20. For more info call Sandy vonThelen at (434) 971-8567.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

April 13 - Thomas Jefferson's 274th Birthday Celebration at Monticello

Thursday, April 13 – 10 a.m. - MONTICELLO marks Thomas Jefferson’s 274th birthday with a FREE celebration and ceremony on the mountaintop’s beautiful West Lawn, featuring a keynote address by the 2017 recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Citizen Leadership.

Ceremony, celebration, & talk are FREE and open to the public. For complete information about Monticello tours and special events, visit, call (434) 984-9816, or e-mail to

Charlottesville, Virginia

Saturday, April 1, 2017

April 12 - Book Launch at Highland - The Autobiography of James Monroe

Wednesday, April 12 – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. – James Monroe’s HIGHLAND in Charlottesville, VA, celebrates the re-publication of The Autobiography of James Monroe by Syracuse University Press. William M. Ferraro, managing editor of The Papers of George Washington at the University of Virginia, will give a talk about his new introduction to the book. James Monroe re-enactor Dennis Bigelow will also read passages from the autobiography in first-person. The book will be available for purchase and a light reception will follow.

This event is FREE and open to the public, but registration is recommended. RSVP to Nancy Stetz at

April 18 - Day Trip to Washington, DC and the Library of Congress

Tuesday, April 18 – THE SENIOR CENTER of CHARLOTTESVILLE sponsors a fantastic Thomas Jefferson-themed day-trip to Washington, D.C. guided by historian Rick Britton. The morning will find us taking in a special Jefferson-oriented guided tour of the gorgeous Library of Congress featuring, of course, the beautifully re-created book collection that Jefferson sold Congress following the War of 1812. After dining at the U.S. Capitol Cafeteria we’ll visit the Jefferson Memorial across the Potomac.

Tour departs from Charlottesville, VA, at 8:00 a.m. & returns between 5:30 & 6:30 p.m. Sign up today! Charge: Senior Center members: $82.00—guests: $92.00. To sign up, or for more information, call the Senior Center Travel Office at (434) 974-6538, go to, or e-mail

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

April 3, 9-5 “Homeschool Day” at James Madison’s Montpelier

Enjoy a day at Montpelier designed especially for homeschooling families, or any family seeking a fun day out. 
$10/adult, $5/children ages 6-14
Children under 6 are free!
No advance tickets or reservations required! 

Participate in these special events:
  • Take a guided hike of our old growth forest
  • Sit in on the Constitutional Convention
  • Read from James' bookshelf
  • Play colonial games, and much more!
Enjoy our everyday offerings:
  • Guided tours of James and Dolley Madison's beloved home
  • Archaeology lab full of artifacts
  • Museum exhibits
  • Grounds galore for walking, picnicking, and exploring.
Please Note: Homeschool Day is held rain-or-shine. In the event of rain, certain activities will be canceled or moved to alternate locations.

For more information, please contact:
Kyle Stetz, Manager of Student and Family Programs
(540) 672-2728 ext. 402

Sunday, March 26, 2017

March 28 - Speaker: Kevin Gutzman, author "Thomas Jefferson--Revolutionary: A Radical's Struggle to Remake America (Monticello)

(Book) Thomas Jefferson--Revolutionary:
A Radical's Struggle to Remake America
by Kevin R.C. Gutzman

Tuesday, March 28 – 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. - MONTICELLO hosts a FREE talk by Kevin Gutzman (a New York Times best-selling author of four books and Professor of History, Western Connecticut State University) entitled Thomas Jefferson—Revolutionary: A Radical’s Struggle to Remake America (based upon his new book). Perhaps it is easy to view Jefferson as a two-dimensional historical figure, whose life, in hindsight, seems distant and predictable. Yet, much of what we take for granted about the United States today—religious freedom, the accessibility of education, and the size and reach of government—can be traced directly back to Jefferson. His position on both government and society were radical for their time. Simply put, Jefferson was a revolutionary. Thus, in Thomas Jefferson—Revolutionary: A Radical’s Struggle to Remake America, Kevin Gutzman embraces Jefferson’s complexities and gives readers a new perspective on the life and work of Jefferson.

