Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Secondary narratives are most easily defined as narratives deemed non-essential to the primary interpretation goals of a historic site. Given the established significance criteria in the United States, secondary narratives are currently undervalued and are challenging to address. James Madison's Montpelier in Orange County, Virginia serves as an ideal lens through which to explore this challenge, given that the estate clearly embodies more than one period of significance.
In 1901 William duPont Sr. of the illustrious Delaware duPont family purchased a large area of land just outside of the small rural town of Orange ,Virginia. Located over two hundred miles from the family's seat in Wilmington, Delaware, this swath of land was no other than the remnants of the estate our nation's fourth president: James Madison's Montpelier. Following their acquisition of the property, duPont and his successors transformed the long lost country estate into a thriving agricultural mecca centered on the duPont's love of horses. Despite the vast impact of the duPonts on Montpelier's modern cultural landscape, little attention has been given to preserving the duPont legacy.
To guide the revaluation of the secondary duPont narrative at Montpelier, as well as at other historic sites, this thesis proposes an alternative value-based approach to supplement the current federally recognized significance criteria in the United States. An adoption and expansion of English Heritage's 'heritage values,' this approach calls for the consideration of both heritage and latent values at historic sites. Such an approach provides for a more holistic consideration of a place, allowing for the valuation of all aspects of a site. The implementation of this heritage-latent value system allows for the reconsideration of secondary narratives, such as in the case of the duPont narrative at Montpelier.
Sanders, Sarah A., "One Land, Two American Dreams: Rediscovering the Secondary duPont Narrative at James Madison's Montpelier" (2015). All Theses. 2171.