Montpelier Burial Ground of the Enslaved Memorial- Orange, VA

  • Commissioning Entity

    Montpelier Descendants Committee

  • Application Open Date


  • Application Deadline Date


  • Minimum Budget


  • Maximum Budget


  • Location of Commission

    Orange, Virginia, United States

  • Geographic Eligibilty


  • Contact Name

    Allison James

  • Contact Email

    [email protected]

  • Contact Phone

  • Commission Document

    View Link Document

  • Brief Description

    The Montpelier Descendants Committee (“MDC”) and The Montpelier Foundation (“TMF”) are seeking letters of interest and supporting materials from qualified landscape architects, architects, and/or artists, as individuals or in teams, to develop a design for a memorial at the Montpelier Burial Ground of the Enslaved at Montpelier in Orange, Virginia. The memorial will honor those who were enslaved at James Madison’s Montpelier, and surrounding plantations owned by the Madison family and others.

    Finalist design teams or individuals will be invited to meet with the MDC Memorialization Committee, and the MDC and TMF Boards to present a selection of previous work and a community engagement and design process based on past experiences.

    The MDC and TMF have budgeted $3,400,000 from a Mellon Foundation grant to fund the design, materials, and construction of the memorial.

    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The Montpelier memorial to the enslaved will honor the lives and contributions of the approximately 300 people who were enslaved at James Madison’s Montpelier and an unknown number who were enslaved at the surrounding plantations owned by the Madisons and others. The chosen firm will design the memorial with significant engagement and contributions from the Montpelier Descendants Committee from August 15, 2024, through completion of the project. The design process must include the MDC Memorialization Committee in design charrettes and the generation of ideas. The memorial will be incorporated into the James Madison’s Montpelier landscape on a site that includes the Burial Ground of the Enslaved, a four-acre woodlot in the center of the property. Firms will be expected to collaborate closely with the Memorialization Project Director and TMF’s Director of Archaeology throughout the design process.

    MDC HISTORY AND STRUCTURE: Established in 2019, The Montpelier Descendants Committee is the first independent, descendant-led organization to establish itself as an equal co-steward of a major historic site in America. The MDC is devoted to restoring the narratives of enslaved Americans at plantation sites in Central Virginia, including but not limited to James Madison’s Montpelier, from the margins to the center of historical discourse. The MDC promotes a more accurate understanding of the lives of enslaved people based on broader, richer, and more truthful interpretations of American history. Through a series of public programs, events, research, and communications, the MDC seeks to demonstrate how the lives of enslaved persons made possible and informed the ideals of universal liberty enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution yet denied to them.

    Please see commission document for full project information and application instructions. Please find helpful links from the commission document below.