Talk is FREE but registration is required. To register, & for complete information about Monticello tours and special events, visit, call (434) 984-9816, or e-mail to

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

March 22-26: Virginia Festival of the Book - #VABook2017 History Programs (Charlottesville)

Times & Locations at:

*Even though these programs are not all Central Virginia history related, we couldn't resist highlighting our region's Virginia Festival of the Book and its diverse offerings for our history loving fans! Take note of the March 25 Lit Fair--we'll be there with Rick Britton's book!

March 21-June 30: (Photo Exhibit) Through Darkness to Light: Photographs Along the Underground Railroad by photographer Jeanine Michna-Bales.

March 22: Betrayal & Virginian Heroes: 20th Century War Stories - William Geroux (The Mathews Men) and William Walker (Betrayal at Little Gibraltar) share engrossing stories from both world wars, their research behind the books, and why these still matter today.

March 22: Monuments and Memory: How We Share History - Photographer Jeanine Michna-Bales (Through Darkness to Light) and author Colin Rafferty (Hallow This Ground) discuss their work and the role of monuments and memory in creating a sense of shared history.

March 22: In Pursuit of Story: Memoirs and Travelogues - Steven Faulkner (Bitterroot) and Jeffrey Greene (In Pursuit of Wild Edibles) provide historical background and contemporary appreciation for sites of their travels, from the trail of Lewis and Clark to the French countryside and many places in between.

March 23:  Fresh Perspectives on the Civil War - D.H. Dilbeck (A More Civil War: How the Union Waged a Just War), Jon Grinspan (The Virgin Vote: How Young Americans Made Democracy Social, Politics Personal, and Voting Popular in the Nineteenth Century), and Kanisorn Wongsrichanalai (Northern Character: College Educated New-Englanders, Honor, Nationalism, and Leadership in the Civil War Era) will speak on their studies of the Civil War.

March 23: Women Making History: Who Gets to Write Which Stories? - Academic and public historians Catherine Clinton, Claudrena Harold, Dava Sobel, and Susan Southard join in conversation with Corinne Field about pathways available to women writing history.

March 23: Race and Class: A Necessary Dialogue - Lisa Goff (Shantytown, USA), Brooke Obie (Book of Addis), and Lawrence Ross (Blackballed) discuss race and class in America, offering perspectives from fiction, policy and politics, and history, and encouraging thoughtful dialogue on these topics within our community.

March 23:  Civil War: The Governors and the Commanders - Stephen D. Engle (Gathering to Save a Nation: Lincoln and the Union’s War Governors), and Wayne Hsieh and Williamson Murray (A Savage War: A Military History of the Civil War), will discuss their Civil War histories, with the perspective of political and military leaders.

March 23: Warhol and the First Ladies - Feather Schwartz Foster (Mary Lincoln’s Flannel Pajamas and Other Stories from the First Ladies’ Closet) and Claudia Kalb (Andy Warhol Was a Hoarder: Inside the Minds of History’s Great Personalities) share stories from the closets and minds of well-known historic figures.

March 24: It's Complicated: U.S. and U.S.S.R. Relations - Authors Kenneth Ackerman (Trotsky in New York), Richard A. Moss (Nixon’s Back Channel to Moscow) and Louis Sell (From Washington to Moscow) take a look at the long and complicated relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union, including Trotsky’s connections in New York through to the collapse of the USSR.

March 24:  Civil War: Southern Women, Black Regiments and Night Visions - Catherine Clinton (Stepdaughters of History: Southern Women and the American Civil War), Douglas Egerton (Thunder at the Gates: The Black Civil War Regiments That Redeemed America), and Jonathan W. White (Midnight in America: Darkness, Sleep, and Dreams during the Civil War) will all present and discuss their new works on the Civil War.

March 24: Indian Wars, Firearms and the Early American Arms Race - David J. Silverman (Thundersticks) and Laura Trevelyan (The Winchester) discuss the Indian Wars, the history of firearms in America, and how they overlapped to launch an Indian arms race.

March 24: Battles Worth Fighting: Civil Rights and Journalism - Authors Jim Obergefell (Love Wins), Patricia Hruby Powell (Loving Vs. Virginia), and Anya Schiffrin (Global Muckraking: 100 Years of Investigative Journalism From Around the World) provide varied perspectives on world-changing stories.

