The exhibition follows Jefferson’s evolution as an architect with nearly 130 objects, including models, rare books, paintings, drawings, early photographs and architectural elements. His designs for the Virginia State House, the University of Virginia and his home at Monticello established a new standard for America. Jefferson sought to convey ideals of liberty and democracy with architecture rooted in the classical tradition and the models of the Renaissance master Andrea Palladio.
Through his travels in the colonies and Europe and his extensive library, he engaged with contemporary ideas of architectural design. Yet, at the same moment, the creation of these monuments was founded on the economic and social institution of slavery. The inherent conflict is inescapable.