Musings
by Scott H. Harris, Executive Director,
University of Mary Washington Museums
As we approach the end of 2018, I wish to take a moment to review some of the accomplishments of University of Mary Washington Museums. By many measures, it has been a full and fruitful year.
 
Perhaps the most fundamental and far-reaching development occurred in January, when the administrative framework of University Museums formally went into effect. While placing Gari Melchers Home and Studio (GMHS), the James Monroe Museum (JMM), and the Papers of James Monroe (PJM) under a single executive director was a new innovation for UMW, successful examples of the concept at other academic museums helped inform the planning process here. I cannot stress enough my appreciation to Joanna Catron, assistant director and curator of Gari Melchers Home and Studio, Jarod Kearney, assistant director and curator of the James Monroe Museum, Daniel Preston, editor of the Papers of James Monroe, and their respective staffs, for their help in getting University Museums off to a great start!

Holiday Open House

Don't miss our open house tonight, Friday, November 30 from 6:00-8:00 PM! The c elebration features President James Monroe, Elizabeth Monroe at the Monroe family’s Astor pianoforte, seasonal music played on the harp, and a reception with hot chocolate, hot cider, and cookies. While you’re here be sure to check out the Museum Store holiday specials!
“M r Monroe’s dying request”
by Bob Karachuk, Assistant Editor The Papers of James Monroe
James Monroe died in New York City at the home of his younger daughter and her husband, Maria and Samuel Gouverneur, on Monday, July 4, 1831, at half past three in the afternoon. Although Monroe experienced an “easy death,” his decline was long and slow and unremitting.
 
Nine-and-a-half months before his death, Monroe, in good if tender health, was dealt a blow that knocked him prostrate: On September 23, 1830, his wife, Elizabeth Monroe, died suddenly at Oak Hill, their plantation home in Loudoun County, Virginia. Monroe was left in such distress by the loss of his wife that Maria Gouverneur and her sister, Eliza Hay, considered it unwise for their father to continue living at Oak Hill. Monroe moved to New York to live with the Gouverneurs in October.
 
By the end of December, Monroe was too ill to leave his room. An incessant cough prevented him from resting properly. He grew weaker and weaker. John Quincy Adams, visiting Monroe in April 1831, observed that just speaking required an effort on Monroe’s part that exhausted him.
 
In May, Monroe made his will, dividing his estate equally between his two daughters.
 
Close family acquaintence Tench Ringgold attended him during the last two months of his life:


Curator's Corner
This month’s Curator’s Corner features a ca. 1810-1820 pair of silver-framed eyeglasses. Worn by James Monroe, the magnifying glass lenses are rectangular with beveled edges. The silver ear pieces, or temple bars, are adjustable and equipped with a small loop at their ends so that a string, ribbon, cord, or chain can be attached to the eyeglasses. In this manner the glasses could be secured around the head, or worn around the neck when not in use. These eyeglasses are hallmarked, but the mark is no longer identifiable.
Monroe often wore eyeglasses for reading, particularly later in life. As a public servant with an abundance of paperwork and letter-writing, eyeglasses were an essential asset to his daily tasks. The telescoping sidebars of Monroe’s pair made for an easier fit – indicating that they were meant for recurrent use. Given the date of the pair, it is possible they were used by Monroe at the White House. Come see our pair of eyeglasses currently on exhibit at the Museum!
Exhibit Updates
Our changing exhibit space will be rotating in January! If you haven't seen " Dynamic Ceramics: Selections from the James Monroe Museum Collection” yet, please make sure to visit the Museum before the end of the year.
The incoming exhibit is "James Monroe: the Library of a President," curated by Heidi Stello, editorial assistant for the Papers of James Mon roe and Guide at The James Monroe Museum. Monroe assembled a significant personal library during the course of his lifetime , featuring works on history, philosophy, law, politics, science, military science, religion, and the arts. The exhibit will include books owned by James Monroe, as well as those obtained by the Museum that are contemporary editions of works known to be in his personal collection. On January 10, Ms. Stello will be at the Museum to present the results of her research into Monroe's personal library. See Upcoming Programs below for details.
Free Holiday Admission for UMW Families!
UMW employees and their immediate family members will be admitted to The James Monroe Museum free of charge (UMW ID required) during the winter break (December 19 - December 31), and will be eligible for 20% off Store purchases.
What's In Store?
Christmas Tree Ornaments
Decorate your tree with history! Find these ornaments and more on our NEW ONLINE STORE and in the Museum Store downtown.
White House Historical Association
2018 Christmas Ornament
The Official 2018 White House Christmas Ornament honors 33 rd President Harry S. Truman and the significant changes he made to the White House and the Presidential Seal during his administration. One side of the ornament features his celebrated Truman Balcony, added in 1947–48 to the South Portico, and the other side features the Blue Room that was rebuilt during the renovation of 1948–52. The Presidential Seal featured at the top of the ornament reveals the changes by Truman. Originally the American eagle looked toward its left talons, which hold 13 arrows symbolizing war. Truman redesigned the Seal, turning the eagle’s head to its right talons, which hold the olive branches of peace.
WHHA Commemorative Ornament Honoring
James Hoban, White House Architect
This ornament is an elegant representation of the north and south facades of the White House. It also has a local connection- it is crafted using Aquia Creek sandstone from Stafford County, Virginia, which was used in the original construction of the White House, as well as other significant buildings in Washington, D.C.
James Monroe Felt Ornament
Each ornament is sourced through a small Christian charity and completely handmade. The 6” President James Monroe looks dapper in his waistcoat proudly holding the Monroe Doctrine.
Locally-made Virginia State Ornament
Sourced from a local art gallery, this ceramic ornament is cut in the shape of Virginia. Finished in a deep cornflower blue, it is reminiscent of pottery from the Colonial era. Support local artists!
Remember, there is never an admission charge to visit the Museum Store. We are open from 10:00 AM until 4:00 PM Monday through Saturday, and 1:00 PM until 4:00 PM on Sunday. As always, Friends of The James Monroe Museum receive a 20% discount on all merchandise. Not yet a member? Visit our website for information.
 
We hope to see you soon at The James Monroe Museum Store!
Upcoming Programs
Saturday, December 1, 9:30 AM-Noon
Deck the Halls
Location: Hurley Convergence Center, Digital Auditorium, University of Mary Washington

Join us for our beloved annual event Deck the Halls with Fredericksburg’s own Jan Williams! Jan will demonstrate how to craft beautiful holiday arrangements from local evergreens and flora. Refreshments are served, and all attendees are entered to win the decorations created during the presentation!

Tickets are $30/person or $25/person for Friends of The James Monroe Museum. Please call our Public Programs Coordinator Lynda Allen at 540-654-2111 by 5:00 PM on Friday, November 30 to see if there are still tickets available.

Please note the new location for the event this year. A map and directions are available here.

Thursday, January 10, 7:00-8:30 PM
James Monroe: the Library of a President
Location: James Monroe Museum

Have you ever wondered what titles James Monroe would have kept on his bookshelf? We have! Please join us as we explore the contents and significance of Monroe's personal library through our newest exhibition, "James Monroe: the Library of a President,"  and its accompanying lecture by Heidi Stello, Editorial Assistant for the Papers of James Monroe.

If you were unable to attend one of our lectures or special presentations, like our 31st Annual James Monroe Lecture, "Dirty, Nasty Politics in James Monroe's America" by Dr. Joanne Freeman, you can still enjoy them on our YouTube channel!




Friends of the
James Monroe Museum

Members of the Friends of The James Monroe Museum help make it possible for us to conserve the artifacts in our collection, create new exhibits for their display, and plan and implement public programming that provides opportunities to share the life and legacy of James Monroe with our community.

View the information about the benefits of membership, and learn how to become a Friend of The James Monroe Museum today!

Winter Hours and Closings

The Museum will shift to our winter schedule for the months of December, January, and February: Monday through Saturday 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM and Sunday 1:00 - 4:00 PM. The Museum will be closed on December 24 and 25, and January 1.
 
There's been an awful lot of rain in the region this year, but soon it's bound to turn to snow! For weather-related closures w e will post updates on our website and Facebook page. You can also consult local media outlets Fredericksburg.com and B101.5 .



The James Monroe Museum
908 Charles St.
Fredericksburg, VA 22401
540-654-1043