FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 12, 2006
Contact: Carol Anne Baker, Media Relations Specialist
(804) 342-9665 email:
VIRGINIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY, THE MUSEUM OF VIRGINIA HISTORY
2006 EXHIBITION AND EVENT CALENDAR
(As of January 1, 2006; calendar subject to change; please call to confirm)
Patrick Henry: His Story (through January 29, 2006): Long known for his fiery 1775 speech in which he summed up the spirit of the American Revolution, Patrick Henry is an icon of Virginia and U.S. history. This exhibition presents a broad overview of his life and brings to light many facets of his long, public career. It highlights his days as Virginia's foremost courtroom attorney, his service in state government and as governor, and his role as prominent opponent of federal power. The exhibition features paintings and manuscripts, as well as objects owned by Henry himself.
In Jefferson's Shadow: The Architecture of Thomas Blackburn (through May 28, 2006): Based on ink and watercolor drawings and documents of Thomas R. Blackburn, architectural student of Thomas Jefferson, this exhibition provides a unique insight into the little-understood practice of architecture in the early nineteenth century and an intriguing view into the life of this distinguished builder and his mentor. As a young carpenter, Blackburn engaged in the construction of Jefferson's "academical village" at the University of Virginia. He also began a program of architectural study seemingly guided by Jefferson himself. The drawings Blackburn executed in the ensuing decades document his emergence as the mature architect of such important commissions as the Western State Lunatic Asylum in Staunton.
Virginia's Diplomats (February 4–July 30, 2006): This exhibit explores the careers of thirty-one Virginians who represented the nation's interests as ambassadors or at the Department of State from the founding of the republic until our own day. Among them are Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Marshall, John Young Mason, Thomas Nelson Page, Alexander Weddell, Edward R. Stettinius, Walter S. Robertson, and David K. E. Bruce. Objects and letters from the Virginia Historical Society, as well as loans from Monticello, the James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library, the College of William and Mary, the National Portrait Gallery, the U.S. Department of State, and other institutions, will illustrate the changing role played by Virginia's diplomats in the arena of world politics and commerce. Also included are gifts to ambassadors from foreign government and objects collected abroad by the diplomats themselves.
Safely Harbored: New African American Acquisitions (February 11–August 2006): This exhibition highlights recent acquisitions that help us understand and appreciate Virginia's rich culture and history. The Virginia Historical Society has made great strides since the early 1990s to include artifacts pertaining to African Americans. One of the challenges faced when collecting African Americana is that many have not seen these artifacts as a valued part of history and culture. In an effort to round out our collections, we have actively pursued African Americana. This exhibition is a sampling of objects and documents acquired since 2001.
Cathedral of the Sacred Heart: A Centennial Celebration (March 4–August 6, 2006): In 1901 the Archdiocese of Richmond received funding to build a new cathedral on land acquired in the city near what is today Monroe Park. In 1906 construction was completed, and the new Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was dedicated on November 29 of that year. This exhibition will celebrate the centennial of the cathedral by interpreting its construction and the changes that have shaped it over the past 100 years. The exhibition will also look at the architect, Joseph McGuire, his other works in Virginia, and the patronage of Thomas Fortune and Ida Barry Ryan whose generous philanthropy made the cathedral possible.
Quilts of the Old Dominion (March 18–December 3, 2006): Quilts made in Virginia before 1900 and selected by a committee of the Virginia Consortium of Quilters will be on view on a rotating basis. There will be three rotations, each displaying twenty quilts: First Rotation, March 18–May 31, Second Rotation, June 1–August 30, and Third Rotation, September 1–December 3, 2006.
175 Years of Collecting: A Virginia History Quiz (July 1–December 2006): Treasures from the VHS library, manuscript, and museum collections are organized as a quiz that tests visitors' knowledge of Virginia history.
Virginians at Work (long-term exhibition opens July 22, 2006): This exhibition will tell the story of how Virginians have made a living and why jobs have changed. Focusing on people rather than on abstract principles, the exhibition follows four broad categories: "A Colonial Economy (1600–1780)"; "A Commercial Economy (1780–1865)"; "An Industrial Economy (1865–1945)"; and "A Service Economy (1945–2006)." These titles refer to the most dynamic element of the economy in each period. On July 22 the new wing, and this exhibit, will be presented for the first time to the public with a free open house. Enjoy guided tours and family activities as the Society celebrates its 175th anniversary in a new Home for History.
