Monticello is Now Doing Live Zoom Virtual Tours
The next best thing to being at Monticello is to experience their new Zoom-based live tour. We did and found ourselves virtually thrilled!
On a balmy afternoon, our talented guide Ashley Hollinshead welcomes our group of a half-dozen socially-isolated visitors (conceivably from the comfort of our separate living rooms) at Monticello’s front steps to orient us for a 60-minute tour. As we stare into our laptops, Ashley announces that we are about to embark on a famous house tour, what in Jefferson’s own time, became America’s first museum.
Monticello is “a place of stories,” she says, and it’s time to buckle-up! Then she turns up the steps and through the front door and into the great hall where the audio and video sustain us, even with an iffy internet connection.
Just like in the real world, we linger in each room, hear exquisite details of Monticello’s interior, and are invited to ask questions, creating the kind of shared experience that gives you goosebumps you can’t get when you’re alone! Ashley continues to Jefferson’s private suite and on to the parlor and dining room. Along the way, she tells numerous stories of the sage and his life on “the little mountain,” frequently pausing to ask if we have questions. More goosebumps. Ashley has turned the table, and now we can be the real speaker.
Remarkably, she next leads us outdoors, replete on this sunny day with panoramic views of Virginia bursting into spring. Past the east range and Mulberry Row and onto the majestic view of the domed rotunda from the West Lawn. In our moment of social isolation, this is a fabulous experience full of the stories and ideas unique to Jefferson’s Monticello community, accessible from home.
While Monticello is closed at least until April 23, their live tours are available several times a day, with separate options for adults and families. You have to make a reservation and the charge is $10 per connection.