With 2003 being the bicentennial year of the outset of Merriwether Lewis and William Clark's Corps of Discovery expedition to explore the Louisiana Purchase, there has been much in the way of books, exhibits, and other commemorative events. It seems only right that the person with the idea for the expedition should be recognized for his contribution, and the Monticello site does exactly that. While not the primary focus of this site, the Lewis and Clark expedition and its bicentennial celebration are addressed in a well-developed section dealing with Thomas Jefferson's contributions to the expedition.
The main focus of the site is Jefferson and his home at Monticello. The header bar at the top of the first page provides links to key sections of the site. There is a link to information about Jefferson, which includes a brief biography, a timeline, a day in the life section, and "Jefferson's West," which deals with the Lewis and Clark expedition.
There are also links to information regarding the house, gardens and plantation, visitor information, research and collections, education, and the Jefferson Foundation and the administration of Monticello. While any of these points may be of interest, serious researchers will probably make more use of "Research and Collections," which offers links to publications; reports; programs; collections; the Jefferson Library, including Thomas Jefferson Portal (the library's catalog); and related Web links. One of these links is to the Getting Word: Oral History Project, which records the oral histories of the descendants of Monticello's enslaved African American community.
There is also a drop-down box on the right side for browsing points of interest, including agriculture and gardening, architecture and design, books and letters, food and cooking, and science and exploration. Among the topics discussed under food and cooking, for instance, the user will find information on whether Jefferson was a vegetarian, recipes, and the use of dumbwaiters at Monticello.
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This site will be of interest not only to those researching Jefferson, but also to those interested in gardening and horticulture, architecture, the history of American science and technology, and early American history and culture. While much will be made of the Lewis and Clark bicentennial connection, this site offers much beyond that, both to researchers and the merely curious.