FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 28, 2010
Contact: Jennifer M. Guild, Senior Officer for Public Relations and Marketing
Tel: (804) 342-9665 | Email:
Building Boom on the Boulevard: Museums Flourish on One-Time Farmland
Virginia Historical Society Exhibit Shows Changes to Block Dominated by Art and History
Richmond, VA—As the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) wraps up construction on its new wing and prepares to reopen to the public on May 1, 2010, its neighbor on the Boulevard, the Virginia Historical Society (VHS), presents a special exhibition that explores the changes that have occurred on the block occupied by these two world-class museums.
The Boulevard and How It Grew: From Soldiers' Home to the Home of World Class Museums opens at the VHS on May 1. Through twelve photographs, postcards, illustrations, and a map, the exhibition will give visitors a brief look at the 115-year-history of the block currently occupied by the VHS, the VMFA, the Robinson House, the Confederate Chapel, the United Daughters of the Confederacy building, and the Robert E. Lee Camp Memorial Park.
"This exhibition documents the steady evolution of the museum block, showing that like Rome, it was not built in a day," said Jeffrey Ruggles, VHS curator of prints and photographs and curator of The Boulevard and How It Grew exhibition. "Because there are buildings still standing that date back over a century, there is often confusion among visitors and residents about who owns and runs which structure. I hope that this exhibition helps clear up some of that confusion by showing how each part of the puzzle developed. I also hope that visitors realize that the institutions that occupy this block are significant in ways that reach far beyond the city of Richmond, and even the state of Virginia."
The exhibition tells how the thirty-four acres of farmland that was purchased from the Robinson family in 1884 developed into buildings that house extensive collections and impressive exhibitions related to world art and Virginia history. The Boulevard and How It Grew closes at the VHS on July 18, 2010.
"This block has been in transition for most of its existence," said Paul Levengood, VHS president and CEO. "We are glad that the construction is almost finished and visitors will be able to experience two world-class museums free of charge. Art and history—the defining filters for studying civilization within feet of each other."
For more than 178 years, the Virginia Historical Society (VHS) has been the steward of our state—and often national—history. Headquartered at 428 North Boulevard in Richmond, the VHS features award-winning exhibitions that are entertaining and educational for visitors of all ages. Although designated the Official State Historical Society, the VHS is a privately funded non-profit organization that relies on contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations to sustain its operations. Hours: Tuesday–Saturday 10 am–5 pm and Sunday 1 pm–5 pm (shop and museum galleries only). Admission is free. For group tour information, call (804) 342-9652. For more information, please call (804) 358-4901 or visit www.vahistorical.org.