Birthday at the Capitol

To celebrate Jefferson’s birthday, the Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society presented a film titled “Keepers of the Flame,” to two groups of seventh graders at the Virginia Capitol. The film was produced by the Virginia Capitol Foundation and features Jefferson interpreter Bill Barker touring the Capitol with two young students.

Although Jefferson’s birthday is on April 13, the Capitol was not available on that date, so the film was shown on April 14, 2014. Each student was given a handout with a picture of Jefferson, a summary of the Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society and a short explanation of the Jefferson-Hemings controversy with a reference to the Scholars Commission Report.

The students had previously toured the Capitol, and were aware of Jefferson’s birthday and the history of his design of the Virginia Capitol building. Jefferson was in Paris when he was asked by the Director of Public Buildings to suggest designs for the new Capitol to be constructed in Richmond.

Jefferson was greatly impressed by the Maison Carrée, a Roman temple in Nîmes, France, and suggested it as the model. Jefferson was the first to introduce classical design to public buildings in America.

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