Published July 8, 2019

Virginia Humanities announces $140,900 in recent grants to twenty-five nonprofit organizations in support of public humanities programs for audiences throughout the Commonwealth and beyond.

The Virginia Humanities Grants Program helps communities share and preserve their history and convene conversations around issues relevant to Virginians. Virginia Humanities has been awarding grants to museums, historical societies, and other cultural non-profits across the state since 1974, reaching every corner of the Commonwealth.

“Virginia Humanities has always worked to build stronger communities, cultivate a more complete understanding of our collective history, and celebrate our rich cultural heritage,” said Matthew Gibson, Virginia Humanities’ executive director. “Helping Virginians better understand each other and our shared histories is central to our mission, and the projects funded in this grant cycle will do just that.”

Virginia Humanities grant projects reach an estimated annual audience of 1.5 million, with an average 4:1 dollar match. As a result of Virginia Humanities grant funding, educational and cultural organizations across the state have harnessed the power of the humanities to address important contemporary issues and enrich the lives of all Virginians.

The following organizations received grants from Virginia Humanities between January 1 and June ­­­28, 2019:

American Civil War Museum (Appomattox): $1,500
An exhibit at the American Civil War Museum’s Appomattox site exploring the many ways African Americans exercised their freedom in the post-Civil War era.

American Frontier Culture Foundation (Staunton): $1,200
A four-part lecture-discussion series organized around several events and themes central to Virginia’s 2019 Commemoration: the arrival of the first Africans in 1619; entrepreneurship and economic innovation; Thanksgiving in 1619; and women in early Virginia.

Cape Charles Historical Society (Cape Charles): $3,000
Receiving, cataloging, and archiving of two large collections of documents and artifacts recently donated to the Cape Charles Historical Society/Museum by Bay Coast Railroad and the former Savage’s Drug Store, which served Northampton County residents over a 60-year period.

The Center for Community Engagement and Career Competitiveness at Averett University (Danville): $2,500
A three-part lecture/community-discussion series, part of a larger “cultural programming” effort designed to connect the communities of Averett University and the Danville region.

Cheroenhaka (Nottoway) Indian Tribal Heritage Foundation (Southampton County): $7,000
Development of interpretative signage to be installed as an outdoor exhibition on Cheroenhaka tribal land, focusing on native flora and fauna and their relationship to the Tribe’s history and traditions.

Christiansburg Institute, Inc. (Christiansburg): $8,000
Development of interpretive signage and related on-line exhibits on the history of Christiansburg Institute, which served the educational needs of African American children in Southwest Virginia and the New River Valley from 1866-1966.

Chrysler Museum of Art (Norfolk): $7,000
A series of programs for teachers and the public, complementing a new exhibit on Jeffersonian architecture in Virginia and exploring the paradoxical relationship between Enlightenment ideals of equality and the institution of slavery.

Eastern Shore of Virginia Barrier Islands Center, Inc. (Machipongo): $1,450
Publication of a brochure promoting the resources available through the member organizations of the Eastern Shore Museums Network, a consortium of fifteen museums, public libraries, and historical societies.

Encore Stage & Studio (Arlington): $10,000
Research, script development, and three public performances of an original play exploring stories and themes from Arlington’s African American history.

Gallery 5 (Richmond): $3,000
A series of facilitated public conversations connecting aspects of Richmond’s history to issues in the present day.

John M. Langston Citizens Association (Arlington): $3,000
Development of a walking tour brochure (print and on-line versions) and a musical performance-discussion program focusing on the history of Halls Hill, a historically African-American neighborhood in Arlington.

Maymont Foundation (Richmond): $9,000
A panel discussion, printed brochure, and development of lesson plans to coincide with the redesign of a landmark exhibit on the lives of African American domestic workers at Maymont during the “Gilded Age”.

University of Mary Washington (Fredericksburg): $3,000
An exhibit on the African American history of Spotsylvania County to be developed jointly by the University of Mary Washington and the John J. Wright Educational and Cultural Center and Museum, where the exhibit will be installed.

Norfolk State University (Norfolk/Statewide): $2,500
Planning for the redesign and expansion of an existing website on emigration from Virginia to Liberia in the early to mid-1800s, currently the most comprehensive resource of its kind devoted to this subject.

Petersburg Preservation Task Force (Petersburg): $10,000
Production of the first two exhibits for the newly renovated Petersburg Exchange, focusing on the histories of tobacco commerce and of water-powered industries in Petersburg.

Prio Bangla, Inc. (Arlington): $10,000
An interpretive publication (print and digital versions) to be distributed in conjunction with the eighth annual Prio Bangla festival, a multi-cultural event honoring the diversity of Northern Virginia.  The publication will include interviews with more than a dozen immigrants and refugees from all parts of the world.

Springhouse Community School (Floyd): $2,000
A week-long series of events exploring the themes of liberation and belonging through song, focusing in particular on the shape-note singing tradition practiced in Appalachia and other rural American communities since the Colonial period.

Temple Beth El (Williamsburg): $1,400
A public lecture and discussion program on the history of Jewish life in Virginia and on new waves of antisemitism linked to the rise of white nationalism nationwide.

The Valentine (Richmond): $9,000
An exhibit and printed catalog exploring the story of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Richmond through the experiences of advocates, caregivers, and people currently living with the disease.

Victory Hall Opera (Charlottesville): $1,350
A public panel discussion in which five African American women scholars and artists examined the influence of Sally Hemings’ story in their own work and in a broader cultural context.

Video Action, Inc. (Statewide): $8,000
Production of a six-minute film on writing as a force for physical as well as social healing among women diagnosed with cancer.

Virginia Cooperative Extension (Piedmont): $7,000
Creation of the first annual John Jackson Piedmont Blues Festival celebrating the life, music, and legacy of the legendary guitarist John Jackson and exploring the roots of the Piedmont Blues tradition.

Virginia Organizing (Albemarle): $10,000
An exhibit on the history of B.F. Yancey Elementary School, an important educational and cultural center for African American students and their families in Albemarle County from 1960 until its closure in 2017.

Watermen’s Museum (Yorktown): $10,000
A traveling exhibit on the food systems of the Chesapeake Bay region, highlighting four keystone species (Shad, Rockfish, Oysters, and Blue Crab) that bind together the region’s ecology, history, culture, and economy.

William King Museum of Art (Abingdon/Statewide): $10,000
Creation of a web-based digital archive that will make photographic and documentary records of more than 4,000 Appalachian cultural objects (furniture, textiles, pottery, paintings, firearms, and metalwork) accessible worldwide.

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