Calendar of Events


Saturday, April 26: James Monroe’s Birthday Celebration

Join us in the museum garden for cake, punch, and live period music by Doug Marshall and Lauren Smith to celebrate the 256th anniversary of James Monroe’s birth!

1 to 3 p.m., JMM garden. Free and open to the public.

Friday, May 2: First Friday History Trivia Night

Match wits with friends and family (or total strangers) in First Friday history trivia competitions featuring celebrity MCs. Prizes will be awarded for first, second, and last place. Light refreshments, a cash bar, and a 50/50 raffle will also make this a perfect way to wind down from long summer weeks! Repeats June 6, July 4, August 1.

6 to 8 p.m., JMM garden. Free and open to the public.

Saturdays, May 3, 10, 17, 24, & 31; and June 7, 14, 21, & 28: Yoga in the Garden

Staff from Healing Arts Yoga offer Saturday morning outdoor classes for all ages and skill levels in JMM’s garden. Get energized for your weekend, connect with nature, and support the museum at the same time! We recommend bringing a yoga mat. Classes are drop-in; reservations not required! This program qualifies the museum to participate in First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move! Museums & Gardens Initiative.”

9 to 10 a.m., JMM garden. $8/class (payable at the gate).

Saturday, May 24: First-Person Interpretive Program, Medical Practice in the Colonial and Early National Eras

Enjoy a colorful first-person tour of the reconstructed Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop, a museum of medicine, pharmacy, and military and political affairs. Dr. Mercer served the citizens of Fredericksburg with medicines and treatments of the time, including leeches, lancets, snakeroot, and crab claws, treatments James and Elizabeth Monroe would have received. A reception hosted by President Monroe follows at the James Monroe Museum, during which curator Jarod Kearney will show some of the medical artifacts from the museum’s collection – including some instruments that were used to treat Elizabeth Monroe’s mysterious illness. Cosponsored with the Washington Heritage Museums (WHM).

Program: 6:30 p.m., Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop (1020 Caroline Street, Fredericksburg). Reception: 7:30 p.m., JMM garden. $10/person (free for Friends of JMM or members of WHM). Reservations required; RSVP to 540/654-1123 or

Sunday, June 8: Afternoon Tea in Honor of Elizabeth Monroe

Join us for an elegant afternoon tea in the museum garden to celebrate the June birthday of the elegant Mrs. Monroe. We’ll enjoy tea, sandwiches, and sweets while hearing a presentation by harpist and storyteller Eve Watters on the informal music and stories of the early nineteenth century.

2 p.m., JMM garden. $20/person ($15 for Friends of the James Monroe Museum). Reservations required; RSVP to 540/654-1123 or

Monday-Tuesday, July 7-8: Major Monroe’s History Camp

Enlist now in this hands-on history camp for boys and girls ages 7-12! Features games, crafts, demonstrations, and tours that introduce children to life during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, including the American Revolution and the War of 1812.

9 a.m. to noon, JMM garden. $40/child. Light refreshments served (no lunch). Reservations required; RSVP to 540/654-1043 or by June 30, 2014.

Saturday, August 23: “‘Every Species of Lawless Adventure’: James Monroe and the Fight against Piracy.”

Piracy was a scourge of American commerce for nearly 300 years, and James Monroe did his part to combat it. The practice also contributed to the folklore of the east coast and the Caribbean. Our daytime event features family-friendly games, crafts, and other activities that reflect pirate themes. For the evening event, “Pirates and Punch!,” Dr. Daniel Preston, editor of the Papers of James Monroe, will describe the fight against piracy in Spanish Florida during Monroe’s presidency, to be followed by a talk by Brian Prewitt, Master Distiller at Fredericksburg’s A. Smith Bowman Distillery, on the history of rum. These talks will be followed by a tasting of the popular colonial rum drinks grog and tavern punch! Cosponsored with the Washington Heritage Museums (WHM).

Daytime event: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., JMM. Free and open to the public.

Evening event: 6:30 to 9 p.m., Rising Sun Tavern (1304 Caroline Street, Fredericksburg). $20/person ($15/Friends of JMM or Members of WHM). Reservations required; RSVP to 540/654-1123 or

Saturday, September 20: 25th Annual Fredericksburg Welsh Festival

This popular street festival honors the Welsh ancestry of James Monroe (through his mother, Elizabeth Jones) with traditional music, dancing, arts, and crafts. Free trolley between the Festival and other Saturday events in downtown Fredericksburg. Co-sponsored with the Welsh Society of Fredericksburg.

11 a.m. to 5 p.m., location TBD. Suggested donation of $4/adult or $1/child.

Wednesday, October 22: From Monroe to McAuliffe: The Evolution of the Office of Governor of Virginia

This public forum on the evolution of the office of Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia from the era of James Monroe to the present includes The Honorable Gerald Baliles, 65th Governor of Virginia; Dr. Stephen J. Farnsworth, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs and Director of the UMW Center for Leadership and Media Studies; and Dr. Daniel Preston, Editor of the Papers of James Monroe. A reception follows.

7 p.m., Lee Hall, Room 411, University of Mary Washington. Free and open to the public.

Monday, November 10: 27th Annual James Monroe Lecture, “The Evil Necessity: British Naval Impressment in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World.”

A fundamental component of Britain’s early success, naval impressment not only kept the Royal Navy afloat—it helped to make an empire. In total numbers, impressed seamen were second only to enslaved Africans as the largest group of forced laborers in the 18th century. Dr. Denver Brunsman, associate professor of history at George Washington University, will discuss how the controversy over impressment ultimately contributed to the American Revolution and served as a leading cause of the War of 1812. Followed by a reception and book signing.

7 p.m., Historic Dining Room at Seacobeck Hall, University of Mary Washington Fredericksburg campus. Free and open to the public. Campus map.

Saturday, December 6: Deck the Halls 2014

Jan Williams, noted floral consultant and decorator, begins the holiday season by demonstrating how to create extraordinary holiday decorations from native evergreens and other plants. Participants enter a drawing to win one of Jan’s arrangements. A breakfast of coffee, tea, and seasonal pastries will be served.

9:30 a.m. to noon, Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall, University of Mary Washington. Tickets are $25 ($20 for Friends of JMM). Reservations requested at 540/654-1043 or

Saturday, December 6: “A Monroe Christmas” Holiday Open House

Enjoy seasonal decorations, music, and refreshments at the museum, immediately prior to the Fredericksburg Christmas Parade. Find the perfect holiday gift at the museum store!

3 to 5:30 p.m., James Monroe Museum. Free and open to the public.

Call 540/654-1123 or e-mail with questions about any of our events!