Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest Planning & Exhibit Development

Forest, VA
Poplar Forest was Thomas Jefferson’s plantation, final major architectural project, and retreat home. The property fell into disrepair after his death but has since been preserved and restored.
Scope
The 106 Group completed Schematic Design for exhibits along the new entry parkway and in the lower levels of the house. This follows our previous work developing a Master Interpretive Plan (MIP) to guide Poplar Forest’s evolution from a historic preservation and rescue project to an audience-focused site. This year-long project included extensive stakeholder engagement and independent audience research.
Outcome
The completed MIP and Schematic Design defines a comprehensive visitor experience that deeply integrates the Jefferson family stories with those of the enslaved craftsmen that built the house, household staff, and long-term plantation workers. The project was named as a 2015 Public Outreach and Engagement Award Winner by the American Planning Association of Virginia.
"Overall [Dr. Spencer Crew] is very excited about the signs. They [106 Group] do a great job of evoking a sense of place and purpose really showing off the duality of enslaved people surviving under harsh circumstances" - Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest, Executive Director