Monticello to Rent Out Grounds and Outbuildings

Monticello Naturalization Ceremony

Brian McNeill had an interesting article in the Progress on Friday that I don’t want to miss: Monticello is going to start renting out their grounds for private events. They’re not (yet) allowing the home itself to be rented out, but much of the property is fair game, and for the right price, you can buy a private tour of the house. They’re even looking at renting the grounds out for weddings. This is a significant change from how Monticello was run under the twenty year tenure of recently-retired Daniel Jordan, the prior executive director of the private organization that owns and operates Thomas Jefferson’s home. (Jordan had no comment for McNeill, which I think can be read as a rebuke of the new practice.)

It’s not clear to me whether this new practice is innovative or reprehensible, but the Thomas Jefferson Foundation’s claim that this is “kind of in the Jeffersonian tradition” strikes me as ridiculous. It’s true that Jefferson was known for his hospitality, which is rather a different thing than renting out his front lawn for bar mitzvahs.

8 thoughts on “Monticello to Rent Out Grounds and Outbuildings”

  1. I think its clear this is for the cash. The economy has hurt everyone and Monticello has taken to renting out the land in order to make up for lost revenue. Ash-Lawn has been doing this for years (renting out part of the land). They get about $5-7K per wedding and they stay booked from early spring to late fall. It will be interesting to see how far TJF goes with this…

  2. What a great place to have your graduation day kegger. Oh, TJ was a vinophile so let’s not forget to invite a couple of winos. Hey, if “dubya” can hold forth on the forth, then I say let’s get this party started!

  3. I’m going to contact the director about negotiating for a monthly Friday night hip hop concert on the west lawn. Big money to them. We should have no problem drawing a crowd.

    Monticello will let the US Marine Band play. They would let the NY Philharmonic play. This will prove how far the Hemingization of Monticello has gone.

  4. It’s when they start making the catering crews pee in a cup that the whole thing falls apart.

  5. “(Jordan had no comment for McNeill, which I think can be read as a rebuke of the new practice.)”

    That’s some good journalism.

  6. That’s some me being acquainted with Dan Jordan, actually. Anybody would be hard-pressed to read this passage and not see that he hates this new practice:

    Monticello’s new special events policy is one of several initiatives launched since Leslie Greene Bowman became president of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation in November 2008.

    Daniel P. Jordan, who was chief executive of the foundation for more than 20 years, declined to explain why he did not allow special events at Monticello.

    “I can confirm that Monticello was not rented out during my tenure,” Jordan said. “A new administration is in place now. And I wish them well.”

  7. “I can confirm that Monticello was not rented out during my tenure,” Jordan said.

    Maybe if Jordan hadn’t evicted the Brown’s Mtn. residents so hastily it wouldn’t have come to this. That was a lot of income he threw out the door.

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