After much anticipation, the Virginia Museum of History & Culture reopened July 1. Despite extensive construction, the museum offers three outstanding exhibits at a discounted admission rate. During a recent visit, my family found interesting artifacts, interactive galleries and gorgeous works of art.
In the Landscapes of Virginia, we marveled at the beauty of our state. Of course we know Virginia has beautiful mountains, bodies of water and presidential estates; but, the breathtaking gallery truly brought it to life. To further engage children, consider working through the activities via the VMHC Educator Resource page. Using the activities from the site, we discussed the five regions of Virginia, its climate and furthered the experience by writing a short story based on the landscape.
Next, we visited Partners in History, a visual of the phenomenal collaboration between The Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia and the Virginia Museum of History & Culture. Impressive artifacts, like Oliver Hill’s desk, used throughout his tenure as a Civil Rights attorney. Imagining Hill sitting at this very desk working, and eventually succeeding in dismantling segregation was so moving. I especially loved that the desk was “normal” with no bells and whistles; an important representation that to make a big difference, it’s the will and heart, not the material items. Other highlights were learning about Carroll W. Anderson, Sr., viewed majorette costumes from Maggie L. Walker High School.
The Story of Virginia was the final exhibition to see. Spanning over 16,000 years of Virginia history and more than 500 artifacts, maps and letters; this exhibit requires time and attention on behalf of the patron. The exhibit focuses on all the people throughout Virginia’s history, a collective story.
Having grown up in Virginia, this exhibit was especially poignant as we had family connections to the artifacts. My children sitting on a street car that their own great-grandfather would have sat on as a student at University of Richmond was incredibly moving. Notably, he was later employed at Reynolds Metal Company, and the museum has information about the company and its innovations. Interactive exhibits include: post-electricity benefits, Journey to Freedom and a geographical timeline of Virginia.
During our 2 hour visit, we gained such understanding the Commonwealth. Of course, we have always felt lucky to live here, but seeing Virginia through the lives of so many unique, strong individuals truly made us reflect further on the history.
Tips: Tickets are required. Purchase in advance for a designated time slot. The Virginia Museum of History & Culture (428 N Arthur Ashe Boulevard Richmond, VA 23220) is open daily; 10:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M. Free parking in the lot off Kensington Avenue. More information at www.VirginiaHistory.org – tel: (804) 340-1800
— By Lindsay Garrison
Richmond on the Cheap contributor Lindsay Garrison is a Richmond, Virginia based mom to two young children. A graduate from Chesterfield Schools and Randolph-Macon College, Lindsay is proud to call Richmond home. In the years prior to planning activities and outings with her own children, she was a French teacher. During her tenure she earned accolades for her creative teaching style and ability to connect with her students. Lindsay now applies the skills she learned when she was planning student trips to France, to her own family adventures. She can’t wait to take her own children to France one day! Follow the Garrison’s family adventures on Instagram: @thegarrisonsrva
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Richmond, VA 23220