Partnership with Albemarle County Schools uses grant funding to explore memorialization

On Wednesday and Thursday, December 6th and 7th, Montpelier is excited to host nearly 200 students from Albemarle County Public Schools as part of the “Let ‘Em Shine” project, funded through an Educator Innovator grant from the National Writing Project and backed by singer-songwriter, John Legend. Focused on public memory, the goal of this project is for students to help unite the community by using what they learn at Montpelier and on other immersion-focused trips, to create a symbolic monument to a significant person, event, or era, that tells a broader story and honors our rich cultural history.

Scholars and experts from around the country will run workshops on the grounds of James Madison’s Montpelier to help the students answer some of the project’s looming questions, and help orient them towards their final product. A diverse and high-profile group of local and national of designers, museum professionals, media professionals, and educators, will be working with the students and tackling complex topics such as:

1. What constitutes a monument? Why do we build monuments?
2. What stories are we telling through our public memorials and monuments?
3. Who decides who is memorialized?
4. What are possible methods of memorialization?

An event of this magnitude is the first of its kind at a Virginia historic home, offering students the unique opportunity to engage with history and culture through interactive workshop-style learning and discussion.