March 24: Touching Land and Nature - Ben Kessler (Rivers of Wind) and Denise Low (The Turtle’s Beating Heart) share lyrical stories of the past and of nature, heritage, and memory. Their writing is both timeless and urgent.

March 24: Activism and Leadership: African Americans During Jim Crow - Authors Claudrena Harold (New Negro Politics in the Jim Crow South), Richard Rosen & Joseph Mosnier (coauthors, Julius Chambers), and Elizabeth Dowling Taylor (The Original Black Elite) explore the life stories and life’s work of nineteenth and twentieth century black leaders.

March 24: Witches, Patriots, and Partisanship: Early American History - Robert McDonald (Confounding Father), John Ragosta (Patrick Henry), and Benjamin Ray (Satan & Salem) share the research and stories behind their current books.

March 24: Historic Crime: Sherlock, Poison, and Music - Holly Tucker (City of Light, City of Poison), Michael Sims (Arthur and Sherlock), and Richard Underwood (CrimeSong) share stories of detective creation, stories of true and historic crimes, and stories behind crimes you may have sung about.

March 24: Reading Under the Influence with Jack Hamilton - Jack Hamilton (Just Around Midnight: Rock and Roll and the Racial Imagination) discusses his work from 9:30-10:00 PM, followed by a live deejay set by Grits and Gravy’s Robin Tomlin.

March 25: Book Signings at the Lit Fair in the Charlottesville Omni - For the first time at the Virginia Festival of the Book, selected speakers with programs held elsewhere during the Festival will also sign books during the Lit Fair on Saturday, March 25, in half-hour time slots.

NOTE:  Stop by the Cedar Creek Publishing booth at the #VABook2017 Lit Fair! We will have copies of Rick Britton's book, Virginia Vignettes: Famous Characters & Events in Central Virginia History. Special Festival Price: $10 each!

March 25: The Tragedy of Racism and Racial Violence - Charles B. Dew (The Making of a Racist: A Southerner Reflects on Family, History, and the Slave Trade), Jason Morgan Ward (Hanging Bridge: Racial Violence and America’s Civil Rights Century), and Marjory Wentworth (We Are Charleston: Tragedy and Triumph at Mother Emanuel) examine questions of race, civil rights, and horrific violence.

March 25:  Nuclear War: Survivors, Resistors, and Current Peril - Susan Southard (Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War), Caren Stelson (Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story), and Dan Zak (Almighty: Courage, Resistance, and Existential Peril in the Nuclear Age) will present and discuss their new work in regards to the Nuclear Age.

March 25:  Pop Life: Cultural Influences of Media - Camilla Fojas (Zombies, Migrants, and Queers), Glenn Frankel (High Noon), and Jack Hamilton (Just Around Midnight) discuss different elements of pop culture and how they help define social and political beliefs.

March 25: True Stories of the Jim Crow South: Beth Macy & Patrick Phillips - Beth Macy (Truevine) and Patrick Phillips (Blood at the Root) discuss their books that unveil a history of racial terrorism in the in the Jim Crow South.

March 25: Civil Protests, Bloody Responses: Kent State and Selma -  Howard Means (67 Shots: Kent State and the End of American Innocence) and Robert Pratt (Selma’s Bloody Sunday: Protest, Voting Rights, and the Struggle for Racial Equality) share events of American civil protests that resulted in bloodshed, histories of protest and reaction that remain relevant today.

March 26: A Revolution in Color: The World of John Singleton Copley - Jane Kamensky reveals the divided loyalties, tangled sympathies of the American Revolution in the eyes of colonial America’s premier painter. Copley’s life and career mirrored the Revolution’s spectacular rises and devastating downfalls, yet he remains a premier figure in artistic legacies even today.

March 26: Touching History: Richard Rabinowitz on Curating America - Richard Rabinowitz (Curating America: Journeys through Storyscapes of the American Past) will discuss his work in creating more than 500 history museums, exhibitions, and educational programs, including how one shapes and informs the narrative, making history touchable. Rabinowitz will be in conversation with Ed Ayers.

