Bidding adieu to 2011
It seems that you can’t turn around at this time of year without encountering some annual wrap-up or another. We learn picks for best books, best movies, most fascinating people, and so on. Well, we at the VHS are in a reflective mode as well as 2011 comes hurtling to a close. And as the calendar turns, there is much about which we are very proud.
Certainly a highlight of the year was the exhibition, An American Turning Point: The Civil War in Virginia. As regular readers of this blog know, ATP was our contribution to the sesquicentennial of the Civil War. Five years in the making, it is our largest, most ambitious exhibition ever. And though its run in Richmond ends on December 30, it will hit the road for the next four years, making seven other stops across Virginia. I am proud that the incredibly hard work of many VHS staff members will be seen by thousands of Virginians between now and 2015.
It has been gratifying to see so many visitors—the most in a decade—pour through our doors over the past year. Many of them came to see ATP, but others came for the host of other things the VHS offers. Once again our lecture series was a huge success. Seventeen Banner Lectures offered stimulating midday programs, and our roster of evening lectures grew by one with the inaugural Chauncey
Lecture in September. If you didn’t make it to an exhibition or lecture in 2011, perhaps you took one of our new Behind-the-Scenes tours, brought your kids or grandkids to Stories at the Museum, attended an evening See You in Class session, stopped by our Family Open House in July, or went with us on a VHS bus trip to locations far from our Richmond headquarters. Or maybe you simply spent the day using our rich collections to investigate your family’s history in our library. If for any reason you found yourself at the VHS in 2011, my colleagues and I thank you.
And if you didn’t make it by to see us, I hope we can offer you some reason to do so in the new year. We have a whole slate of exciting new programs on tap, from exhibitions and lectures to trips and classes. And of course, there are things ongoing that you also might want to check out. For example, you will be able to see conservators in action as they restore the grandeur of
our Charles Hoffbauer Civil War murals. But even if you can’t visit in person, I know that you’ll find VHS online offerings of great interest. Keep checking back as we add innovative video features and other cool things to our web site. Or you might want to bookmark “Unknown No Longer,” our database of Virginia slave names, as new material will be added to it on a regular basis.
As you can see, we have a lot going on at the VHS as we tell Virginia’s peerless story. I hope that 2012 is a wonderful year for this institution and for all of you.
From Paul A. Levengood, President and Chief Executive Officer