FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 25, 2007
Contact: Jennifer M. Guild, Senior Officer for Public Relations and Marketing
Tel: (804) 342-9665 | Email:
firstname.lastname@example.org | Exhibition travel dates
Fact vs. Fiction
VHS Exhibition Lee and Grant Lets You Decide
Richmond, VA – On October 20, 2007, the Virginia Historical Society (VHS) opened Lee and Grant, a new exhibition that provides a major reassessment of the lives, careers, and historical impact of Civil War generals Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant. The exhibit charts the development of historical thought and popular attitudes toward these significant historical figures in the years since the outbreak of the Civil War.
"Visitors will enjoy discovering similarities and differences between Lee and Grant that are rarely pointed out," said Dr. William M. S. Rasmussen, exhibition co-curator and the VHS Lora M. Robins Curator. "These generals have been explored by historians for decades, but Lee and Grant is the first exhibition to present the two men together so that visitors can make decisions about them, side by side, based on facts. We hope that after they view Lee and Grant, visitors will give more thought to the legacies of both generals."
Lee and Grant is made possible with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation. The exhibition presents photographs, paintings, prints, sculpture, clothing and accoutrements owned by the two men, documents written in their own hands, and biographical and historical records to reveal each man in his historical and cultural context and to review the ways each has been remembered for almost 150 years.
At the beginning of the exhibition, visitors can test their knowledge of Lee and Grant in a video display. At the end, they are presented with assessments of Lee and Grant by historical luminaries, including Woodrow Wilson and W. E. B. Du Bois. Lee's and Grant's own words are used on eight video screens throughout the more than 4,500 square feet of gallery space to give visitors an idea of what the two men were thinking at different points during their lives.
Lee and Grant exhibition highlights include: Grant's handwritten terms of surrender to Lee on April 9, 1865; a 1772 oil on canvas of George Washington owned by Mrs. Lee; a December 29, 1862, deed of emancipation signed by Lee; an 1885 original of Grant's Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant; a coat and sword of Lee; a 1782 portrait of Light-Horse Harry Lee by Charles Willson Peale; an 1838 painting by William Edward West of Lee in his lieutenant of engineers dress uniform; and Lee's signed copy of his father's Funeral Oration on the Death of General Washington.
"This exhibition is more than a study of Lee and Grant," Rasmussen said. "These generals have come to symbolize the two regions that fought the Civil War—each was a product of his region and his rearing. When we investigate the values that they championed and their decisions, which literally changed the course of this country's history, we discover the sectional legacies that many contemporary Americans have inherited from southern gentry and from Yankee self-made man."
To make the contents of this exhibition more accessible to those who cannot visit the VHS, Lee and Grant also features an online component. The online exhibition on the VHS web site (www.vahistorical.org) showcases over forty paintings, photographs, and documents featured in the galleries. Each section of the physical exhibition is represented online with both text and images. Visitors can also send comments relating to topics covered in the exhibition. Teaching materials and a bibliography will be included in the online resources section.
After closing at the VHS on March 31, 2008, Lee and Grant travels to the Missouri Historical Society in St. Louis (May 17, 2008–September 7, 2008); the New-York Historical Society in New York City (October 17, 2008–March 29, 2009); the Museum of Southern History in Houston (May 23, 2009–September 20, 2009); and the Atlanta History Center (November 7, 2009–February 28, 2010).
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 and Shop 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