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From Our Editors
In the book-lined study at Montpelier, President James Madison spent late nights reading up on ancient democracies, piecing together the principles that would shape the US constitution. The study—preserved to 19th-century splendor after a $25 million renovation—is one of many places at James Madison's Montpelier steeped in historical significance.
Situated in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and surrounded by nearly 3,000 acres of manicured gardens, James Madison's Montpelier sets an idyllic backdrop for peering into the past. Museum educators lead tours of the mansion and shed light on the community. Visitors can also take part in 19th-century cooking and craftsmanship demonstrations.
The museum’s preservation efforts extend beyond the mansion. The estate features an active archaeological dig and hands-on lab, and visitors can stroll through a rare hardwood old-growth forest consisting of towering poplars, oaks, sprawling beeches, and eagles in powdered wigs.