On this page you will find links to press releases and VHS announcements. Click on the links below to view news relating to a specific year.
If you are looking for news and press releases from before 2010, please contact Lizzie Oglesby, Senior Officer for Public Relations and Marketing, at 804.342.9665 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Virginia Historical Society (VHS) is stepping into the world of film, through a new project called "Virginia Voices." The VHS urges Virginians to submit their short videos to www.virginiavoices.org. Uploading is simple and quick and every submission will be promptly acknowledged.
The Virginia Historical Society (VHS) will host a Virginia baseball memorabilia collection drive on Saturday, February 8, 2014 from noon to 1:00 p.m. Special guests Kathy and Richard Verlander, parents of All-Star pitcher Justin Verlander, will jump start the drive with a notable contribution to the VHS collection: a game-worn 2009 All-Star jersey signed by Justin Verlander and a 2011 no-hitter commemorative plaque, framed and numbered by Highland Mint.
The Virginia Historical Society (VHS) welcomes the following new members of the board of trustees for 2014: Susan S. Goode of Norfolk; Thomas G. Snead, Jr., of Richmond; and J. Harvie Wilkinson III, of Charlottesville. In addition, E. Claiborne Robins, Jr., of Richmond begins his term as chairman of the board, and John R. Nelson of Richmond begins his term as vice chairman.
The VHS received a $15,000 grant from The Charles Fund, Inc., to support the development and implementation of HistoryConnects programs for Charlottesville City and Albemarle County Public Schools during the 2014-15 school year. HistoryConnects—an award-winning VHS interactive education initiative—reaches learners across the globe using internet technology. The grant represents the second partnership between the VHS, the two school systems, and The Charles Fund, a private organization based in Charlottesville. This money will be used to build on the successful local history boxes utilized during the 2012-13 school year.
The VHS was recognized with an honorable mention Pinnacle Award for the 2012–13 school year. The award was presented to the society for its HistoryConnects program by the Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration, which helps schools by advancing learning through videoconferencing and collaborative technology. The VHS, one of only two organizations in Virginia to win the award, received the honor in the first year it was eligible.
On Saturday, September 28, the VHS is hosting a Quilt Documentation & Discovery Day. This event, organized and run by volunteers from the Virginia Consortium of Quilters, is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Owners are encouraged to bring up to three Virginia-made quilts crafted before the year 2000. Consortium volunteers will photograph and record information about the pieces and any information known about their maker(s). The Virginia Quilt Museum in Harrisonburg will include the documentation in their statewide quilt database. The event is free and open to the public.
Thirty-three researchers were awarded a stipend to conduct research at the Virginia Historical Society. Of the winners, two reside in Virginia, twenty-seven come from across the United States, and four from countries abroad: Australia, Scotland, England, and France. These scholars benefited from access to the society’s extensive holdings for up to two weeks. Most conducted their research from June to August 2013, making the VHS library a busy and active area during the summer months. Topics studied ranged from kidnapped free blacks to Pocahontas as a folk heroine, Revolutionary War veteran masculinity to maritime trade, and literary illustration to political friendships.
At a luncheon in July 2013, the Virginia Historical Society presented awards to eleven individuals and one group who have made significant contributions to research, education, and the mission of the society. The VHS presented eleven different 2012 awards to teachers, a collector, a historian, students, a volunteer, and staff. All of the award winners helped the VHS fulfill its mission of connecting people to America’s past by telling the unparalleled story of Virginia.
On Saturday, August 3, 2013, the Virginia Historical Society opened The Great Western Virginia Cover-Up: Historic Quilts & Bedcovers. The exhibition presents more than thirty bedcovers—spreads, quilts, coverlets, blankets, and a rare bed rug—made in western Virginia between 1800 and 1950. Organized by the Blue Ridge Institute & Museum of Ferrum College, the show examines patterns, methods, and fabrics passed down through generations of Virginia families. The show is on display for free at the VHS until January 5, 2014.
