There have been few more zealous, indefatigable, or useful servants of the public than James Monroe. [Francis Walker Gilmer, 1815]
James Monroe compiled a more distinguished and comprehensive record of public service than any other President of the United States. Combat in the Revolutionary War was followed by state and federal legislative offices, four terms as governor of Virginia, negotiation and signing of the Louisiana Purchase Treaty, and simultaneous service as secretary of state and secretary of war. As the nation's fifth president from 1817 to 1825, Monroe signed the Missouri Compromise, gave diplomatic recognition to emerging Latin American republics, acquired Florida from Spain, and in 1823 committed the Unites States to prevent European intervention in the affairs of the Western Hemisphere—later termed the Monroe Doctrine.
The James Monroe Museum opened in 1927, by Monroe’s direct descendants to showcase his family’s cherished collection of artifacts and archives. It was given to the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1964 and is today administered by the University of Mary Washington. Building upon its founding mission to interpret the legacy of our fifth president, the James Monroe Museum is also deeply engaged in UMW’s academic programs in history, historic preservation, and museum studies, helping to train the future stewards of our heritage. The museum contributes to a superior educational environment by serving as a cultural and professional resource for students, faculty, and staff. Student involvement includes internships and class projects, which provide marketable job skills for students as they move on to pursue their careers.
Private support, including that of UMW alumni, is critical to the fulfillment of the Museum’s mission of preservation and education. Funds raised through Giving Day 2019 supported public programs for all ages, exhibits on ceramics and James Monroe’s extensive personal library, and artifact conservation.
All donations received help support the museum’s mission of studying, interpreting, and presenting the life and times of the fifth President of the United States. They help us to trace the social, political, and intellectual influence of James Monroe and to present it within the context of his life through exhibitions, publications, scholarly presentations, community events, and educational programs.
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