Highland is a historic plantation owned by fifth President James Monroe and his wife, Elizabeth Kortright Monroe, from 1793 to 1823. It was also home to enslaved African Americans, up to 50 at a time during these years. On this property we invite you to join us on a journey of discovery of a compelling portion of the American past, including a remarkable public career, a lost and found presidential house, and the ways in which slavery was embedded in the founding of our country.
Highland offers a guided site tour, an augmented reality experience, and self-guided exploration of the property. Plan to spend an hour and a half for the full experience—and stay longer to soak in our rural views and deeply textured landscape.
Our guided tours last approximately 40 minutes. The original tour, Welcome to Highland, explores the historic events of Monroe’s career, including issues of slavery, economics, and foreign relations. Two new themed tours, Furnishing a New Nation and Rediscovering Highland are also available. During the month of May, Furnishing a New Nation will be offered on Saturday, Tuesday, and Thursday, at 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. This tour takes a focused look at the historical significance of the Monroes’ original furnishings and explores the use of style in early American politics. Also in May, Rediscovering Highland will be offered on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, at 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. This tour examines how a presidential home was lost and found, and how architectural details and archaeological artifacts preserved an unrecorded story. Experienced on all tours, the 1818 guesthouse showcases an outstanding collection of eighteenth and early nineteenth-century furnishings, the majority original to the Monroe family. An additional themed tour focusing on political friendships will be introduced in June of 2019.
Augmented reality (AR) offers a new way to experience history at Highland. Through state-of-the-art Smart Glasses, visitors will witness conversations between individuals experiencing life at Highland in the year 1819, and learn about the archaeology and dendrochronology that led to the dramatic reinterpretation of the Highland landscape. A highlight of the new augmented reality tour is the digital rendering of the 1799 Monroe main house, lost to fire after Monroe sold the property. The augmented reality tour is weather dependent. If inclement weather conditions should impact an AR tour, accommodations will be made to ensure a positive experience.
The drop-in program Slavery at Highland is offered during the months of April through October, from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., on Fridays and Saturdays. Slavery at Highland offers a discussion of historic slavery in the United States with special focus on the men, women, and children enslaved at Highland. Visitors can browse images and historic documents while discussing slavery and its legacies with a specially trained museum interpreter. We invite you to visit and learn more about the past—from a variety of perspectives.
Hours of Operation
11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., November through March. (Last tour: 4 p.m.)
9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., April through October. (Last tour: 5 p.m.)
We are closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.
The Full Experience: Guided Tour and Augmented Reality
See Highland with traditional spoken interpretation and through innovative technology! The two parts of this experience offer a full introduction to James Monroe’s Highland through a guided tour (either Welcome to Highland or a themed tour) and augmented reality. Visitors should plan a minimum of 90 minutes for their visit.
Youth (6-11): $13
Children under 6: Free
- The augmented reality tour is not recommended for children under six.
- 10% discount for Seniors (60+), Military (Active, Former, and Retired U.S. Military with ID-extended to one accompanying family member), and AAA
- Local Rate includes residents of Charlottesville and Albemarle, Augusta, Buckingham, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Nelson, Orange, and Rockingham counties)
Self-Guided Discovery and Augmented Reality
Guests can explore the grounds through our newly designed self-guided tour and enjoy the augmented reality experience. Visitors should plan on a minimum of 40 minutes for their visit.
Adult and Youth: $13
Special Discounts and Community Members
- Active U.S. Military and dependents with ID, guided tour only – FREE Memorial Day to Labor Day through Blue Star Museums
- Can be extended to up to five family members.
- The augmented reality experience can be added for $7.50 per person.
- William & Mary (Students, Faculty, Staff, and Alumni) – Full Experience – $13.00
- University of Virginia (Students, Faculty, and Staff) – Full Experience – $13.00
Planning a Group Visit?
Monroe’s Farm Friends Annual Membership
Families may purchase an annual membership granting them full access, during regular business hours, to the historic core of Highland. Monroe’s Farm Friends is the perfect option for families looking for a convenient outdoor space to picnic, play games, and visit farm animals. The pass also provides family admittance to the annual spring sheep shearing event, in addition to other family activities throughout the year. (The guided tour and augmented reality experience are not included in the Monroe’s Farm Friends Membership.)
A family membership in Monroe’s Farm Friends costs $40 annually and covers an entire household, including two adults and all children 18 years old and younger. Additional adult family members, such as grandparents, can be added to a family membership for an additional cost of $10 per person. Monroe’s Farm Friends members will be issued two family membership cards, children’s activity passports, and souvenirs for the whole family!
To reserve your family membership, visit the museum shop or call us at 434-293-8000.
James Monroe’s Highland does not permit pets on the property. Leashed service animals, as defined by the ADA, are permitted.