260th Birthday Celebration for James Monroe!
Saturday, April 28 is the 260th anniversary of the birth of James Monroe! April 28th is also the 90th anniversary of the opening of The James Monroe Museum! We hope you will join us to celebrate both milestones. (see details below)
Upcoming Programs
Friday, April 6, 6:00-8:00 PM
First Friday - Pots and Palettes
Location: James Monroe Museum

Join us as we highlight our exhibit Dynamic Ceramics: Selections from the James Monroe Museum Collection with an evening of pottery painting in the garden! The program will begin with an introduction to the exhibit by JMM Curator and Assistant Director Jarod Kearney, followed by pottery painting led by the staff of Pots and Palletes in Fredericksburg.

Registration is required, $15/person, $10/person for Friends of The James Monroe Museum. Contact Lynda Allen by email or phone 540-654-2111 to register.
Saturday, April 28, 2:00-5:00 PM
James Monroe’s 260th Birthday
Location: James Monroe Museum

Join the fifth president of the United States on his 260th birthday for photo opportunities, music, and cake. Visitors will also have a chance to sit for a silhouette portrait (fee required).

University Museums Make Big Gains on Giving Day
The second annual Mary Wash Giving Day (March 20, 2018), was a huge success for the University of Mary Washington. In just 24 hours, some 2,600 gifts were received totaling $426,866. It was the single-largest fundraising day in UMW’s 110-year history.
Giving Day was also highly successful for University Museums. The Gari Melchers Home and Studio received $3,070 from 26 gifts, while The James Monroe Museum took in $5,430 from 41 gifts. Funds received support operations and programs at the two sites, which focus on the legacies of American Impressionist artist Gari Melchers and President James Monroe.
“We are so grateful for the support shown to University Museums on Giving Day,” said Executive Director Scott Harris. “Donations to both museums were exponentially higher than in 2017, in both number of gifts and dollars raised. It shows that vigorous use of social media and networking with alumni and other supporters can yield impressive results.”
Plans are already underway for Mary Wash Giving Day 2019, but for now, University Museums staff members pause to catch their breath and say, THANK YOU!
Exhibit Update
In late April the James Monroe Museum will make an addition to one of its galleries to incorporate more information related to slavery in Monroe's lifetime. Topics will include James Monroe's ties to slavery, Gabriel’s Conspiracy, colonization, and several slavery-related artifacts.
What's In Store?
Do you plan on visiting the Museum soon? Are you bringing the kids? Let’s Visit James Monroe! (on sale for only $5.00!) is a wonderful way to introduce them to our nation’s 5 th president. It is a children’s picture book custom-made for the Museum featuring James Monroe himself and many artifacts from the Museum’s collection. Written and illustrated by Julia Livi, it is full of facts and beautiful illustrations that tell the story of a family’s unforgettable visit to the James Monroe Museum. This book is a fun and informative way for children to get to know President Monroe. Another book for the younger ones is Discover James Monroe ($3.95), an activity book featuring a variety of puzzles, a maze, and a family tree page!
The Museum Store also has many books about President Monroe written for adults. Whether you are a new history buff, or a seasoned presidential historian, we have something just for you. For those looking for an in-depth read, consider The Autobiography of James Monroe ($29.95). This new edition includes a foreword by historian and documentary editor William Ferraro. Ferraro details the ways this founding father’s legacy continues to unfold. You will also find James Monroe: An Illustrated History ($19.95), by Daniel Preston of the Papers of James Monroe. For a closer look at specific periods of James Monroe’s life we have The Presidency of James Monroe 1817-1825 ($3.95), also by Daniel Preston.
As James Monroe’s birthday approaches, now is the perfect time to get to know him a little better!
We look forward to seeing you in the James Monroe Museum Store!
Curator's Corner
This month’s Curator’s Corner features a finely carved American eagle cane head. Hand-crafted from ivory with a hollowed cavity to fasten a wood shaft, this cane head belonged to James Monroe. The carving is a highly stylized depiction of a female bald eagle robustly perched on the top of a broken tree, guarding her nest of four eggs. The eagle is detailed with meticulously carved feathers, her talons firmly gripping the top of the tree. Her expression is one of fierce protection as she gazes down upon her eggs.

On July 4, 1776 the Continental Congress formed the first committee to design a Great Seal in tandem with declaring independence from Great Britain. The process took six years and several iterations before finally being adopted in 1782. Secretary of the Continental Congress Charles Thomson designed the final composition using element suggestions of three separate Great Seal committees and the suggestion of an eagle by scholar William Barton.
As the bald eagle became increasingly associated with the fledgling United States, it’s prevalence in American culture broadened. The symbol found its way into a wide variety of design elements and art. Interestingly, early depictions of the eagle as an American symbol often portrayed a rather thin and formative bird. An early example of this is the symbol adopted by The Society of the Cincinnati, of which Monroe was an original member. The society’s insignia, as designed by Major Pierre Charles L'Enfant in 1783, depicts a rather scant eagle devoid of grandiose expression. In the decades following the revolution, the eagle became more robust. The illustrious eagle on James Monroe’s cane head indicates an early 19 th century origin.

Throughout Monroe’s lifetime, walking canes were often an essential accessory for the well-dressed gentleman. Monroe himself owned several, and this eagle head would have likely gone on a shaft of hickory or oak (the tree leaves and acorns in the carving are similar to a swamp oak, and the craftsman may have complimented it with an oak staff). Contrary to popular belief, canes were not prolifically loaded with hidden weapons and devices, although they occasionally were used as a weapon or to threaten. Indeed, Monroe had personal experience with this. During Monroe’s presidency, Secretary of the Treasury William H. Crawford (a political rival of Monroe), visited Monroe to ask about government appointments for some of his friends. The President replied that he had not made up his mind, which prompted Crawford to state in a surly tone that he wished Monroe would not “dilly-dally”. When Monroe quickly admonished him, Crawford waved his cane in a threatening manner and called him an “infernal scoundrel”. Monroe, being a six-foot war veteran and still relatively hearty, immediately picked up a pair of fireplace tongs and ordered Crawford to leave. Crawford then apologized, to which Monroe graciously said “Well sir, if you are sorry let it pass.” The two shook hands, ending the episode.

Come see our eagle cane head as well as other fantastic artifacts on display at the James Monroe Museum!
Museum Hours

The tent will be back in our garden as of April 3rd. So bring along a lunch when you're visiting the museum and enjoy it in our garden! The James Monroe Museum is open Monday-Saturday 9:00 AM-5:00 PM, and Sundays 1:00-5:00 PM. Come on by!

The James Monroe Museum
908 Charles St.
Fredericksburg, VA 22401