Pierre Daura's Vision of Virginia (September 16, 2006–January 14, 2007): In tribute to Pierre Daura, the Virginia Historical Society will present a long-overdue exhibition of his Virginia works entitled Pierre Daura's Vision of Virginia. Daura was a Spanish-born painter who in 1927 met Richmond art student Louis Blair in Paris. They married the next year and in 1939, at the outbreak of World War II, relocated to the Blair summer homestead in Rockbridge County. The theme of our show is taken from the artist’s statement, "It seems to me . . . an important contribution to help [my Virginia neighbors] discover the beauty of the land where they live."
The exhibition is large, consisting of eighty-five works presented in three galleries. Focus is given to Daura's paintings of the landscapes of Rockbridge County and his depictions of the people there and in Lynchburg, where he taught art for many years. In an introductory section, the artist's European career is surveyed, so that the viewer who is unfamiliar with Daura will be able to understand the dynamics of European modernism that invigorate his canvases. In February 2007 the show will travel to Washington and Lee University in Lexington, where it will remain on view through March.
2006 BANNER LECTURES: Lectures take place at noon and are free with admission or a Richmond Times-Dispatch Press Pass coupon. Seating is limited and offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations are not required.
February 2: Heather Andrea Williams, "Self-Taught: African American Education in Slavery and Freedom"
March 16: Harold Holzer, "Art in the Civil War South" (co-sponsored with Museum of the Confederacy)
April 6: Pete Henriques, "'A Votary to Love': George Washington's Relationship with Sally Cary Fairfax"
April 13: Peter S. Carmichael, "Defending Virginia, the South, and the Union: Young Virginians during the Civil War Era"
May 23: Simon Schama, "Rough Crossings: Britain, the Slaves, and the American Revolution" (co-sponsored with the English Speaking Union of Richmond)
May 25: Ambassador Thomas Pickering, "The Middle East: Challenges and Opportunities" (co-sponsored with World Affairs Council)
2006 GALLERY WALKS: Gallery Walks take place in the galleries of the Virginia Historical Society. All walks begin at noon unless otherwise indicated. Walks are free with admission and free to members. Reservations are not required.
January 11: Jeffrey Ruggles, "Virginia Manufactory of Arms"
February 15: Dr. Lauranett Lee, "Safely Harbored: New African American Acquisitions"
March 8: Dr. Muriel Rogers, "Virginia's Diplomats"
April 5: Stephanie Jacobe, "Cathedral of the Sacred Heart Centennial"
May 11 (6 p.m.): Eileen "Bunnie" Jordan, quilt appraiser, collector and historian, "Quilts of the Old Dominion" (First Rotation)
June 7: Ambassador Randolph Bell, "Virginia's Diplomats"
July 12: Frances Pollard, "175 Years of Collecting: A Virginia History Quiz"
August 9: Dr. James C. Kelly, "Virginians at Work"
September 20: Dr. William Rasmussen, "Pierre Daura in Virginia"
November 8: Eileen "Bunnie" Jordan, quilt appraiser, collector and historian, "Quilts of the Old Dominion" (Third Rotation)
December 6: Marc Wagner, "Researching Your House"
"WE'LL SEE YOU IN CLASS" NEW EDUCATIONAL COURSES: The VHS is pleased to announce a new educational initiative, "We'll See You In Class." As part of plans to celebrate the Society's 175th anniversary in 2006, "We'll See You In Class" invites students of all ages to explore Virginia history topics with both guest and staff instructors. Classes are held at the Virginia Historical Society and registration is required as listed.
