In addition to the story below, The Lady had another story. It was not as serious, but it was tragic in its own way. Anyway, I'll turn Chef Mojo over to The Lady and let her tell the story:
Another one of the historical interpreters (tour guides) had a story to tell regarding a teacher/chaperone on one of his tours yesterday morning. A teacher with a group of students asked this guide whether Jefferson knew Lincoln. She said that since there are copies of the Declaration of Independence in the house, was Jefferson a fan of Lincoln? The guide was perplexed, and asked what she meant. She said, well, Lincoln wrote the Declaration of Independence, and there are copies of the Declaration here, so did Jefferson know Lincoln? The guide responded, ever so diplomatically, that Lincoln was born after Jefferson had died, and that it was Jefferson who wrote the Declaration of Independence. The teacher replied, "Well, I'm a science teacher, so I don't need to know things like that."
What can you say after hearing a story like that? And this is hardly the first time that we guides have heard things like this coming from schoolteachers and the public in general. I really should be creating a "Wall of Shame," a list of stupid questions and comments overheard at Monticello. I did that for exam essay questions while teaching at the University of Maryland, College Park. Of course, at Monticello, with close to 500,000 visitors a year, keeping track of the many stupid mutterings would be an impossible task.