FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 21, 2008
Contact: Jennifer M. Guild, Senior Officer for Public Relations and Marketing
Tel: (804) 342-9665 | Email:
Visit the web site
Houston, We Have an African American History Website for Teachers
Astronaut Leland Melvin Announces Launch of
VHS Web-based Resource Funded By The Links, Inc.
Richmond, VA – On Friday April 4, 2008, at 11:00 a.m., astronaut Leland Melvin will visit the Virginia Historical Society (VHS) to help inaugurate the Society's latest web-based resource, Linking to Our Past: Documenting the African American Experience in Virginia. The web pages, designed to be used by teachers, include letters, paintings, diary entries, teacher registers, broadsides, speeches, sketches, and other materials from the Society's collections that help reveal the richness of Virginia's African American history.
The site consists of almost seventy-five scans of fourteen items along with a series of teacher pages that accompany each item. The pages are designed to help educators teach various facets of African American history from the 1850s to the present and are correlated with the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs).
The project was underwritten by a generous grant from The Links Foundation, Incorporated, the philanthropic arm of The Links, Incorporated, an international organization of women of color located throughout the United States, the Bahamas, Germany, and South Africa. The project was supported by the Richmond Chapter of The Links, whose members advised the staff of the Virginia Historical Society.
"I speak on behalf of all members of the Richmond chapter of Links when I say that this opportunity to bring history alive for teachers is an innovation that we are proud to present," said Carolyn Lambert, President, Richmond Chapter The Links, Incorporated. "Anything we can do to help educators interpret African American history represents a wise investment in the future."
Leland D. Melvin, a native of Lynchburg, received a bachelor of science degree in chemistry from the University of Richmond in 1986. In 1991, he received a master of science degree in materials science engineering from the University of Virginia. Melvin went to work for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1989 and was selected for Astronaut Candidate Training in 1998.
As co-manager of NASA's Educator Astronaut Program, Melvin traveled across the country, engaging thousands of students and teachers in the excitement of space exploration and inspiring them to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. He completed his first space flight in early 2008 and has logged more than 306 hours in space.
"We are pleased to have Leland Melvin helping us launch the website," said William Obrochta, Director of Education at the VHS. "In his travels, Mr. Melvin has inspired countless schoolchildren and teachers, emphasizing the importance of education. And his 'links' to the Richmond community make his participation especially appropriate."
Leland Melvin, representatives from the Richmond Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, and VHS staff will debut Linking to Our Past: Documenting the African American Experience in Virginia in the Society's Weinstein Classroom on April 4th at 11:00 a.m. This event is free and open to the public.
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