Understanding Thomas Jefferson and his significance begins with understanding his ideas. The varied programs of the Thomas Jefferson Visitor Center and Smith Education Center explore Monticello and address different aspects of Jefferson's impact on his world and on our own. Jefferson's words bring all of these experiences together.
The Robert H. and Clarice Smith Gallery, an integral part of the Center, contains four exhibitions. This book includes a selection of quotations by and about Jefferson chosen for the exhibition The Words of Thomas Jefferson featured in the Stacy Smith Liss Gallery. The exhibition is as much a work of art as it is a powerful means of conveying Jefferson's ideas. As visitors enter the space, key phrases are projected in light on the floor near words inlaid in the bluestone. These words of the subjects of quotations relating to Jefferson's ideas about the new nation. One by one, full quotations are projected on a wall.
The Words of Thomas Jefferson sets the stage for the use of Jefferson's words throughout the exhibitions. As we look back on Jefferson from the vantage point of the twenty-first century, we are reminded that we inhabit a world shaped by his ideas.