When James Madison developed the foundations of the Constitution, he relied on thousands of books in his overflowing library at his Montpelier home. Today, his entire library could fit in the palm of his hand. Now, iOS (iPhone, iPod, iPad) users can carry that home, Montpelier, in the palms of their hands.
A new mobile app, free for a limited time, is integrating modern technology with the historic home of James and Dolley Madison to give estate visitors — and virtual visitors — an in-depth view of Montpelier, the place where James Madison envisioned the ideas that became the Constitution 225 years ago. The app will be available in the Apple App Store beginning July 4. The Montpelier Visitor Center will have iPods available for visitors who do not own iOS devices.
“The new app gives visitors a great way to customize and enhance their experience at the home of the Father of the Constitution as they tour the mansion and grounds,” said Sean T. O’Brien, chief operating officer and executive vice president of Montpelier. “Visitors can better plan their trips by learning about Montpelier before they arrive, and see some of the historic objects we have assembled from around the world to show how James and Dolley Madison lived at their beloved home. The app also allows virtual visitors the chance to experience Montpelier from afar.”
The Montpelier app offers users detailed information about objects they see in the Montpelier mansion, such as Dolley Madison’s soup tureen, which she used in the President’s House (White House), and a chess set like the one James Madison and his best friend, Thomas Jefferson, used in their epic chess duels. The app also features an interactive map with current attractions, such as “Hands-On Cooking,” the locations of buildings that were part of the estate during Madison’s time, and information about the Gilmore (freedman’s) Farm, and the Landmark Forest hiking trails. The app also includes photos, audio, and text on exterior sites, and detailed photographs and in-depth text on decorative objects in the collection. The app includes videos of the evolution of the Montpelier mansion through generations of Madisons, and trip planning tools, such as hours and driving directions.
An Android version of the app will be available later this year.