Letter from the President
Giving the Past a Future
By Paul A. Levengood, President and Chief Executive Officer
What do you get when you put twenty-nine people, all committed to the same goal, in a room for twenty-four hours? In a nutshell, you get the future.
Recently, the board of trustees and leadership team of the VHS participated in a two-day planning retreat. Although the setting was Colonial Williamsburg during the tantalizing first glimpses of spring, we didn't have much of a chance to enjoy our surroundings. Instead, we engaged in healthy, productive conversations about the VHS and its future. It probably won’t surprise you to learn that a growing part of that future lies in the vast online world. From podcasts and online video to new ways to reach our core audiences of teachers and schoolchildren, we identified opportunities that will keep us at the forefront of historical institutions in the United States.
Although the energy and commitment of our board during the retreat came as no surprise, I was still heartened to see it. You should know that our extraordinary group of volunteer leaders from around the state really cares about this institution and is excited about the possibilities that are out there for us. I owe them all a personal and sincere "thank you."
But I'd like to go one step further. Whenever I meet VHS members, I am struck by your affection and goodwill. In my first year and a half since being named president and CEO, barely a day has gone by without one of you coming up to me, completely unsolicited, to say something like "I love the VHS. I have been a member for years." And this phenomenon is not confined to Richmond, not by a long shot. I am especially gratified to hear from those members of the VHS family, in Virginia and far beyond, who rarely get a chance to attend a lecture, exhibition, or other program in person. To them, the work we do to preserve history and bring it alive for all Virginians, young and old, is vitally important. And their reward is simply the satisfaction of knowing that they play a part in giving the past a future.
To each and every one of you, I want to offer my gratitude for your support and encouragement. I pledge to continue to make your Virginia Historical Society the very best it can be.
Posted April 2010
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