Charlottesville Students Make Art at Monticello - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Charlottesville Students Make Art at Monticello

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va (WVIR) - An elementary school art project is helping students get in touch with the past. Hundreds of students are getting a chance to have their work displayed in a historic Albemarle County site.

It's through a program called My Monticello, which is now in its ninth year. More than 300 third graders got to visit Monticello, then create art to hang in an exhibit there.

During their field trip, students from Charlottesville elementary schools got to learn about technology and gadgets used during Thomas Jefferson's time. They saw a camera obscura, the precursor to a modern-day camera, as well as self-operating doors, and what's known as "the great plantation clock." The kids also played with a ciper wheel, used to decipher messages, and a polygraph letter copying machine, a contraption that allows you to write two letters at once by connecting two pens.

After all that exploring, it was the kids' turn to create something. They each made artwork depicting their favorite items on the Monticello tour.

Jacqueline Langholtz, the manager of school and group programs at Monticello, said it's a unique and exciting project for students. "To come in here to learn more about Thomas Jefferson as the primary author of the Declaration of Independence, we know they will learn that in school,” she said. “We wanted local students to have fun with these other topics related to Jefferson and Monticello," she said.

Greenbrier Elementary School student Ryan Rosson is excited about his work. "When my parents get to see our artwork that we've done, I feel like it's kind of fun," he said.

The My Monticello program is funded largely by the Wells Fargo Foundation. For the third year, there is enough funding for the program to allow all participating students to get free family passes to bring their families back to tour Monticello and see their artwork.

"For our local students to be able to come to the international world heritage site in their backyards and have this much fun learning about things like Jefferson in science, Jefferson in music it's just fun for us," Langholtz said.

There's an opening reception for the student art exhibit on Saturday from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Monticello Visitor's Center.

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