2019 Winter Session at Michie Tavern

Registration begins on January 22, 2019

OLLI at UVa in Partnership with Michie Tavern Presents

Thomas Jefferson & Science! The Sage of Monticello & “The System of Things” He Explored

The OLLI Winter Session at Michie Tavern is a time-honored Charlottesville tradition! OLLI at UVa. is very pleased to continue this wonderful partnership by offering another special Winter Session lecture-and-lunch series. Join us to learn, dine, and socialize in one of Central Virginia’s most beautiful historic settings, where blazing fires will remove the cold winter chill.

The 2019 OLLI Winter Session at Michie Tavern will feature a series of talks—titled “Thomas Jefferson & Science! The Sage of Monticello & ‘The System of Things’ He Explored”—presented by award-winning historian Rick Britton on three Thursdays: January 31, and February 7 and 14.

Jefferson was forever torn between the call to public service and his deep longing for a private life devoted to his family and his amazingly eclectic scientific pursuits. “Nature intended me for the tranquil pursuits of science,” he wrote in 1809, “by rendering them my supreme delight.” Over the course of his lifetime—despite spending over 30 years in public service—the author of the Declaration applied his analytical mind to such wide-ranging fields as agriculture, anthropology, archaeology, astronomy, botany, cryptography, ethnology, linguistics, mechanical invention, meteorology, and paleontology. In several of these realms of science Jefferson’s contributions were significant. In these three lectures we’ll explore in detail his numerous “tranquil pursuits”; the Big Bone Lick, Kentucky Expedition (several of the massive bones from which are on display in Monticello’s Entrance Hall); and his seemingly lifelong fascination with inventions both useful and frivolous. After a routine tour of Jefferson’s mountaintop home, many of its annual 450,000 visitors come away believing he invented all of the half-dozen gadgets they’ve seen. Is this true? Come join us and find out!

Join us at Michie Tavern for all three lectures!

  • January 31 – “The Tranquil Pursuits”: Jefferson’s Many Extraordinary Scientific Inquiries
  • February 7 – “Bones of the Mammoth”: The 1807 Big Bone Lick, Kentucky Expedition
  • February 14 – American Gadgeteer: Thomas Jefferson & Invention

The lectures begin at 10:30 a.m. A question-and-answer period follows at 11:15, with lunch at 11:30. The $26 fee for each event includes the lecture, lunch with the speaker, and a book signing. Using OLLI’s online registration system or the form at the back of this catalog, sign up early to attend one, two, or all three presentations and to enjoy a traditional, colonial, Michie Tavern lunch, as well. NOTE: You must be an OLLI member for the spring 2019 semester to participate in the Winter Session. The registration deadline is the Friday before each lecture; no refund requests will be accepted after that day. (Maximum capacity: 75. Snow date: February 21)

Rick Britton is an award-winning historian who has written extensively on the history of the Virginia Piedmont. A much-sought-after speaker, he’s the author of Jefferson: A Monticello Sampler and 2015’s Virginia Vignettes: Famous Characters & Events in Central Virginia History. He also teaches classes on central Virginia history, conducts tours of historic sites, and illustrates maps for history books and web-sites.