The Virginia Historical Society (VHS) was founded in 1831, making it the fourth-oldest such institution in the nation. It has operated without interruption for more than 182 years, which makes it the oldest cultural institution in the Old Dominion. The VHS is the only organization dedicated to collecting and interpreting all of Virginia’s history—all areas, all time periods, and all people. For this reason, although it is an entirely private non-profit, the General Assembly designated the VHS the official historical society of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Currently the VHS serves a wide range of constituents, including elementary school students and teachers, scholars, genealogists, and life-long learners, by a diverse array of exhibitions, lectures, publications, travel opportunities, educational programs, and digital initiatives. And supporting all of these efforts are the collections, which now number nearly 9 million manuscripts, books, photographs, paintings, pieces of furniture, and other artifacts.