FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 3, 2006
Contact: Carol Anne Baker, Media Relations Specialist
(804) 342-9665 email:
VIRGINIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY SHOWCASES 175 YEARS OF TREASURES
175 Years of Collecting: A Virginia History Quiz on display July 1 through December 30, 2006
Richmond, VA – How did Virginia get its nickname, the "Old Dominion?" Which former slave from Richmond later became governor of a West African nation? Which famous Confederate commander was also a prolific poet? Think you know the answers to these questions? Visit the new exhibition at the Virginia Historical Society (VHS), 175 Years of Collecting: A Virginia History Quiz and test your Virginia history knowledge. The exhibition runs from July 1 through December 30, 2006.
The VHS celebrates its anniversary this year with an exhibition that highlights a sampling from the more than 8 million manuscripts and hundreds of thousands of objects, photographs, books, and printed materials that make up its collections. Items on display in the exhibition cover a variety of Virginia history topics—the Revolutionary War and the era of the Founding Fathers, the Civil War, and African American, Native American, and women's history.
"The real challenge when mounting an exhibition of this nature," said Frances S. Pollard, director of library services and exhibition co-curator, "is deciding which objects will make it into the final product. We have so much to choose from, it's like trying to pick your favorite child." Dr. Charles F. Bryan, Jr., president and CEO of the VHS agreed, "We have a long legacy as the stewards of our state and national history," said Bryan. "Over the years that charge has left us responsible for some amazing treasures. Sometimes, an item might be significant because of whom it belonged to—George Washington or Robert E. Lee. Other things, a letter from a runaway slave or a young G.I., for example, resonate not because a famous person owned it, but because of the stories they tell."
175 Years of Collecting: A Virginia History Quiz will have examples of books, letters, and objects that tell the history of our state from the points of view of presidents and war heroes as well as the everyday citizens of the Commonwealth. Organized in a question-and-answer format, this exhibition will offer clues as to the nature of an item, but visitors are encouraged to test their own knowledge and understanding of Virginia's past before reading the answers.
Do you know what Princess Anne County has in common with Salem, Massachusetts? Can you identify the first lady who saved George Washington's portrait from fire when the British burned Washington, D.C.? Where would a young lady purchase high fashion for her doll over one hundred years ago? Come see what answers you know, and learn something new with the questions that leave you scratching your head. "We have a long, rich history here in Virginia," says Bryan. "It will be fun to see what people remember and what objects resonate most with visitors."
Educational programming in conjunction with this exhibition includes a gallery walk with Frances S. Pollard, director of library services and senior librarian for the Virginia Historical Society, at noon on Wednesday, July 12, 2006. The exhibit and all galleries will be open and free to the public on July 22, 2006, when the VHS hosts its open house.
The Virginia Historical Society is located at 428 N. Boulevard. The Story of Virginia, An American Experience,
a 10,000-square-foot exhibition with more than a thousand objects covering all of Virginia history from prehistoric
times to the present is featured in the Robins Center for Virginia History. Hours: Monday-Saturday 10am - 5pm
and Sunday 1pm - 5pm (Museum Galleries only). Admission: $5/adults, $4/seniors 55+ ($2/Tuesdays–galleries
only), $3/children and students, free/members. Admission to the galleries is free on Sundays. For group tour
information, call (804) 342-9652. For more information, please call (804) 358-4901 or visit