On June 29, 2013, the Virginia Historical Society, in partnership with the Virginia General Assembly's Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Commission, opened Revolutions: Songs of Social Change, 1860-65 and 1960-65. The exhibition uses more than thirty objects to explore music that defined the Civil War and civil rights eras. Show highlights include Pete Seeger's banjo head, an original copy of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, and 1859 handwritten version of Dixie. The exhibition is on display until January 5, 2014.
May 2013 - VHS Displaying Zouve Exhibition During City-wide Civil War & Emancipation Day
On April 6, 2013, the VHS will participate in Civil War & Emancipation Day, the signature event of The Future of Richmond's Past. On that day, more than 25 participating sites will offer free admission, as well as special programs, displays, and tours. For that day only, the VHS is presenting Who Are You Wearing?: The Civil War Zouave Fever, a small exhibition featuring recently-acquired and rare items belonging to Charles Hopkins, a Civil War Zouave unit soldier who fought and died in Virginia during the war. This is the first time the collection has ever been publicly displayed.
A new exhibition at the Virginia Historical Society showcases nearly fifty photographs of U.S. presidents from John F. Kennedy to Barack Obama. The President’s Photographer: Fifty Years Inside the Oval Office, a traveling National Geographic show, features both iconic and rarely seen images of American presidents through the eyes of their official photographers. It is on display at the VHS through July 8, 2013.
On March 26, 2013, representatives from The Woman’s Club of Petersburg delivered boxes holding more than 100 items to the Virginia Historical Society. The materials—dating back to 1917—document meetings, activities, and leaders of the one-hundred-and-sixty-year-old organization. Once VHS archivists have processed the deposited collection, the documents will be made available for research in the society’s library.
The Virginia Historical Society welcomes five new trustees who will serve through 2018: Charles L. Cabell; Cordel L. Faulk; William H. Fralin, Jr.; George C. Freeman III; and William C. Wooldridge. The VHS board is made up of twenty-one trustees, six honorary vice chairmen, and one regional vice chairman.
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and First Lady Maureen McDonnell declared 2013 the commonwealth’s “Year of the Historic Home." Richmond’s most renowned historic homes and museums will come together in a collaborative effort to open their doors admission-free to the public. Exclusively during the weekend of March 23 and 24, 2013, seven participating sites—Agecroft Hall, the John Marshall House, the Edgar Allan Poe Museum, Virginia House, the White House of the Confederacy, Wickham House, and the Wilton House Museum—will offer complimentary admission to visitors who have a printed Time Traveler Passport from the Year of the Virginia Historic Home website.
Former Virginia Historical Society trustee and long-time supporter Hugh Vernon White, Jr., passed away in August 2012. To honor his memory and celebrate the many contributions Mr. White made to the VHS and the law firm, Hunton & Williams LLP and a number of its present and former partners are establishing the Hugh V. White, Jr., Outreach Education Fund.
On February 11, 2013, the Virginia Historical Society unveiled twenty-three silver sulfide prints by award-winning naturalist photographer and Farmville, Va., native Jack Jeffers. The images mark the start of the second rotation of the popular exhibition End of an Era: The Photography of Jack Jeffers.
On February 9, 2013, at 1:00 p.m., the Virginia Historical Society is hosting the first public screening of “The Making of Lincoln.” This documentary—one of the five films that make up the 2013 Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Southern Film Festival—gives a behind-the-scenes look at Lincoln, the award-winning feature film by Steven Spielberg that focuses on President Abraham Lincoln’s role in the abolition of slavery. After the screening, members of the production team will participate in a panel discussion about the feature. In addition to showing the documentary, the VHS will be holding a Lincoln movie memorabilia collection drive during the event.
Former Virginia Historical Society trustee and long-time supporter William Willis Berry passed away in April 2012. Soon after Berry’s death, Carole and Marcus Weinstein, on behalf of Weinstein Properties, established a VHS endowed fund in his memory. The Dominion Foundation also made a contribution to the William Willis Berry Educational Fund. Along with funds from VHS board colleagues, staff, and members, plus friends and family in the community, the endowment now includes more than half a million dollars that will be used to assure an enduring stream of income to support educational initiatives at the VHS.
