Kids Just Want to Have Fun
Introducing Family Days at Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest“By far the most important bill in our whole code is that for the diffusion of knowledge among the people. No other sure foundation can be devised for the preservation of freedom, and happiness.”
—Thomas Jefferson to George Wythe, Paris, August 13, 17861
FOREST, VA: Children and their families, and visitors of all ages are invited to join Poplar Forest for Family Days—three fun-filled Saturdays chock full of special activities designed to engage children and bring history to life—on June 15, July 13 and August 3 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Each Family Day has a unique focus: Exploring Plantation Trades in June, Archaeology Adventures in July and All Fun and Colonial Games in August. All feature special hands-on history activities, scavenger hunts, the Colonial Klaus Kids Quest and take-home crafts for kids.
“We understand that it can be challenging to bring children to an historic site,” says Jeffrey L. Nichols, president and CEO of Poplar Forest, “but it’s also known that those who are exposed to cultural institutions, like museums and historic sites, at a young age are more likely to become lifelong learners and more tolerant of new ideas. Thomas Jefferson philosophized that educating all of our children—rich and poor—would make the country stronger. We created Family Days with those concepts in mind...to help families cultivate their children’s curiosity and develop an interest in history by telling our stories through hands-on activities.”
Exploring Plantation Trades
Saturday, June 15
For the first Family Day, Poplar Forest brings plantation trades to life with special demonstrations of early American trades like spinning and weaving, wool carding and processing, and bucket and basket making. Take-home crafts include placemat weaving and other cut-and-paste crafts.
Saturday, July 13
Channel your inner explorer and inspire your budding Indiana Jones on this hands-on adventure in archaeology with special demonstrations of archaeological practices like cross-mending and screening for artifacts. Design your own retreat house or presidential china, assemble a cow skeleton or join us for a special storytime at 1 p.m. Try your hand at take-home crafts like spatter painting with poplar leaves and other natural plants.
All Fun and Colonial Games
Saturday, August 3
Leave your favorite video games at home and explore the games colonial kids played at this family-oriented day. Join a game of trap ball, run a three-legged race or roll a colonial hoop. Try your hand at strategic games like checkers, mancala and dominos. Explore the art of water coloring, learn how to tin-punch decorative designs and take home your original creations.
Family Days activities are included with general admission to Poplar Forest. Admission to Poplar Forest includes a guided house tour, the Enslaved Community Tour on Fridays and Saturdays and self-guided exploration of exhibits in the lower level of the house, the Wing of Offices, the ornamental grounds and the slave quarter site.
Interested in attending more than one Family Day? Poplar Forest Family Memberships—unlimited admission for two adults and all household children under 18, and a 10% discount on admission to special events—are available for $125 per year.
Admission fees: $16 for adults; $14 for seniors (ages 65+) and military (must show ID); $8 for college students (must show ID) and teens (ages 12-18); $4 for youth (ages 6-11); and free for children under age 6 and Poplar Forest members.
Admission for active duty military and their families is free (with ID) from Armed Forces Day (May 18) through Labor Day (September 2) as part of the Blue Star Museums programs. For more information about Family Days at Poplar Forest visit poplarforest.org or call the Museum Shop at 434.534.8120.
About Poplar Forest
One of only two homes Thomas Jefferson designed for his personal use, the Poplar Forest retreat was the place where Jefferson “came to indulge in the life of the mind and renew his personal creativity.” Jefferson and his wife, Martha, inherited the Bedford County plantation known as Poplar Forest from her father in 1773. When his presidency ended in 1809, Jefferson visited the retreat three or four times a year, often staying for several months at a time during planting seasons.
Designated a National Historic Landmark by the Secretary of the Interior, and nearly lost to development, Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest plantation in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains was rescued in 1984 by a group of local citizens who sought to preserve it for the cultural and educational benefit of the public. Poplar Forest was opened to the public for the first time in 1986, in its “before restoration” state. Today, the neoclassical architecture of the octagonal house has been returned to Mr. Jefferson’s design. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has recognized the meticulous research and restoration efforts with its highest award, and the plantation has been nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A visit to Poplar Forest offers a unique opportunity to observe a “live” archaeological dig and historic restoration in progress, as efforts to reveal and restore Thomas Jefferson’s vision for his personal retreat continue.
Poplar Forest is open daily from March 15 through December 30 (closed on Easter, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Admission includes a guided house tour and self-guided exploration of exhibits in the lower level of the house, the Wing of Offices, the ornamental grounds and the slave quarter site. Guided tours of the octagonal house begin at 10:00 a.m. and run every half hour, with the last tour of the day beginning at 4:00 p.m.
Admission is $16 for adults; $14 for seniors (ages 65+) and military (must show ID); $8 for college students (must show ID) and teens ages 12–18; $4 for youth ages 6–11; and free for members and children under age 6. Admission for active duty military and their families is free (with ID) from Armed Forces Day through Labor Day as part of the Blue Star Museums programs. Tours for groups of 20 or more are available by appointment at a discounted rate.
For more information about Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest, visit poplarforest.org or call 434.525.1806.
1 The Quotable Jefferson, John P. Kaminski, Princeton University Press, © 2006, page 84
Hi there! I'm Courtney . I am a mom of three ,a group fitness instructor, and a blogger. My favorite thing to do is to explore new fun things in the Richmond area with my family. I look forward to connecting with you through our Girl's Night Out events and social media.