Fading black-and-white photographs and yellowing handwritten letters in a safe deposit box. The records of a historic African American business found in a dumpster. The conscious decision to destroy private papers. The destruction of archives by chance and nature. All illustrate what we collect and value in our cultural landscape.
Lost and Found, a new exhibition opening at the Library of Virginia on February 27, examines the constantly changing fabric of our world. Things disappear, sometimes almost without notice-signs, buildings, even towns-and others go into attics, basements, and landfills. Some are saved and carefully stored and preserved; others intentionally destroyed, sometimes dramatically.
Most of us collect something-baseball cards or autographs, books or family mementos. Many of us create scrapbooks that reflect our personal interests. Lost and Found showcases the personal and the professional, the ephemeral and the profound, examples of personal collections, scrapbooks, and time capsules. It tells large stories and small ones. The exhibition highlights items in the Library's vast collections that offer intriguing glimpses into our past and show the promise of new endeavors such as the Civil War 150 Legacy Project in garnering greater insight into our shared history.
Lost and Found runs through August 25, 2012, and is free and open to the public Monday through Saturday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, excluding state holidays.
Exhibition: December 5, 2011 — February 4, 2012
"Advertising without posters is like fishing without worms."
— The Hatch Brothers This sentiment was certainly true in 1879 when brothers Herbert H. and Charles R. Hatch opened Hatch Show Print, a printing shop in Nashville, Tennessee. Their handcrafted posters screamed slogans such as "More Power, More Pep," "So Many Girls You Can't Count Them All," and "Always Clean, Always Good." Almost 130 years later, Hatch posters hold their own, offering a stirring and refreshingly tactile contrast to the digital advertising world. The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service in partnership with the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum celebrates this time-honored graphic art tradition. American Letterpress: The Art of Hatch Show Print opened at the Experience Music Project in Seattle on Oct. 11, 2008, and has traveled to additional museums over the last few years, including the Austin Museum of Art (Texas), Tulane University's Newcomb Art Gallery in New Orleans, and the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens.
What were Virginians thinking and discussing as the first Southern states withdrew from the United States following the election of Abraham Lincoln in November 1860? Why was Virginia’s decision critical to America’s fate in 1861 and key to the ultimate course and outcome of the sectional crisis?
Virginia was central to American identity for its role in the founding of the United States and its political principles. Both the Confederacy and the Union wanted to claim Virginia’s historical legacy. Union or Secession explores what Virginians thought and debated as the crisis unfolded. Explore the choices Virginians faced as they decided their fate and the lasting consequences of their decisions for Virginia and the nation.
The Land We Live In, The Land We Left explores over 400 years of immigration to Virginia—the people drawn here and brought here—sometimes against their will—and the traditions and customs of their homelands that came with them, helping to shape both their communities and the commonwealth.
Who is Edgar Allan Poe? An instantly recognizable American author and historical figure, his name calls to mind spine-chilling stories and melancholy poetry. He evokes the image of the tragic romantic poet, misunderstood and rejected by society. We are so familiar with his life and work that we already know him. Or do we?
This exhibition focuses on the sources and sequels of the Fry–Jefferson map, created by Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson in 1755. The exhibition examines the role of surveyors in colonial Virginia, the importance of the surveying experience for Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson in creating their important map, and the influence of their map on later cartographic representations of Virginia. The published map included Fry and Jefferson's completed border survey for the western bounds of the Northern Neck and the dividing line between Virginia and North Carolina. For the first time the entire Virginia river system was properly delineated, and the northeast-southwest orientation of the Appalachian Mountains was displayed.
From Thomas Jefferson's design of the Virginia State Capitol to Northern Virginia's soaring post-modern structures of glass and steel, the commonwealth's architectural triumphs are well-documented. But what of those that never made it beyond the drawing board? Never Built Virginia explored a variety of proposed architectural projects from around the commonwealth that remained unbuilt because the architecture was too radical, because funding collapsed, or because they lost favor with their patrons.
On October 16, 1957, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visited Virginia during the commonwealth's 350th anniversary celebration of the founding of Jamestown. Then, as now, the Queen's visit prompted intense interest from the state's people and the media. To mark the 2007 royal visit, the Library of Virginia presented photographs, audio, newspaper accounts, and state records from the 1957 events.
Myth and Memory: Understanding Four Hundred Years of Virginia History examined how Virginians have remembered their past through public events, through writing about history, and through marking history on the landscape. Because Virginians are peculiarly interested in, and contentious about, their past, their historical memory often results in competing interpretations.
Through timing, perseverance, and sheer good fortune, Leslie Garland Bolling (1898–1955) captured the attention and imagination of the art public from 1926 to 1943 with more than eighty portrait busts and sculptures of working people and nude figures. He faced obstacles: he was African American, he was self–taught, and he lived in the segregated South. The web exhibition includes descriptions and, where available, illustrations of works discovered after the physical exhibition closed. The catalog, Freeing Art from Wood, is available from the Virginia Shop.