"In the Beginning, all America was Virginia."
William Byrd II
Next event
Featured Promotion

Learn more about items related to commencement exercises in the VHS collections.

Van de Vyver Institute Diploma
Stories at the Museum - this Saturday 11/1/14 at 11am - Virginia Historical Society #rvakids #vahistory #rva t.co/Fs5gXN3ILS

A New Virginia Gallery

Virtual tour of a New Virginia gallery, Part I
Take a 360 degree tour of the "New Virginia" gallery, Part I of the Story of Virginia.
Virtual tour of the "New Virginia" gallery, Part II
Take a 360 degree tour of the "New Virginia" gallery, Part I of the Story of Virginia.
The Passing Storm, Shenandoah Valley Enter Fullscreen More information
The Passing Storm, Shenandoah Valley
As late as the 1920s, painters still looked to find bucolic scenery in the Valley. Here Alexis Fournier (1865–1948) shows that nature is always renewing itself, and in turn the spirit of those who depend upon the land for their well being. Fournier was a Minnesota painter who in 1893 he had traveled to Paris for training. Working on site in the Valley, probably in Rockingham County or further north, he adapted French Impressionism to an idyllic setting. (VHS accession number: 1996.172.2, Lora Robins Collection of Virginia Art)
Ellen Glasgow Enter Fullscreen More information
Ellen Glasgow
Ellen Glasgow (1873–1945), one of the founding members of the Equal Suffrage League, won a Pulitzer in 1942 for In This Our Life. Her novels attacked the Old Dominion's "coloured spectacles of evasive idealism." (VHS accession number: 1946.30)
Arthur Ashe sketch Enter Fullscreen More information
Arthur Ashe, sketch by Paul DiPasquale
Arthur Ashe was born in Richmond, Virginia, on July 10, 1943. He learned to play tennis at the Richmond Racket Club, a club established for area African Americans. At the time, Richmond's public facilities—schools, theaters, restaurants, and even tennis courts—were racially segregated. He attended UCLA on a tennis scholarship and went on to win both the U.S. Amateur Tennis Championship and the U.S. Open. In 1968, Ashe became the first African-American member of the Davis Cup Team and helped the United States win its first championship in five years. In 1975, Ashe upset heavily favored Jimmy Connors at Wimbledon and won the World Championship Tennis (WCT) singles title over Bjorn Borg. Arthur Ashe was more than a tennis champion. He was an outspoken advocate of racial justice, both in the United States and overseas. He raised money for many charitable causes and worked to end apartheid in South Africa. In 1988, he wrote A Hard Road to Glory, a three-volume history of the black athlete in America. In April 1992 Arthur Ashe announced that he was infected with the HIV virus. He died of pneumonia on February 6, 1993. (VHS accession number: 1997.9.3)
Ella Fitzgerald Enter Fullscreen More information
Ella Fitzgerald, by Richard Frooman, c. 1912.
Ella Fitzgerald (1917—1996) was a native of Newport News. She had her first hit ("A-Tisket, A-Tasket") with the Chick Webb Band in 1938. In the 1940s she gained renown as a jazz singer and for scat, the wordless vocal improvisation that became her signature. Already known as "The First Lady of Jazz", she became the "First Lady of Song" for her masterful renditions of "The Great American Songbook" in the 1950s—songs by Cole Porter, George Gershwin and Irving Berlin. In the 1960s she was among the most famous entertainers in the world. She won thirteen Grammy awards. Bing Crosby said, "Man, woman, or child, Ella is the greatest of them all." (VHS accession number: 2002.536)
Carry Me Back to Old Virginny Enter Fullscreen More information
Carry Me Back to Old Virginny
In 1940 the Virginia Legislature adopted "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny" as the state song. Because its lyrics about slavery were offensive to many, Bland's piece was relegated to "state song emeritus" in 1997; the search for a new state song for Virginia continues to this day. (VHS 64610.c2)
Mary-Cooke Branch Munford Enter Fullscreen More information
Mary-Cooke Branch Munford
Munford once wrote that the major interests in her life were "education for all the people, fostering better knowledge and understanding between the races, and especially the rebuilding of my mother state, Virginia." Her career as a social and educational reformer directly affected the lives of many Virginians. (VHS accession number: 2007.5.8)
Lunch box featuring "The Waltons" - front Enter Fullscreen More information
Lunch box featuring "The Waltons" - front
The Waltons, set in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains in the 1930s, ran on CBS television from 1972 to 1981. The Waltons were a fictional close-knit family, but were based on the real family experiences of writer Earl Hamner. The portrayal of southern life was idealized, but the transcendence of family values and virtues had strong appeal during the upheaval of the Vietnam War and Watergate. (VHS accession number: 1996.123.2.A-C)
Lunch box featuring "The Waltons" - back Enter Fullscreen More information
Lunch box featuring "The Waltons" - back
The Waltons, set in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains in the 1930s, ran on CBS television from 1972 to 1981. (VHS accession number: 1996.123.A-B)
Patsy Cline Decca record album (c. 1961–2) Enter Fullscreen More information
Patsy Cline Decca record album (c. 1961–2)
Patsy Cline (1932–1963) is one of the most important artists in the history of country music and is arguably Virginia's most significant contribution to twentieth-century American popular culture. Her songs "Crazy," "Sweet Dreams," and "Walkin' After Midnight" remain among the most beloved ever recorded. More than forty years after her death, the life and music of this Winchester native continue to fascinate and entertain. And her role as a female pioneer in a male-dominated industry remains a powerful source of inspiration.
Sheet music, "Cover Me up with the Sunshine of Virginia" Enter Fullscreen More information
Sheet music, "Cover Me up with the Sunshine of Virginia"
"Cover Me Up with the Sunshine of Virginia" Sheet music, "Cover Me up with the Sunshine of Virginia," words by Joe Young and Sam M. Lewis, music by George W. Meyer (New York, 1923)
Brother Rat movie poster Enter Fullscreen More information
Brother Rat movie poster
Brother Rat, 1938, starred Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman. It was a lighthearted but positive portrayal of life at Virginia Military Institute, where freshmen are called rats and alumni refer to each other for life as brother rats. (VHS accession number: 1990.145.1)
Virtual tour of the "New Virginia" gallery, Part I
Virtual tour of a New Virginia gallery, Part I
Virtual tour of the "New Virginia" gallery, Part II
Virtual tour of the "New Virginia" gallery, Part II
The Passing Storm, Shenandoah Valley
The Passing Storm, Shenandoah Valley
Ellen Glasgow
Ellen Glasgow
Arthur Ashe sketch
Arthur Ashe, sketch by Paul DiPasquale
Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Fitzgerald, by Richard Frooman, c.
Carry Me Back to Old Virginny
Carry Me Back to Old Virginny
Mary-Cooke Branch Munford
Mary-Cooke Branch Munford
Lunch box featuring "The Waltons" - front
Lunch box featuring "The Waltons"
Lunch box featuring "The Waltons" - back
Lunch box featuring "The Waltons"
Patsy Cline Decca record album (c. 1961–2)
Patsy Cline Decca record album (c. 1961–2)
Sheet music, "Cover Me up with the Sunshine of Virginia"
Sheet music, "Cover Me up with the Su
Brother Rat movie poster
Brother Rat movie poster