Home > About the VHS
About the VHS
History of the VHS
The Virginia Historical Society was founded in 1831. Like most of the nation's older
historical societies, it has always been a private organization; one that derives virtually all its
support from membership and endowment. At the organizational meeting in 1831, Chief Justice
John Marshall was elected its first president, and former president James Madison was elected its
first honorary member.
The neoclassical structure that houses the library and headquarters of the Virginia Historical Society
was built in five stages over a period of years from 1912 to 2006. The first part, completed in 1913, was built
by the Confederate Memorial Association as a shrine to the Confederate dead and as a repository for the records of the Lost Cause. In 1946, the Confederate Memorial Association merged with the Virginia Historical Society.
Virginia House was completed a few months before the stock market crash of 1929. Alexander and Virginia Weddell's home, situated on a hillside overlooking the historic James River in Richmond, was constructed from the materials of a sixteenth-century English manor house. Now owned and operated by the Virginia Historical Society as a museum, the house has been preserved much as it was when the Weddells resided there.
Connecting people to America’s past through the unparalleled story of Virginia.
By collecting, preserving, and interpreting the Commonwealth’s history, we link past with present and inspire future generations.
Strategic objectives for the VHS adopted by the board of trustees, November 2010.
The VHS is governed by a board of trustees, composed of twenty-four elected members.
The president and CEO leads the VHS staff.
The Annual Report gives a list of recent accessions, governing boards, and activities of the VHS.
• 2011 Annual Report [PDF - 937 kb - link opens new window]
• Past Reports
The VHS annually recognizes achievement by scholars, teachers, students, and society staff.
Access the VHS's Codes of Ethics, Records Retention and Disposal Policy, Whistleblower Policy, and Gift Acceptance Policy.
A great way to learn more about history while helping to preserve the past for future generations
Volunteer and paid employment opportunities at the VHS.
Gather your group at the Virginia Historical Society. More information
The VHS is proud to be associated with the American Association of Museums, American Association for State and Local History, Independent Research Library Association, Southeastern Museums Conference, and the Virginia Association of Museums.