The Virginia Festival of the Book brings readers and writers together for a five-day celebration of books, reading, literacy, and literary culture. The 23rd Annual Festival will be held March 22-26, 2017.

Produced by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (VFH), the largest of the 56 state (and territory) humanities councils, the Festival is a program of the Virginia Center for the Book, an affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

The Festival is the largest community-based book event in the Mid-Atlantic region and has attracted audiences of more than 20,000 for each of the past thirteen years. We have presented a captivating list of authors, ranging from international bestsellers to topical specialists to debut authors. An abbreviated list of past participants includes Rick Atkinson, Edward Ayers, David Baldacci, Maureen Corrigan, Edwidge Danticat, Kate DiCamillo, Rita Dove, Alan Furst, John Grisham, Jan Karon, Jim Lehrer, Frances Mayes, Colum McCann, David McCullough, Alice McDermott, Katherine Paterson, Jon Scieszka, Lisa Scottoline, Pete Seeger, Karin Slaughter, Alexander McCall Smith, Lee Smith, Bryan Stevenson, Elizabeth Strout, Judith Viorst, and Charles Wright.

Programs range from traditional author readings and book signings to children’s programs and hands-on workshops. All programs are open to the public and, with the exception of a few ticketed events, the majority of Festival programs are free to attend.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

March 20 - Speaker: Eric Campbell, "The Fatal Halt at Cedar Creek" (Charlottesville)

Jubal Early

Monday, March 20 – 7 p.m. - THE CHARLOTTESVILLE CIVIL WAR ROUND TABLE hosts Cedar Creek Battlefield park historian Eric Campbell speaking on “The Fatal Halt at Cedar Creek.” Fought on October 19, 1864, the Battle of Cedar Creek pitted an 18,000-man Confederate army under Jubal Early against a 30,000-man force led by Union Gen. Philip Sheridan. “Little Phil” was away from his command, however, and “Old Jube” planned an excellent early morning surprise flank attack that went really well—driving several Union Corps from their camps, capturing 1,300 prisoners, and 18 pieces of artillery—until . . . the fatal halt. Come hear this fantastic story!

Monthly CWRT meetings are held the third Monday at Westminster Canterbury of the Blue Ridge on 250 East starting at 7 p.m. Dinner (optional) starts at 6 p.m. Dinner menu: salmon, steak, or crab cakes with salad & desert for $20. For more info call Sandy vonThelen at (434) 971-8567.

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Genius of Thomas Jefferson - A Lecture Series by Rick Britton

Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, March 7 – 3:00 p.m. – THE SENIOR CENTER of CHARLOTTESVILLE begins a brand new class: “The Genius of Thomas Jefferson.” The lecturer is historian Rick Britton, author of the award-winning Jefferson, A Monticello Sampler. It’s the perfect class for both recent transplants and local history buffs who want to delve a bit deeper!

Despite being born in the Virginia backcountry, Jefferson became one of America’s most brilliant Founding Fathers. We’ll examine his most famous and notable achievement—authorship of the Declaration of Independence—and we’ll explore many of his lesser-known accomplishments such as the dredging of the Rivanna River, the founding of the U.S. Patent Office, and designing of the Virginia State Capitol. We’ll also learn about Jefferson’s foray into the fascinating science of paleontology. Join us as we explore “The Genius of Thomas Jefferson!”   

• Tues., March 7 - 3:oo pm – “Jefferson’s Greatest Hits: Accomplishments Galore!”
• Tues., March 14 - 3:oo pm – “Jefferson’s Greatest Hits: Part Two!”
• Tues., March 21 - 3:oo pm – “Jefferson, the Declaration, & the Fourth of July” 
• Tues., March 28 - 3:oo pm – “Jefferson, Father of the American West”
• Tues., April 4 - 3:oo pm –  “The Megalonyx Jeffersonii: Jefferson’s Great Claw”
• Tues., April 18 – Travel Session: A fabulous day-trip to downtown Washington to see the recreation of Jefferson’s book collection at the gorgeous Library of Congress, and the stunningly beautiful Jefferson Memorial. For lunch we’ll dine at the U.S. Capitol Cafeteria. (Tour departs 8:00 a.m., returns between 5:30 & 6:30 p.m. Travel Session is a separate charge. Note that Library of Congress tour is limited to 25 participants.)

