It’ll be cold day in… Monticello closes for Khatami
Monticello plans to close tomorrow morning for three hours, at the height of the weekend tourist rush, for a visit from former Iranian president Mohammed Khatami.
"We do realize that visits of this nature are an inconvenience to our staff and visitors, but in the long run, they're rewarding and beneficial," says Monticello spokesperson Wayne Mogielnicki. The home of America's third president will be closed September 9 from 9:30 to 12:30, Mogielnicki says. "Anyone who shows up during that time period will be encouraged to buy a time ticket for later in the day."
At the time of this telephone interview with Mogielnicki this morning, there was no indication either on the front page of the historic house's website or its "visit" page of the impending closure. However, by 2pm, such notice of a "special event" closure had been posted.
Monticello has been closed for heads of state at least 30 times, Mogielnicki says, and Khatami's position as having led a nation that an American president branded part of an "axis of evil" didn't deter the visit.
"We do not necessarily endorse or agree with [heads of state] on anything, but in the Jeffersonian spirit of hospitality and exchange, we think this on fits in with that," Mogielnicki said.
Khatami, widely viewed as a progressive (at least when compared with the current Iranian president) called for the U.S. to remain in Iraq when he spoke yesterday in UVA's Rotunda.