It was, as advertised, quite beautiful, and I enjoyed walking through the house and learning all about the little, practical inventions Jefferson had installed (like a weather vane that could display which way the wind was blowing in three different rooms of the house or a special wine elevator from the cellar to the dining room).
But when we checked out Jefferson's office, I heard a gasp.
"That's what I want my desk to look like!" It was the husband, speaking with the kind of rapture usually reserved for tween girls.
"A foot rest!" he said, clearly impressed. "Leather seat? Woah, are those candles stuck to the armrests?!"
We stayed behind for so long, him oooohing and aaaahing, me making sure he didn't hop the divider and plant his butt right in American history, that the tour guide actually had to come back to find and hustle us on to the next room.
But it didn't matter. The husband was in love.
To be fair, it's a pretty nice office, and, like the rest of the house, nicely personalized with some of Jefferson's inventions, including this very cool portable sloped lap desk (this one's a replica from Woodbender).
Or his fancy copying machine, which would automatically copy whatever he was writing onto a separate sheet of paper (he saved copies of all his letters).
But despite the husband's wondering if we could get a desk like Jefferson's into our little apartment (not unless Ikea breaks out their "presidential line"), I figured pictures would be the closest he'd get to experiencing Jefferson's office.
So guess who was super excited to go down to the children's exhibit and discover a life-size replica of The Desk?
Yeah, that's right. He was so thrilled! He pretty much sat down and didn't move for the next ten minutes, continually muttering "This is so awesome..." while our three-year-old nephew asked if he could sit down in Jefferson's chair. "One sec, buddy!"
He was extremely disappointed, however, that the replica replicator machine failed to work as advertised.
But man, he loved that desk.
Please note, this was after we had already spent all day at the museum but before the husband and his brother discovered a giant pile of wooden blocks at the kids activity table and decided to build a miniature version of Monticello. While the eight-month-old snoozed in my sister-in-laws arms and the three-year-old asked over and over if we could leave, the two of them stacked those blocks with the intensity and flair of Le Corbusier.
My favorite moment of the day:
Kids Museum Curator, wandering over to check them out: Oh wow, that's really nice.
Husband: It's supposed to be Monticello!
Curator (with patience): Yes, it looks very accurate! (long, long pause) So... Did either of you come here with kids?
Last weekend, out of the blue, the husband said, "Are you going to do a post about Thomas Jefferson's office? You should do a post about Thomas Jefferson's office!"
Here you go.
I guess I know what I'm getting him for Christmas...