Sign up today! The class will be held at the Senior Center Inc. beginning on Tues., March 7, 3:00–4:00 pm. Charge: Senior Center members: $70.00—guests: $80.00. To register, or for more information, call the Senior Center Travel Office at (434) 974-6538, go to, or e-mail

Image credit

Stonewall & the 1862 Battle of McDowell, VA

Monday, February 20 – 7 p.m. - THE CHARLOTTESVILLE CIVIL WAR ROUND TABLE hosts Keven Walker, CEO of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, speaking on “Stonewall & the 1862 Battle of McDowell, Va.” Fought on May 8, 1862, the Battle of McDowell witnessed an uphill attack by an outnumbered Union force. Despite winning the day, Jackson was unable to mount an effective pursuit. The Charlottesville CWRT is a wonderful organization of history enthusiasts who get together to dine (optional) and enjoy a presentation on our nation’s fascinating Civil War. Visitors can come the first time for free, children are welcome. Individual year-long memberships are $25.00 (a great deal).

Monthly CWRT meetings are held the third Monday at Westminster Canterbury of the Blue Ridge on 250 East starting at 7 p.m. Dinner (optional) starts at 6 p.m. Dinner menu: salmon, steak, or crab cakes with salad & desert for $20. For more info call Sandy vonThelen at (434) 971-8567.

Madison and the Constitution - President's Day

Presidents’ Day Weekend- Sat. Feb. 18 to Mon. Feb 20 –MONTPELIER is offering tours every half hour from 10 a.m.  - 4 p.m. The specialty tours include (at 10:30 a.m. each day): "Madison and the Constitution."  Liberty, democracy, and the ideas that inspired a nation and changed the world come alive in this tour. Gain a deeper understanding of one of our country’s most influential documents, and the man who inspired its creation.

Tour costs $20 for adults, $7 for children 6-14, and is FREE for kids under 6. James Madison's Montpelier is located on Route 20 in Orange, Virginia, 4 miles south of Orange, 25 minutes north of Charlottesville, and 2 hours south of Washington, D.C., at 11407 Constitution Highway, Montpelier Station, VA 22957. For more information go to or call (540) 672-2728 x450.

Portrait of James Madison by John Vanderlyn

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Trusty Servants: The Life and Work of Enslaved Manservants to the Presidents
Feb 16, 2017, 4-5pm - Emmanuel Dabney, National Park Service Historian,
guest lecturer at Highland, the Home of James Monroe, Charlottesville, VA

Thursday, February 16 – 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.– HIGHLAND the Home of JAMES MONROE is hosting a lecture by National Park Service historian Emmanuel Dabney titled “Trusty Servants: The Life and Work of Enslaved Manservants to the Presidents.” Throughout the history of slavery in America, some medium to large-scale slaveholders used certain enslaved people as personal servants. The subject of this talk focuses on several of the valets of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe.
Emmanuel has given many programs on the issues facing African-Americans in antebellum, wartime, and immediate post-war America.

Although free and open to the public, advanced registration is recommended. Please RSVP to Nancy Stetz at Highland, located at 2050 James Monroe Pkwy., is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. April through October, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. November through March. Admission is regularly $14 and $8 for local residents. For more information, visit, call (434) 293-8000, or contact Events Manager Jason Woodle (

Monday, January 23, 2017

Slavery & Freedom: Monticello and the NMAAHC - Presentation by John Franklin

Saturday, February 4 – 2:00 to 3:15 p.m. - MONTICELLO hosts John Franklin speaking on “Slavery & Freedom: Monticello and the National Museum of African American History & Culture” (in Washington, D.C.). Come hear an insider’s view on the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. John W. Franklin, Senior Manager in the museum's Office of External Affairs, shares the exciting happenings at the newest museum on the National Mall. Held at the Milstein Theater at the David M. Rubenstein Visitor Center at Monticello.

Talk is free and open to the public but online registration is required. For complete information about Monticello tours and special events, visit, call (434) 984-9816, or e-mail to