Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden
National Museum of American History
This exhibition of more than 900 objects related to the 43 men who have held the nation's highest office explores the public, personal, ceremonial, and executive boundaries of the presidency. Composed of 11 thematic sections, the exhibition addresses such topics as inaugural celebrations, presidential roles, life at the White House, limits of presidential power, assassinations and mourning, the influence of the media, and life after the presidency.
Highlights include the lap desk Thomas Jefferson used to draft the Declaration of Independence, Abraham Lincoln's life mask and top hat, Lewis and Clark compass, the horse-drawn carriage that carried Ulysses S. Grant in his second inaugural parade in 1873, a radio microphone used by Franklin D. Roosevelt to give his fireside chats during World War II, an early teddy bear (named after Theodore Roosevelt), and Bill Clinton's saxophone. To mark the centennial of Ronald Reagan's birth, two small cases featuring objects related to his campaign and inauguration were added on February 6, 2011.
Videos, including an introductory video welcoming visitors to the exhibition
Catalogue: $50 (cloth); $24.95 (paper)
Satellite Museum Store (new location west of exhibition entrance)
National Portrait Gallery
This exhibition displays multiple images of the 43 presidents of the United States, including the greatest historical painting in our nation's history, Gilbert Stuart's "Lansdowne" portrait of George Washington. Also included are whimsical sculptures of Presidents Johnson, Carter, and Nixon by caricaturist Pat Oliphant. Five presidents are given expanded attention because of their significant impact on the office: Washington, Andrew Jackson, Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Audio and video interpretive materials augment the exhibition.
Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello: Paradox of Liberty
January 27, 2012 - TBA
African American History and Culture Gallery, 2nd Floor, East Wing (American History Museum)
This exhibition explores slavery and enslaved people in America through the lens of Jefferson’s Monticello plantation. Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence and called slavery an “abominable crime,” yet he was a lifelong slaveholder. In an age inspired by the Declaration of Independence, slavery was pervasive -- 28% of the American population was enslaved in 1790. The exhibition provides a glimpse into the lives of 6 slave families living at Monticello and reveals how the paradox of slavery in Jefferson’s world is relevant for generations beyond Jefferson’s lifetime.
Museum objects, works of art, documents, and artifacts found through archaeological excavations at Monticello provide a look at enslaved people as individuals -- with names, deep family and marital connections, values, achievements, religious faith, a thirst for literacy and education, and tenacity in the pursuit of freedom. The family stories are brought to the present via Monticello’s Getting Word oral history project, which interviewed 170 descendants of those who lived in slavery on Jefferson’s plantation.
This exhibition is organized by the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello.
THOMAS JEFFERSON, 1805/1821, by Gilbert Stuart, NPG, Smithsonian Institution, and Monticello, Thomas Jefferson Foundation; gift of the Regents of the Smithsonian Institution, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, and the Enid and Crosby Kemper Foundation; The Jefferson Bible by Hugh Talman, courtesy of NMAH; THOMAS JEFFERSON, 1786, by Mather Brown, NPG, bequest of Charles Francis Adams; THOMAS JEFFERSON, 1801, by Cornelius Tiebout, NPG; THOMAS JEFFERSON, 1836, by Charles Bird King, NPG
At the Smithsonian
In an upcoming series of exhibitions and events, the Smithsonian honors the nation's third president