James Madison getting his due

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The $24 million restoration of James Madison’s Montpelier will be a featured segment on the "CBS Sunday Morning Show." The show will air on Madison’s birthday Sunday, March 16.

Correspondent Rita Braver and the CBS production crew spent two days delving into the life of James Madison at Montpelier, and his eminent role in shaping our nation’s history as “Father of the Constitution.”

Montpelier is the lifelong home of Madison, the nation’s fourth president. The 248-year-old two-story, red brick mansion is in the final stages of being authentically returned to the home that James and wife Dolley created and loved. Montpelier not only served as host to Dolley’s many social gatherings, but it was also where James Madison engaged in some of his most important research and writing. In fact, a number of America’s greatest documents were inspired at Montpelier including the Federalist Papers, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.

Braver interviewed Michael Quinn, president of The Montpelier Foundation, about Madison and his life at Montpelier, as well as his role as a founding father. Braver also received a hands-on tour of the restoration’s progress with Mark Wenger, architectural historian with Mesick, Cohen, Wilson, Baker Architects, LLP. Wenger pointed out the many original details discovered during the recovery of the Madison home.

During his interview with Braver, Quinn explained the 2003 decision to restore the mansion and grounds, “Our mission is to return James Madison to the American people, and to make Montpelier a place of learning, exploration, and celebration of the Constitution and our American democracy.”

Montpelier will celebrate the completion of its architectural restoration on Constitution Day, September 17, 2008. The daylong event will include free admission, home and garden tours, national speakers, music, food, and various other activities.

Filming for the 8-10 minute CBS segment included interior and exterior shots of the 12,500-square-foot Madison home, the Madison Family Cemetery, the Slave Cemetery, and the Joe and Marge Grills Gallery which features rare James and Dolley Madison documents and collections.

Montpelier is the lifelong home of James Madison, Father of the Constitution, architect of the Bill of Rights, and fourth president of the United States. Since 2003, Montpelier’s 22-room, 12,500-square-foot mansion has been undergoing the most significant historical restoration in the nation to return it to the home that James and Dolley Madison created and loved. The $24 million project will celebrate its architectural completion with a Restoration Celebration and free admission on Constitution Day, Sept. 17, 2008.

Visitors can witness the home’s transformation through daily guided tours, and leisurely stroll the garden, forests, and many other attractions on the property’s 2,650 acres. Nestled in the rolling foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Montpelier is located in the heart of Virginia’s wine country on Route 20, four miles south of Orange, Virginia. Montpelier is a National Trust for Historic Preservation site. To learn more, visit www.montpelier.org

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