This scale model was commissioned by the people of Charlottesville for the 1926 Sesquicentennial Exposition in Philadelphia, a world's fair celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Although formally invited, the University of Virginia did not actually exhibit at the event after President Edwin Anderson Alderman's appeal for funding was denied by the governor. But Alderman managed to find space for it at the Exposition in “Jefferson’s House,” a reproduction of the room Jefferson had rented while staying in Philadelphia in 1776.
The model was created by architect William T. Partridge, who had supervised the construction of two intricate models of the National Mall a quarter century earlier, working under Charles McKim. It was restored in 2010.