Past Special Exhibits

Beginning in 2004, the museum’s staff began an effort to make history more interesting and accessible for our younger visitors. Through a series of temporary exhibits in the Rare Book Room, children have had the opportunity to learn about what daily life was like for someone of their own age growing up in the Monroe household. These exhibits also gave us the opportunity to highlight some of our lesser-seen collections. If you would like more information about any of these past exhibitions, please contact the museum.

Read about some of our past exhibitions below and by clicking on the links to the right.


“A Presidential Legacy: Private Lives, Public Images”

This exhibition illustrated the duality of the Monroes’ public and private lives in the New Republic (1790s-1830). Their tastes in decorative arts, furniture and art work were illuminated in a series of vignettes that depicted scenes from the Monroe White House and a Regency-style picture gallery filled with images of the Monroe family and their circle of friends.


“Mr. Hoes’ Cabinet of Curiosities”

Our Rare Book Room displayed a temporary exhibit showing some of the more interesting and unique artifacts that have been collected by the James Monroe Museum since its opening in 1927. The exhibit was fashioned after a “cabinet of curiosities,” a room in which antiquities, artwork, historic and religious relics, and plant and animal remains of the “natural world” were displayed by wealthy Victorian Americans for the entertainment of their friends. These domestic collections would be the basis of many of America’s earliest public museums. This exhibit provided the James Monroe Museum with the opportunity to explore early American museum practices and to showcase some of our more “curious” artifacts in a setting similar to that of the Victorian cabinets of curiosities. Items featured in the exhibit included French jewelry acquired and worn by Elizabeth Monroe during her husband’s term as Minister to France, a pair of coffin handles originally attached to President Monroe’s casket, and locks of Thomas Jefferson’s and James Monroe’s hair. The exhibit closed at the end of July 2007.