FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 24, 2005
Contact: Carol Anne Baker, Media Relations Specialist
(804) 342-9665 email:
HISTORY MAKES TRIPLE PLAY AT THE VIRGINIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Three exhibits opening July 2:
Car Crazy: Racing and Rodding in Southwest Virginia
Wartime Memories: World War II Paintings by Clinton Ford
Patrick Henry: His Story
Richmond, VA – Three new exhibits representing a span of three centuries are on deck to open July 2 at the Virginia Historical Society. At the pole position is Car Crazy: Racing and Rodding in Southwest Virginia which explores Virginians' fascination with speed and style. Just in time for Independence Day are Wartime Memories: World War II Paintings by Clinton Ford, offering a personal and artful introspective of a veteran's wartime experiences and Patrick Henry: His Story, which introduces us to the lesser-known brilliance of a great patriot.
Car Crazy: Racing and Rodding in Southwest Virginia, is about Virginia's love affair with fast custom cars, and the tracks, trades, and culture they spawned. Featured are a 1931 Ford roadster hot rod, the first Virginia hot rod to appear in Hot Rod magazine (1961); a 1950 Austin drag car; a 1930s sprint racer from Richmond, which is the oldest surviving race car in Virginia; and a 1940s midget race car. Several audiovisual pit stops throughout the exhibit show oval track racing in Richmond and some of the earliest known drag racing footage in Virginia. Fans and visitors can enjoy numerous other items such as rare race flags, a driver's helmet and goggles, car building equipment and engines, club and track memorabilia, and historical photographs, including an aerial view of Richmond's first race track (where the Diamond now stands).
Organized by the Blue Ridge Institute & Museum and supported with funding from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and Public Policy and the Virginia Commission for the Arts, this is the first exhibit to explore the history of Virginia's car subculture. It will be on view through December 30, 2005.
Wartime Memories: World War II Paintings by Clinton Ford illustrates in pictures what Clinton Ford could not adequately put into words. With vivid, sweeping colors in oil and acrylic, and imaginative textures, the 43 paintings present an introspective look of Ford's experiences in the invasions of Normandy and Holland, and the Battle of the Bulge. A native Richmonder, Ford enlisted in the Virginia National Guard in 1941 at the age of 18 and became a member of the 508th Parachute Infantry Battalion of the 82nd Airborne Division shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He earned a Silver Star, a Purple Heart, and two Combat Stars, as well as a Good Conduct Award. Ford is a former employee of Philip Morris and of McGuire Veterans Administration Hospital.
Like so many veterans, Ford's wartime experiences haunted him. Following the deaths of his wife and father in 1993, he enrolled in drawing classes at John Tyler Community College where he began to put on paper the war images in his head. These paintings are personal and unique. They became Ford's preferred method for expressing his wartime memories. Each painting is accompanied by a narrative in his own words. The exhibit will be on view through December 11, 2005.
Patrick Henry: His Story explores the less familiar accomplishments of Patrick Henry (1736–1799). Through more than 50 paintings, manuscripts, and objects owned by Henry himself, such as a pair of spectacles, the exhibit highlights Patrick Henry's career as a successful lawyer, his 20-year service in the Virginia legislature and as a wartime governor, his participation in the Continental Congress, and his role in the nation's acquisition of the Northwest Territory in 1783. Patrick Henry was a devout advocate of religious freedom and father of 17 children. He considered himself a servant of the people and vigorously separated himself from the elite he often spoke against. On view through January 15, 2006, the exhibit offers a broad view of Patrick Henry's life with an emphasis on the many contributions he made beyond his famous fiery "Give me liberty or give me death" speech.
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 Mondays. For group tour
information, call (804) 342-9652. For more information, please call (804) 358-4901 or visit