Virginia Historical Society surpasses fundraising goal, on track to raise $45 million

The capital campaign funding led to a transformational overhaul of the museum facilities, both inside and out, and the establishment of new programs and services.

The Virginia Historical Society’s Story of Virginia Capital Campaign has reached and surpassed its goal of $38 million, the Society’s board of trustees announced this week.

The campaign is a transformational effort that has lead to the overhauling of the main museum building and exhibition galleries, as well as the creation of a multi-purpose learning center with classrooms, a resource room for teachers, display space, and a studio with the streaming capacity to deliver programs to international audiences.

“This campaign has further enhanced the Society’s stature as one of this country’s preeminent historical institutions, said immediate past chairman E. Claiborne Robins, Jr. “Our digital imprint is now worldwide in scope. Our investments in technology have given us the opportunity to talk, in one week, to school students in Sweden about Pocahontas, to a classroom in the Dominican Republic about colonial Virginians, and to educators in Moscow about the Powhatan Indians and incorporating distance learning in a Moscow museum environment.”

Contributions committed to date, and other anticipated support, exceed $45 million, Robins said. The campaign will remain open until January 30th.

Included in the campaign was $20 million for capital projects, such as creating the Carole and Marcus Weinstein Learning Center, the Helga Koch Gottwald Gateway to History, the new Story of Virginia exhibition, and Virginia Voices, the state’s first crowd-sourced documentary.

The eighteen-month construction project included the creation of  4,000 square feet of exhibition space from relocated offices that now house new galleries named for Virginia Sargeant Reynolds, Susan and David Goode, and Cecil R. Hopkins.

Also included in the campaign was $8 million for such projects as the conservation of The Memorial Military Murals painted by French artist Charles Hoffbauer from 1913 to 1921. The launch of “Unknown No longer: a Database of Virginia Slave Names” was supported by Dominion Resources and the Dominion Foundation. The Society’s first special exhibition presented in the new gallery space, “Dressing Downton: Changing Fashion for Changing Times,” was sponsored by Altria Group.

A project for which the VHS will continue to seek funds is a $2.4 million visionary program needed to receive, store, and digitize the rich archives that the Museum of the Confederacy is transferring to the Virginia Historical Society. Approximately $1.4 million of this total has been realized and funding opportunities for this project will remain open until the total is achieved. The Museum of the Confederacy has merged with the American Civil War Center at Tredegar to create the new American Civil War Museum.

Support has come from individuals, corporations, and foundations across the Commonwealth and beyond. Competitive grants came from federal agencies, such as the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts, National Park Service, National Historical Publications and Records Commission, and the Library of Congress.

The capital campaign, the fourth in the past twenty-five years, was set to raise $32 million in May of 2011. In November 2012, the board of trustees raised the goal to $38 million to fund the new south entrance and the redesign of the Boulevard plaza, in addition to a new introductory film.

A slate of events will be set for February 2016 to provide opportunities for donors, VHS members, and the general public to celebrate the success of the campaign and enjoy the new and enhanced experiences that success has engendered.


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Trevor Dickerson

Trevor Dickerson loves all things Richmond and manages RVANews’ West of the Boulevard and West End community sites.

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