James Madison's Montpelier will offer free tours this summer to all kids ages 14 and under through Aug. 30. Children must be accompanied by a paying adult.

The free tours and family-friendly activities make for an affordable and enriching summer experience available to the public any day of the week. Montpelier offers "Discovering Montpelier: A Family Friendly Tour," an interactive tour for families and children that involves discovering artifacts and documents, participating in activities, and touring the house and its surroundings. 

Other daily house tours offered are the Signature tour and Madison and the Constitution. Included in admission is "Montpelier's Enslaved Community" walking tour, as well as access to Montpelier's award-winning exhibition The Mere Distinction of Colour

The archaeology lab is free and open to the public every day, and children are invited to explore the drawers of artifacts, use the touch screen to understand how archaeologists work, and "dig" for artifacts. Other free tours offered monthly this summer are the Journey from Slavery to Freedom and the Historic Landscape. 

Madison will be at home and receiving guests in the house several Saturdays throughout the summer. Visitors are welcome to greet him and talk to him on topics of interest. Montpelier's 8-plus miles of walking trails - great for hikers of all ages and skill levels - are free and open to the public, and dogs on leashes are welcome. The Gilmore Cabin and 1910 Train Depot are open daily and are self-guided. The Gilmore Cabin is staffed on Saturday and Sunday. Learn about life on a freedman's farm.

Enjoy barbeque, specialty sandwiches, and a kids' menu at the Exchange Cafe, or bring a picnic and choose a shady spot anywhere on Montpelier's 2,650 acres. The David M. Rubenstein Center also houses two galleries and a Museum Shop. In the Grills Gallery, the new, interactive "Mysteries of Montpelier" exhibition aims to put visitors into the shoes of museum curators. Guests will learn how curators, archaeologists, researchers, and preservationists use objects and materials to answer questions about the past and tell stories about who lived at Montpelier, and they can create their own mini-exhibits. 

To learn more about any of these activities, visithttp://www.montpelier.org or call 540-672-2728 x 141. 

If you go

WHAT: Summer activities at Montpelier: Kids free, trails, exhibits archaeology, and more.

WHEN: Through Aug. 30

WHERE: James Madison's Montpelier, 11350 Constitution Highway, Montpelier Station, VA, 22957

About James Madison's Montpelier

The lifelong home of James Madison, father of the Constitution, architect of the Bill of Rights, and fourth president of the United States, is more than a museum. As a monument to James Madison, a museum of American history, and a center for constitutional education, Montpelier engages the public with the enduring legacy of Madison's most powerful idea: government by the people. 

The historic home and 2,650-acre grounds are open to visitors and student groups throughout the year; and the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at Montpelier offers world-class residential and online educational programs. Montpelier is a National Trust for Historic Preservation site. To learn more, visit www.montpelier.org.

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