Letter from the President
History Education Suffers in Our Schools
By Charles F. Bryan, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer
In recent months the VHS has received several generous bequests and a gratifying response from you, the members, to our
ongoing annual fund appeal. We continue to rely on your support as we strive to meet the challenges of our educational mission.
I thank you all again for putting the VHS in sound financial shape.
There is one area of concern, however, and that is something I have mentioned before. The state budget impasse of last
year dealt Virginia's museums a crippling blow. The Society has weathered hard times before and will survive these, but the
state funding cuts still hurt.
In the past, the state funding we received went to underwrite programs that travel to school classrooms. It enabled us
to send outreach educators to far-flung parts of the state to teach students, many of whom could not visit our museum
exhibits. With the revision of the state-mandated Standards of Learning (SOLs) in early 2001, the demand for these
classroom visits has skyrocketed. In the 2001-2 academic year our dedicated outreach educators visited some 170
schools, bringing the past alive for thousands of the commonwealth's schoolchildren. This endeavor has been one of
the most rewarding and beneficial ever undertaken by the VHS. But sadly we are beginning to have to turn down requests
for our outreach programs. Frankly, the drastic reduction of state appropriation has compromised our ability to meet what
is a clearly demonstrated demand.
As state government leaders look to the future, and an eventual return of better times, let's hope they reconsider these
cuts and invest anew in the history education of Virginia's school children.
Posted July 2002
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• Charles F. Bryan, Jr. biography