"In the Beginning, all America was Virginia."
William Byrd II
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A Material World: Photographs of the 1980s from the Richmond Times-Dispatch

WW1 America

The Commonwealth and the Great War


A Material World: Photographs of the 1980s from the Richmond Times-Dispatch — NOVEMBER 18, 2017 THROUGH MARCH 4, 2018

Girl wearing multiple Swatch Watches. A Material World exhibition. Image Courtesy the Richmond Times-DispatchBookended by the Reagan Revolution and the end of the Cold War, the 1980s brought fundamental changes to American society and our nation’s geopolitical role. Featuring forty-three iconic images from the archives of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and accompanied by historical objects that include fragments of the Berlin Wall and a tambourine and gloves used by Prince in Purple Rain, this exhibition highlights political and social issues as well as pop culture and fashion trends as they were experienced by Virginians. These photographs were important as news when they first appeared in print thirty years ago and today they confirm to younger generations that people really wore legwarmers and went to stores to rent movies. After being on display from November 18, 2017 through March 4, 2018 at the Virginia Historical Society, the exhibition will travel to museums nationwide.

This exhibition was produced in partnership with the Richmond Times-Dispatch.


WW1 America — February 17, 2018 THROUGH JULY 29, 2018

There is much we can learn about the challenges we face as a nation today by looking back at America 100 years ago. The World War I era—1914 to 1919—was as dynamic, violent, and colorful as any period in United States history. Americans were pulled between poles of fear and hope, between a deepening cynicism and a broadening optimism. This exhibition—featuring more than 100 objects, powerful multimedia presentations, and interactive experiences—focuses on the war as a transformational event that was always in dialogue, sometimes violently, with other social movements and upheavals, such as immigration and migration, racial conflict, women’s rights, labor struggles, challenges to civil liberties, and the meaning of citizenship.

WW1 America is part of a nearly year-long commemoration of World War I and its effect on Virginia and its citizens that will include a variety of public programs and a statewide memorial project to honor the thousands of soldiers who lost their lives during the conflict.

WW1 America was produced by the Minnesota Historical Society in partnership with the National Constitution Center, the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial, the Oakland Museum of California, and the Bullock Texas State History Museum. The exhibition has been made possible in part by major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.


The Commonwealth and the Great War — FEBRUARY 17, 2018 THROUGH NOVEMBER 28, 2018

Victory Edition 1919 War Gardening and Home Storage of Vegetables (VHS call number: SB321 N 3 1919)

The Commonwealth and the Great War tells stories of individual Virginians who carried the state’s proud military tradition to the battlefront. 100,000 of them served; 3,700 died. Many more were injured. 39% of the draftees in 1918 were African Americans. Hundreds of Virginia nurses and doctors followed soldiers to Europe. In this new exhibit, visitors will see a Red Cross uniform worn by Carrie Triplett Taliaferro Scott of Richmond; the naval uniform worn by Walter Alfred Clayton, Jr., of Crewe, who served on the U.S.S. Batjan—a Dutch freighter used by the U.S. Navy to transport ordnance to France; and the helmet and goggles of Air Corps pursuit pilot Walter S. Robertson, born in Nottoway County, who, after his service in the Great War, served his country from high level appointments in the U.S. Diplomatic Corps and U.S. State Department.

In addition, the VHS will coordinate a statewide veteran memorial project to honor the thousands of soldiers who lost their lives during this global conflict. Tributes to these fallen heroes will adorn the front of the museum from early 2018 through the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day on November 11, 2018.

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