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Historic Houses

Located on Freemason St. —
Open Saturday and Sunday

Noon–5 p.m.

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

By Appointment
Tuesday-Thursday

10:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

Moses Myers House

The oldest Jewish home in America open to the public as a museum offers a glimpse of the life of an early 19th century merchant family.
More about the house

About the Library

With an extensive collection of more than 106,000 rare and unique volumes relating to the history of art, the Jean Outland Chrysler Art Library is one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the library

Willoughby-Baylor House

Completed in 1794, this former home now presents a mix of art and artifacts. See what's on view

Located in Norfolk

One Memorial Place,
Norfolk, VA
Get Directions

While You're Here

Visit our Museum Shop
and the Wisteria Cafe.

Perry Glass Studio

A state-of-art facility on the Museum’s campus. See a free glassmaking demo Tuesdays–Sunday at noon. Like what you see? Take a class with us! More about the Studio

Moses Myers House

The home of the first permanent Jewish residents of Norfolk, this historic house offers a glimpse of the life of a wealthy early 19th-century merchant family.
More about the house

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

With an extensive collection of more than 106,000 rare and unique volumes relating to the history of art, the Jean Outland Chrysler Library is one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the Library

Weddings & Event Rentals

The perfect place for your big day or special event. Get the details

Take a tour

We offer a number of tours on different topics. More about tours

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

Visit one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the library

About the Chrysler

Our story spans well over 100 years. See where we began, how we grew, and where we're going. Explore our history

News and Announcements

See what's happening at the Museum, read Chrysler Magazine, and find our Media Center. Read now

Location

745 Duke Street
Norfolk, VA 23510
757-333-6299

Always Free Parking

Get Directions

Third Thursdays

Live art performances monthly.
See the archive

Studio Team

Meet the brilliant minds behind the Studio.
See the team

Studio Assistantship Program

Further your career and join us in Norfolk.
Find out more

The Masterpiece Society

Learn about this innovative group of museum supporters.
Meet the Masterpiece Society

Planned Giving

Help ensure the long-term success of the Museum.
Learn about planned giving

Historic Houses

Located on Freemason St. —
Open Saturday and Sunday

Noon–5 p.m.

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

By Appointment
Tuesday-Thursday

10:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

Moses Myers House

The oldest Jewish home in America open to the public as a museum offers a glimpse of the life of an early 19th century merchant family.
More about the house

About the Library

With an extensive collection of more than 106,000 rare and unique volumes relating to the history of art, the Jean Outland Chrysler Art Library is one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the library

Willoughby-Baylor House

Completed in 1794, this former home now presents a mix of art and artifacts. See what's on view

Located in Norfolk

One Memorial Place,
Norfolk, VA
Get Directions

While You're Here

Visit our Museum Shop
and the Wisteria Cafe.

Perry Glass Studio

A state-of-art facility on the Museum’s campus. See a free glassmaking demo Tuesdays–Sunday at noon. Like what you see? Take a class with us! More about the Studio

Moses Myers House

The home of the first permanent Jewish residents of Norfolk, this historic house offers a glimpse of the life of a wealthy early 19th-century merchant family.
More about the house

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

With an extensive collection of more than 106,000 rare and unique volumes relating to the history of art, the Jean Outland Chrysler Library is one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the Library

Weddings & Event Rentals

The perfect place for your big day or special event. Get the details

Take a tour

We offer a number of tours on different topics. More about tours

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

Visit one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the library

About the Chrysler

Our story spans well over 100 years. See where we began, how we grew, and where we're going. Explore our history

News and Announcements

See what's happening at the Museum, read Chrysler Magazine, and find our Media Center. Read now

Location

745 Duke Street
Norfolk, VA 23510
757-333-6299

Always Free Parking

Get Directions

Third Thursdays

Live art performances monthly.
See the archive

Studio Team

Meet the brilliant minds behind the Studio.
See the team

Studio Assistantship Program

Further your career and join us in Norfolk.
Find out more

The Masterpiece Society

Learn about this innovative group of museum supporters.
Meet the Masterpiece Society

Planned Giving

Help ensure the long-term success of the Museum.
Learn about planned giving

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ArtExhibitionsCurrent

Thomas Jefferson, Architect:
Palladian Models, Democratic Principles, and the Conflict of Ideals

On View

October 19, 2019 — January 19, 2020

Located in

First Floor, Special Exhibitions Gallery

The most important architectural thinker of the young American republic, Thomas Jefferson conveyed ideals of liberty and democracy in his designs.

Jefferson (1743–1826) was Governor of Virginia, Secretary of State, President of the United States and author of the Declaration of Independence. He was also a slave owner. Thomas Jefferson, Architect: Palladian Models, Democratic Principles, and the Conflict of Ideals explores this divergence alongside his extraordinary architectural influence.