At the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference meeting, held in Richmond October 25-27, 2012, the Virginia Historical Society was recognized for Unknown No Longer: A Database of Virginia Slave Names. The Conference’s Arline Custer Memorial Award Committee presented the VHS with the 2012 C. Herbert Finch Online Publication Award, which included a $250 gift, for its work on the slave name database.
As a hobbyist and collector of American presidential memorabilia, Dr. Allen Frey has assembled a chronological, visual summary of every U.S. presidential election. The online exhibition, Getting the Message Out: Presidential Campaign Memorabilia from the Collection of Allen A. Frey, features more than 100 images of presidential campaign memorabilia. There is a page dedicated to each election that includes a concise summary of the major features of the election.
At a special luncheon on July 18, 2012, the Virginia Historical Society presented nine awards to individuals who have made significant contributions to research, education, and the mission of the society.
As part of the National Endowment for the Humanities sponsored event, Emancipation Nation: Celebrating Freedom on Constitution Day, the VHS and The American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar are co-presenting an Emancipation Nation Watch Party. This event—modeled on gatherings of slaves and abolitionists held on the eve of the Emancipation Proclamation becoming law on January 1, 1863—features a live-streamed panel of five leading Civil War scholars at the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. Following the program, VHS historians will discuss Virginia’s connections to Emancipation.
Twenty-five researchers from across the United States and three from France, Canada, and England were awarded a stipend to conduce research in the VHS library. These scholars benefit from access to the society’s extensive collections for up to three weeks, usually during the summer months. This year scholars are studying topics such as masculinity, plantation society, slave refugee camps, church property rights, and 18th century religion and medicine.
On August 11, 2012, the Virginia Historical Society will host four Negro League baseball players. Henry "Pistol" Mason, Joe "Pop" Durham, Mamie "Peanut" Johnson-Goodman, and Pedro Sierra will participate in an interview-style educational program answering questions about their Negro League ball-playing days and Civil Rights struggles. After the discussion, they will sign autographs and take pictures with visitors. In addition to meeting Negro League players, two Richmond Flying Squirrels baseball players will participate in the event.
In conjunction with Richmond’s citywide Civil War & Emancipation Day activities, the Virginia Historical Society will display an original congressional copy of the Thirteenth Amendment Resolution that ended slavery in the United States. The document will be on display April 14, 2012, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 15, 2012, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. only.
The Virginia Historical Society is hosting Richmond’s first Food Truck Court, a gathering of mobile catering vendors, for two weeks in April. Participating food trucks will offer gourmet chef inspired food, specialty beverages, and desserts. Patrons are invited to utilize the picnic tables and grassy courtyard located inside the VHS parking lot to enjoy their dining purchases.
The Virginia Historical Society is hosting a special educational program called With a Collector’s Eye: An Institute on Southern Furniture. The event will feature two sessions taught by guest instructor Sumpter Priddy III: New Perspectives: Lessons from the Antiques Market and The Maturing Field of Antiques Collecting in the South.
On February 20, 2012, the Virginia Historical Society opened a new exhibition featuring twenty-three silver sulfide prints by award-winning naturalist photographer and Farmville, Va., native Jack Jeffers. The images depicted in End of an Era: The Photography of Jack Jeffers feature Virginia’s rugged mountain people, weather-beaten structures, and well-hidden Appalachia landscapes. With the prints presented, visitors can read excerpts of stories Jeffers shares about what he saw in Virginia’s Blue Ridge region in the late 1960s, 1970s, and early 1980s.
On March 16, 2012, the VHS is hosting From the Earth: The Environment in Virginia's Past and Future. This free, day-long conference focuses on the historic relationship between Virginia's environment and its people. The conference is made possible by a generous grant from the Virginia Environmental Endowment.