BEDFORD COUNTY, Va, – Poplar Forest has been preserved to tell Thomas Jefferson’s history, but now new efforts are being made to tell the stories of enslaved people who helped build it.
Thomas Jefferson and his wife Martha inherited the home back in the 1700s and used it as a retreat.
After he died, it was under private ownership until the home reopened to visitors in the 90s.
While the site aims to tell the history of one of the country’s most important founding fathers, organizers are now also working to tell the stories of the enslaved people who helped build and oversee the plantation.
“Jefferson’s coming here for sort of quiet and solitude. But in reality, he’s surrounded by enslaved people doing work for him. And so we really want to be telling a complete story and really giving visitors a sense of what life was like her,” said Director of Programs and Education, Mary Massie.
The home is constantly being restored following a large fire in the 1800s.
Those restoring the site use the same architectural practices and tools builders would have used during the original build.
Like the D-Day Memorial, Poplar Forest also hosts guided and virtual tours for anyone who wants to visit.