"Overlord: The Allied Invasion of Europe, 6 June 1944": Taught by Retired Brigadier General John W. Mountcastle, this four-part course will be held Thursday evenings, February 23, March 2, 9, and 16, from 5:30–7:00 p.m. in the Halsey Family Lecture Hall at the Virginia Historical Society. Tuition for this class is $110 for VHS members, $125 for non-members, and $32 for an optional day-long bus tour to the D-Day Memorial in Bedford on March 18, 2006. Enrollment for General Mountcastle's class is limited to 100. To register, send a check payable to the Virginia Historical Society to Cynthia Moore, P.O. Box 7311, Richmond, VA 23221. After February 1, 2006, tuition is non-refundable.
"The South on the Silver Screen": taught by Dr. Paul A. Levengood on Thursday evenings in June. Each evening we will present a seminal Hollywood film and follow it with a discussion about the role movies have played in shaping the popular perceptions of the American South. The films shown will include "The Birth of a Nation," "Gone With the Wind," "To Kill a Mockingbird," "In The Heat of the Night," and "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" Advance registration is not required for this class. Free with regular VHS admission. Classes will be held in the new auditorium at the VHS.
The Story of Virginia, an American Experience: Located in the Robins Center for Virginia History, this 10,000-square-foot exhibition with more than 1,000 objects covers 16,000 years of Virginia history from prehistoric times to the present. Featured are archaeological collections from the Virginia State Department of Historic Resources, a 17th-century dugout canoe, an original Conestoga wagon, an original 1820s smokehouse and kitchen, a 1918 Richmond streetcar (Richmond operated the world’s first electric streetcar system), and more. Visitor and child-friendly, interactive features include a brief orientation film, a cartoon-based computer game on Virginia history, hand-held story phones with additional exhibition information, and question-and-answer games throughout.
Silver in Virginia: This exhibition, organized by location, includes not only silver produced in such major urban centers as Alexandria, Norfolk, and Richmond, but also works crafted in small towns like Dumfries, Fincastle, and Waynesboro. Also included are some images of Virginia silversmiths themselves and place settings using silver and ceramics from the Society's collections.
The Virginia Manufactory of Arms Collection: This exhibition presents weapons made in Richmond from 1802 through 1821. The state manufactory supplied the Virginia militia with flintlock muskets, pistols, swords, and rifles – examples of each are on display. Rather than rely on the federal government for weapons, Virginia established its own manufactory, the products of which are now on display in this new exhibition. Some of the arms likely defended Virginia during the British campaigns on the Chesapeake Bay in 1813–1814. This collection is not only important as an impressive display of weaponry, but it also reflects evidence of a key component in the evolution of state and national interests in the early American government: suspicion of tyranny and preparations to defend against it.
Four Seasons of the Confederacy: Murals by Charles Hoffbauer: In 1914 French mural artist Charles Hoffbauer was commissioned by the Confederate Memorial Association to paint a series of Civil War murals for the newly constructed Battle Abbey. With the outbreak of World War I, he interrupted his labors and returned to France, leaving his project half completed. After the war he returned and completed his work, which was unveiled in January 1921. The murals follow the changing seasons and include the "Spring Mural," depicting Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson reviewing his troops in the Shenandoah Valley, and the "Summer Mural," which portrays a fictitious gathering of Confederate commanders. The "Autumn Mural" shows J. E. B. Stuart leading his cavalrymen on a foray through Virginia woods. The series ends with the "Winter Mural," which illustrates the misery of an artillery battery in retreat through the snow, its equipment shattered and its men on the verge of exhaustion.
Making the Confederate Murals (Note mural exhibition information above): Charles Hoffbauer, who later worked for the Walt Disney Studios in animation, left hundreds of pastel, watercolor, oil, and pencil sketches on paper and canvas, as well as photographs and the clay models that he used to create his famous murals, The Four Seasons of the Confederacy.
Arming the Confederacy: The little-known story of the Confederacy's success in producing its own weapons is shown through objects from the Maryland-Steuart Collection, considered the world's finest collection of Confederate-made weapons and accouterments. The collection includes more than 150 Confederate-made rifles, carbines, muskets, pistols, dirks, and more.
