FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 2, 2009
Contact: Jennifer M. Guild, Senior Officer for Public Relations and Marketing
Tel: (804) 342-9665 | Email:
Vietnam Era is Focus of VHS Open House in July
Free Event is being Held in Conjunction with Three Exhibitions about the 1960s and 1970s
Richmond, VA—In conjunction with three exhibitions about the Vietnam War era, the Virginia Historical Society invites the community to attend an event filled with music, games, crafts, historical demonstrations, and much more. On Saturday, July 18, 2009, from 10 am to 5 pm, the VHS will host an open house with themes from the late 1960s and early 1970s. Admission and all activities are free of charge.
"The VHS Family Day Open House is our way of saying thank you to the community for all of its support throughout the year," said Paul A. Levengood, President and CEO of the Society. "And for families new to the area, or for people who have never been to the VHS before, this is a great way to experience the interactive and educational exhibitions and programs that we offer. We also want to highlight the three powerful and poignant Vietnam exhibitions that are currently on display—Soul Soldiers: African Americans and the Vietnam Era; Marking Time: Voyage to Vietnam; and Bring Paul Home: Phyllis Galanti and Vietnam War POWs."
Highlights of the day include: music by the "John Marshall Alumni Band" and "Celebration Male Chorus"; displays of military vehicles; book signings by Wayne Dementi, author of Hills of Richmond, and Jeff Toalson, author of Send Me a Pair of Old Boots and Kiss My Little Girls; children's crafts and activities; special behind-the-scenes tours of the VHS conservation lab; and an interactive trivia game that will test visitors' knowledge of material featured in the three Vietnam exhibitions.
And, for the first time, visitors will have the chance to see items from the recently acquired Edwin Forbes Civil War drawings collection that consists of 156 pen-and-ink images that document the Union Army of the Potomac in Virginia from 1862 to 1864.
Guests can register to win prizes from The Jefferson Hotel, Starbucks, Narnia Children's Books, Q Barbeque, and more. Chick-fil-A will have food and drinks available for sale from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm and Espresso-A-Go-Go will sell fruit smoothies and coffee drinks in the afternoon. The first 100 visitors through the door on Saturday, July 18th will receive a special prize.
Soul Soldiers: African Americans and the Vietnam Era explores the issues, actions, reactions, and expressions of life and culture of African Americans as they were affected by the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War. Over 160 artifacts, photographs, audio recordings, songs, oral histories, and an original documentary on display in this award-winning exhibition show how events in the 1960s helped frame African American political and social perspectives that extended beyond civil rights. The roles of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Colin Powell, Jimi Hendrix, and many others are explored, as well as the 9,000 women who served as nurses and in clerical and support positions during the war. Soul Soldiers is organized by the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Marking Time: Voyage to Vietnam features a cache of Vietnam War soldier art of striking importance and poignancy. Soldiers and Marines on the ship USNS General Nelson M. Walker, bound for Vietnam in 1967, inscribed graffiti phrases and images on the bottom sides of canvas bunks in the troop compartments. Men wrote their name and hometown, the date they expected to leave the service, and kept day-by-day calendars to mark the progress of the voyage. Original graffiti-covered canvases, discovered in the process of scrapping the vessel in 2005, display messages of patriotism, politics, humor, anxiety, and love. Marking Time is organized by the Vietnam Graffiti Project out of Keswick, Va. Curator Art Beltrone will be at the event collecting names of soldiers who were transported to Vietnam on troopships as part of an oral history component to the exhibition.
Bring Paul Home: Phyllis Galanti and Vietnam War POWs is based on the collection given to the Virginia Historical Society by Richmond resident Phyllis Galanti. Her husband, Paul, was a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy when his plane was shot down over Vietnam on June 17, 1966. Galanti was a Prisoner of War (POW) until February 12, 1973. Pictures, letters, pamphlets, buttons, and posters from the donated collection show Mrs. Galanti's efforts, and those of the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia, to publicize the plight of POWs and to secure their release. Paul and Phyllis Galanti will be at the Family Day Open House to answer questions from visitors.
In addition to the free admission on July 18th, the Virginia Historical Society is offering visitors the chance to see all exhibitions in the museum at no charge through August 30, 2009. Free Family Day Open House is sponsored by NBC 12 and supported by Target.
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: Tuesday–Saturday 10 am–5 pm
and Sunday 1 pm–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 www.vahistorical.org.