Letter from the President
By Charles F. Bryan, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer
In my last column, I wrote that the one large piece of unfinished business as our 175th anniversary year wound down was completion of the $55-million capital campaign. It is with great pleasure, and a profound sense of gratitude to all our friends, that I can now tell you we declared victory in the last days of 2006. Thanks to our sterling board of trustees, diligent staff—especially in the development department—and a host of other supporters, we went over the top in pledges received at the end of last year. In fact, by happy coincidence, we reached the goal at just about the actual date of our founding 175 years ago—December 29.
We announced this campaign back on September 10, 2001. After the terrorist attacks of the following day and through a rocky economic patch, wars, and hurricanes, we persevered. Despite these adversities, and even though many other Virginia institutions were conducting campaigns for equally worthy endeavors at the same time, we accomplished what we had set out to do. I give special credit to the Kresge Foundation. Early last year Kresge promised us a $1-million challenge gift conditional upon reaching our goal by the end of 2006. I can tell you, that was a mighty incentive to make sure we succeeded—and we did.
What does that success mean? First and foremost has been the building of the new wing, which provides much-needed space for exhibitions, public programs, collection storage, and the Reynolds Business History Center. Because of the campaign, beginning this year all visitors to the VHS under 18 who are not members will now enjoy free admission to our galleries. The campaign also positions us very well to capitalize on the many events of 2007 marking Virginia’s 400th anniversary. Among these will be our blockbuster exhibition, Jamestown, Québec, Santa Fe: Three North American Beginnings, plus a dramatic exhibition later in the year, Lee and Grant. We have several other vital projects that were not part of the campaign and are yet to be funded; you’ll be hearing about them later this year. In the meantime, thanks again to all of you for your generosity in ensuring the continuing success of your Virginia Historical Society.
Posted March 2007
• Letter archive
• Charles F. Bryan, Jr. biography