New Openings, Exhibits and Expansions at Virginia’s Historic Sites and Museums
RICHMOND – Today, Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) released a curated list of Virginia’s new museum openings, expansions and exhibits for 2020. Many of Virginia’s museums and historic sites are also featuring special exhibitions to highlight untold African American stories, as well as those from the Suffrage movement as 2020 marks the Women’s Suffrage Centennial. Visit Virginia this year to discover these untold stories at Virginia’s museums and historic sites. See these and more at virginia.org/whatsnewhistory.
New African-American History Exhibits
- (Richmond) – The Virginia Museum of History and Culture exhibit, Determined – The 400 Year Struggle for Black Equality, is on display through March 29, 2020.
- (Richmond) – Kehinde Wiley’s new sculpture, ‘Rumors of War,‘ was permanently installed at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in December 2019.
- (Richmond) – The Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia will release a new exhibit, “Paradox of Liberty: Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello,” to the public from Jan. 18 – April 18, 2020. The exhibit features stories of families who lived in slavery at Jefferson’s home and plantation for generations.
- (Yorktown) -The “Forgotten Soldier” special exhibition at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown runs through March 22, 2020 and tells often-overlooked stories of African Americans on both sides of the war, free and enslaved. The exhibit features the contemporary artwork by Titus Kaphar.
- (Alexandria) – Coming in 2020, visitors can learn more Alexandria’s African American heritage through expanded programming at Freedom House Museum and special tours such as the African American Cemetery Tour in April.
- (Richmond) –The American Civil War Museum debuted its new expanded space in May 2019 in the renovated historic Tredegar Iron Works site, which includes a new permanent exhibit, ‘A People’s Contest: Struggles for Nation and Freedom in Civil War America.’
- (Portsmouth) – In February 2020, Portsmouth Living History will roll out a living history program dedicated to African American history, with several actors portraying notable figures from Portsmouth’s past.
Women’s Suffrage Centennial
- (Occoquan) – In August 2020, there will be a dedication for the new Turning Point Suffragist Memorial at Occoquan Regional Park. The national memorial to the suffrage movement will feature replica White House gates, 19 informational stops and a landscaped meditation garden.
- (Lorton) – The Workhouse Arts Center, once a DC prison that notoriously housed incarcerated members of the National Women’s Party, will open the Lucy Burns Museum in early 2020, which will focus on the Party’s efforts to win the right to vote.
- (Richmond) – The Virginia Museum of History and Culture exhibit, Agents of Change – Female Activism in Virginia from Women’s Suffrage to Today, will be on display from March 7, 2020 – September 27, 2020. Organized in conjunction with the statewide Women’s Suffrage Centennial, this exhibition celebrates a century of women’s social and political activism in the Commonwealth.
- (Richmond) – #BallotBattle: Richmond’s Social Struggle for Suffrage will be on display at The Valentine Museum until September 7, 2020. The exhibit uses modern social media platforms to profile five Richmond viewpoints and the racial and generational tensions that each exposed.
- (Richmond) – We Demand: Women’s Suffrage in Virginia, on exhibit at The Library of Virginia until December 5, 2020, reveals how Virginia women created two statewide organizations to win the right to vote.
- (Montpelier Station) –James Madison’s Montpelier’s Nineteenth Amendment Centennial Seminar will be held March 20-22, 2020 and will address the history and legacy of the constitutional amendment that established women’s right to vote.
- (Alexandria) –Woodlawn Estate – the first family home of George Washington’s granddaughter Eleanor “Nelly” Custis – holds an annual Needlework Show each March to honor Custis’ legacy as a needlework maker and to maintain the tradition of the needle arts. In 2020, the exhibit will celebrate 100 years of women expressing their rights through craft making.
- (Staunton) – Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum will have a temporary Protesting the President exhibit on display through 2020 discussing the issues that President Woodrow Wilson faced while in office, with objects on display that cover the suffrage movement, as well as anti-war, civil rights, and prohibition.
- (Lynchburg) – The Lynchburg Museum will open a museum-wide exhibit on March 1, 2020, commemorating 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage in Lynchburg, Virginia. The exhibit will tell for the first time the little-known stories of people like Lynchburg resident Elizabeth Langhorne Lewis, identified by the Library of Virginia as the second most important and influential suffragist in Virginia.
More at Virginia Museums and Historic Sites
- (Montpelier Station) – The latest special exhibit at James Madison’s Montpelier, “Mysteries of Montpelier,” showcases artifacts found on Montpelier’s 2,650 acres and reveals the history behind these items, from the spear points of indigenous peoples to shoes owned by Dolly Madison.
- (Fort Belvoir) – The National Museum of the United States Army will open to the public on June 4, 2020. The 185,000-square-foot museum will be adjacent to Fort Belvoir, and will be the first and only museum to tell the 244-year history of the U.S. Army in its entirety. The state-of-the-art museum will incorporate the latest technological advances in museum exhibits while providing advanced educational opportunities.
- (Arlington) – January 2020 brings the reopening of Arlington House: the Robert E. Lee Memorial. Located at the top of Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington House has undergone a $14M historical renovation project that will allow visitors to see Arlington House as it was in 1860, including the restored quarters of the enslaved people of Arlington House. People who cannot visit in person will enjoy a robust experience through virtual tours, complete with detailed displays of the rooms and objects that belonged to George Washington and the Lee family.
- (Triangle) – At The National Museum of the Marine Corps, an additional segment of the gallery will guide visitors through the evolution of the Marine Corps in the post-Vietnam era. The centerpiece of the new gallery is the “Terror Strikes” exhibit that includes the events of September 11, 2001. In addition to the 9/11 exhibit, the extension includes “No Better Friend,” which explores the non-combat roles of Marines, and “Semper Family,” which speaks about the universal experiences of Marine Corps family members.
- (Jamestown) – New gallery exhibits at Jamestown Settlement recently opened, providing information about everything from the census to cultural convergence of Powhatan Indian, English, and African cultures. The museum also debuted a new 4D experiential theater and a new interactive exhibit that allows visitors to delve into Pocahontas’s life and legend. In addition, a “Military Through the Ages” event takes place March 21-22, 2020 and features re-enactors presenting a military timeline, from the Vikings and Roman period through the Virginia Army National Guard.
- (Pocahontas) – After several years closed to the public, 2020 will bring the grand reopening of Pocahontas Exhibition Mine.
- (Lexington) – The Miller’s House Museum, dedicated to interpreting the industrial and transportation history of the Lexington area, is adding a working model of a canal lock complete with gates, a canal boat and running water.
- (Winchester) – The Trails at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, opening mid-2020, will be the largest outdoor art exhibit in Virginia and will have more than three miles of trails.
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