“People contact us all the time with stories and with objects that they think came from Monticello,” said Stein.
Each year, the curators investigate about 50 artifacts. Stein said roughly 1 in every 20 items they examine was once owned by Jefferson and his family.
“I think that one of the happiest days for me was when a women arrived at Monticello with a little book tucked in her hand bag and it turned out be what we think is one of Jefferson’s earliest copies of Ovid,” said Stein.
To authenticate items, the curators will try to trace its ownership leading back to Jefferson. They also try to determine when an object was made. Once missing from Monticello, a wall bracket was located and proven to be original to the home.
“Half of the original nail was still in the bracket and the other half was in the wall,” said Stein.
Most of what you see at Monticello belonged to Thomas Jefferson and his family. The curators are always learning more about the history behind each individual artifact.