August 3, 2009

First lady Dolley Madison comes to Homewood

The country’s fourth first lady—and the first to hold the moniker as a real position—is the subject of a new documentary that recently filmed historical reenactments at Homewood Museum.

The program, which depicts the life of Dolley Madison in her roles of cultured and elegant hostess, and sharp political adviser to her husband, President James Madison, is scheduled to air in early 2010 as part of PBS’ American Experience history series.

All but two of Homewood’s rooms were used as a backdrop for White House scenes, including famous incidents that occurred there when the British invaded Washington, D.C., during the War of 1812. The producers and filmmakers, TPT National Productions and Middlemarch Films, said they found Homewood to be an ideal location as so much of its furniture and fixtures are of the Madisons’ era, and the museum’s director-curator, Catherine Rogers Arthur, provided vital details on re-creating an authentic period interior.

Following their day at Homewood, the cast and crew moved to locations in and around Richmond, and the Madisons’ Virginia estate, Montpelier, before finishing filming and editing at a studio in New York.