Warwick to Windsor Farms: Building Virginia House (long-term exhibition at Virginia House): The design and building of Virginia House in Windsor Farms, home of Alexander and Virginia Weddell, is the subject of this exhibit featuring vintage photos and architectural plans. The stones and much of the glass were once part of a twelfth-century priory in Warwickshire, England, home to the Order of the Holy Sepulcher. The Weddells, with their architect Henry Grant Morse, created a composite design for their house including a center wing that recalled elements from the original priory, a wing that replicated Sulgrave Manor, the ancestral home of George Washington, and a tower wing that reproduced the gatehouse at Wormleighton, home of the Spencer and Churchill families. When the house was completed in 1929, the Weddells deeded it to the Virginia Historical Society, retaining lifetime tenancy for themselves.
Solving History's Mysteries: A History Discovery Lab: This interactive exhibition, organized by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources in partnership with the Virginia Historical Society, offers a broad variety of hands-on activities and focuses on the process of discovery, how we learn, and the important role historic architecture and archaeology play in defining our communities and culture.
2006 VIRGINIA HOUSE EVENTS:
Free with admission unless otherwise noted. Please call (804) 353-4251 to confirm.
"Four Seasons" Garden Walks (February 23, April 13, July 27, and September 28): These Garden Walks highlight the seasonal changes of the gardens. Reservations suggested. Free to members, $5 for non-members. All walks begin at noon.
"Virginia's Diplomats" Lecture Series: Virginia House and the World Affairs Council of Richmond will host this subscription lecture series at Virginia House (3 lectures including lunch: $50). The speakers will be three distinguished ambassadors, veterans of the foreign service (listed below). Lunch and a curator's tour of the exhibition, Virginia's Diplomats, will be included with each lecture. For further information or to register call Tracy Bryan, Site Manager, at (804) 353-4251.
April 12: Peter S. Bridges, "From Turin to Mogadishu: The Changing Face of American Diplomacy in 130 Years"
May 3: Samuel W. Lewis, "Trudging Toward a Receding Horizon: Trying to Make Peace in the Holy Land, Excerpts from a Diplomat's Diary"
June 28: George F. Ward, Jr., "Dealing with International Conflict in the 21st Century"
Behind-the-Scenes Tours (March 17 and October 27): Noon and 2 p.m. on each tour date. Free to members, $5 for non-members. Reservations required. Join the staff for a behind-the-scenes look at Virginia House. Visit seldom-seen areas of the museum and enjoy a close look at the collections of Alexander and Virginia Weddell. Programs last approximately one hour.
"Tea and Tours at the Neighbors" (February 12, May 14, December 14, and December 15):
3–5 p.m., $22.50 for members, $25.00 for non-members. Reservations required. Spend an afternoon with the neighbors. This program is co-sponsored with Agecroft Hall. Your visit begins with a tour of the great rooms at Virginia House followed by a walk through the gardens to the terrace at Agecroft Hall where you will enjoy tea. Your visit concludes with a tour of the great rooms at Agecroft Hall. In case of inclement weather, the schedule may be changed to accommodate indoor tea. On May 14, tours begin at Agecroft Hall for your tour followed by a tea and tour at Virginia House. All other events begin at Virginia House.
"Diggin’ in the Dirt" Summer Camp (August 14–18): Reservations required. Ages 7–9, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. daily, Monday, August 14 through Friday, August 18, 2006. $135 per member's child or grandchild; $150 for non-members. Co-sponsored with Agecroft Hall, this summer camp introduces participants to a variety of educational and craft activities. During the week-long program, campers learn how to identify leaves and trees, create garden stakes and pinwheels, and record weather conditions and their garden adventures in a nature journal. The week concludes with a Mad Hatter's tea party for family and staff, hosted by the camp participants.
The Virginia Historical Society is located at 428 N. Boulevard. The Story of Virginia, An American Experience,
a 10,000-square-foot exhibition with more than a thousand objects covering all of Virginia history from prehistoric
times to the present is featured in the Robins Center for Virginia History. Hours: Monday-Saturday 10am - 5pm
and Sunday 1pm - 5pm (Museum Galleries only). Admission: $5/adults, $4/seniors 55+ ($2/Tuesdays–galleries
only), $3/children and students, free/members. Admission to the galleries is free on Sundays. For group tour
information, call (804) 342-9652. For more information, please call (804) 358-4901 or visit