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.
Learn more about the Virginia Library Association (VLA) which has developed, promoted, and improved library and information services and the profession of librarianship to advance literacy and learning and to ensure access to information for all Virginians.
Working Out Her Destiny: Women's History in Virginia, 1600-2004 took a fresh look at the history of Virginia's women and the history of Virginia in the light of twenty years of innovative scholarship since the 1984-1985 Virginia Women's Cultural History Project presented the first ever exhibition and book on Virginia women's history, "'A Share of Honour,' Virginia Women 1600-1945."