Mather Brown (American, 1761–1831)
Thomas Jefferson, 1786
Oil on canvas
National Portrait Gallery, NPG.99.66

John Trumbull (American, 1756−1843)
The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776, 1832
Oil on canvas
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT

Portrait of Thomas Jefferson
John Trumbull The Declaration of Independence
Slave medallion. Artist/Maker: Josiah Wedgwood

Organized by the Chrysler Museum of Art in collaboration with the Palladio Museum in Vicenza, Italy, this exhibition focuses on the ideas, formation and key monuments of the Founding Father who dramatically influenced the architectural profile of the young republic. It will also confront the inherent conflict between Jefferson’s pursuit of contemporary ideals of liberty and democracy and his use of slave labor to construct his monuments.

Slave Medallion
Wedgwood
, Staffordshire, England, ca.1790
Stoneware, unglazed, with white and black clay
The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
Museum Purchase, 1982-202

Thomas Jefferson (American, 1743–1826)
Proposed sketch for the President’s House, elevation, 1792
Pen and ink with gray wash
Courtesy of the Maryland Historical Society, 1976.88.6

Model of Jefferson's design for the President's House competition (scale 1:66), 2015

“For both Jefferson and Palladio, the architecture of the ancients was the key model with regard to functionality, style, and meaning. We see evidence of Thomas Jefferson’s influence in the architecture throughout our region, and we are excited to share the history and influence of these designs with our visitors to present important elements of Virginia’s history.”

– Director Erik H. Neil

The exhibition follows Jefferson’s evolution as an architect with nearly 130 objects, including models, rare books, paintings, drawings, early photographs and architectural elements. His designs for the Virginia State House, the University of Virginia and his home at Monticello established a new standard for America. Jefferson sought to convey ideals of liberty and democracy with architecture rooted in the classical tradition and the models of the Renaissance master Andrea Palladio.

Through his travels in the colonies and Europe and his extensive library, he engaged with contemporary ideas of architectural design. Yet, at the same moment, the creation of these monuments was founded on the economic and social institution of slavery. The inherent conflict is inescapable.

Designed by Simone Baldissini, Constructed by Ivan Simonato
Model of Jefferson’s design for the President’s House competition (scale 1:66), 2015
Wood, resin, and tempera
Palladio Museum, Vicenza

Thomas Jefferson (American 1743–1826)
Monticello: Observation tower, recto, ca. 1771
Pen and Ink with gray wash
Coolidge Collection of Thomas Jefferson Manuscripts, Massachusetts Historical Society

 

Accompanying the Exhibition

Thomas Jefferson, Architect
Exhibition Catalogue

Thomas Jefferson, Architect offers fresh perspectives on Jefferson’s architectural legacy, which has shaped the political and social landscape of the nation and influenced countless American architects since his time. Available in the Museum Shop.

Thomas Jefferson, Capriccio
Community Voices

In order to engage a broad range of voices on the subject, the Chrysler Museum invited community leaders, educators, and subject matter experts to participate in the Community Voices project, audio commentary that examines the objects in the exhibition. As you tour the galleries, hear their perspectives about the objects on view. Listen now

Isabella Gibbons
Inspiration and Reality in Jefferson's Academic Village

View stories of individual enslaved workers and the work they did as part of the construction of the University are being pieced together, along with visualizations of the Academic Village circa 1827. Explore the interactive

Delve Deeper

Exhibition Programming

Governor's School for the Arts Fashion Show 2/8/19 Photos by Eleise Theuer
Friday, October 18–Members' Opening Party

Be among the first to see the Chrysler-curated fall exhibition. Enjoy performances by violinist Seán Heely, heavy hors d’oeuvres, and a cash bar. RSVP

Rotunda (Library) University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
Saturday, October 26–Mabel O. Wilson and Louis P. Nelson in Conversation

Renowned scholars Mabel O. Wilson and Louis P. Nelson will discuss the contributions and legacy of enslaved craftsman on the architecture of Thomas Jefferson. Reserve Tickets

Portrait of Thomas Jefferson
Sunday, December 1–Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest

Travis McDonald, the Director of Architectural Restoration at Poplar Forest, will offer insight into Thomas Jefferson’s personal retreat. Learn more

Proposed sketch for the President's house, elevation. 1792 By Thomas Jefferson, 1743-1826
Saturday, January, 11–Dream It, Build it!

If you can dream it, you can build it! During this day devoted to building and creating, children of all ages and their adults are invited to learn, play and build. Create a castle out of blocks, design a tower out of LEGO blocks or draw your own fantasy city. Sign up

With Support From

Exhibition Sponsors

Thomas Jefferson Architect: Palladian Models, Democratic Principles, and the Conflict of Ideals is presented with support from Dominion Energy.

This project is supported in part by awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Wyeth Foundation for American Art, and the Embassy of Italy in Washington D.C. Funding for the models featured in the exhibition is provided by Roberto Coin. Support for the exhibition catalog is provided by the Norfolk Society of Arts.

 

Read the full Press Release.

Click here
More special exhibitions

On view right now

The Architecture of Slavery I Cannot
Through March 1, 2020

The Architecture of Slavery
Exhibition Details

Joshua Shaw & John Hil waterscapes
Through April 5, 2020

Waterscape: Picturesque Views of Hampton Roads
Exhibition Details

From the Collection