Commonwealth History Fund 2023 Recipients

Commonwealth History Fund 2023 Recipients

Framed documents line a wall in front of which sits a manequin and spinning wheel.

Laws governing Native Americans and African Americans, Free Papers, & Run-Away Ads are displayed at the AAHA museum, depicting the environment in which Virginia’s people of color lived.

Recipient: Afro-American Historical Association of Fauquier County (The Plains, Virginia)

Project: Know Their Names: Phase II

Funding will be used to focus on researching, documenting, and abstracting 61 names of enslaved individuals listed in Chief Justice John Marshall’s estate papers along with documenting the enslaved individuals who lived and worked at the Oak Spring Garden site in Fauquier, formerly Rokeby owned by Nathan Loughborough and Little Oak Spring owned by Robert Fletcher. 

A two story stone building with red shuttered windows

Old Stone Jail, Palmyra. Photo by Tricia Johnson.

Recipient: Fluvanna Historical Society (Palmyra, Virginia)

Project: The Words They Left Behind Them: Legacies of Bremo

Funding will be used to develop a new exhibition featuring voices of those enslaved at historic Bremo, as well as plantation owner John Hartwell Cocke.  

A stone two story house with additions off the back and a covered front porch.

Fort Harrison

Recipient: Fort Harrison, Inc. (Dayton, Virginia)

Project: Unearthing Fort Harrison’s Diverse Cultures

Fort Harrison is the historic home of home of Daniel Harrison, one of the Shenandoah Valley’s earliest settlers. This important archaeological research and documentation project promises significant understanding about Fort Harrison’s grounds and the adjacent Koogler pastureland with subsequent scientific analysis and reporting. Findings will add immeasurably to what is known about the Harrisons, early valley culture, Native Americans, and African Americans—and their intersecting lives to illustrate a more complete and accurate history of the central Shenandoah Valley. 

A person shakes dirt in a hanging wooden box to sift through for archaelogical finds.

Archaelogical sifting at Gunston Hall

Recipient: George Mason’s Gunston Hall (Mason Neck, Virginia)

Project: Native Peoples: Connecting Past and Present

 Funding will be used to support research to build a greater scholarly understanding of the pre-colonial inhabitants who once lived on and around current-day Gunston Hall, in particular the Native people known variously as the Doeg, the Taux, and the Myompse.   

A two-story stone house with scaffolding and tarps on its exterior

Stabilizing Grace Church

Recipient: Lincoln Preservation Foundation (Lincoln, Virginia)

Project: The Saving Grace Project: Roof Reconstruction at the Grace Heritage Site

Originally known as Grace Methodist Episcopal Church, the Grace Heritage Site represents a significant social, religious, cultural, and racial chapter in Loudoun County’s past. This project will eliminate the threats of water damage and structural deterioration at the roof line, mitigate insect infestation and rot, and provide safe accessibility to the building, allowing for other important interior restoration work to begin. 

An aerial view of a body of water, swaths of land, and small buildings

Recipient: Mattaponi Indian Tribe and Reservation Petition (West Point, Virginia)

Project: Mattaponi Restoration: Supporting Tribal Sovereignty through Archival Research

The Mattaponi Indian Tribe (MIT) is currently seeking sovereignty through the Federal Acknowledgment process. These funds will allow the MIT to hire a part-time researcher to visit archival repositories, digitize and organize any historical documents collected, and communicate these findings to the tribal community and larger public through updates to Tribe’s website. 

A crowd of people clap as two people shake hands

Montgomery Museum Soft Re-Opening Ribbon Cutting

Recipient: Montgomery Museum of Art and History (Christiansburg, Virginia)

Project: Telling the Stories of Virginia’s Appalachia: Preservation and Digitization Lab

Funding will support the rehabilitation of the museum’s new, larger facility and fully equip spaces crucial to the mission of preserving and presenting the history and cultural heritage of Appalachian Virginia. 

A wide circular plaza with a dark stone arch in the center and international flags along the perimeter, with a mountain range visible in the background

The National D-Day Memorial

Recipient: National D-Day Memorial Foundation (Bedford, Virginia)

Project: Accounting for the Untold Stories of WWII

 This project will utilize an array of immersive content to tell the often-overlooked stories of the service and sacrifice of African Americans during WWII, as well as women in general who contributed to the war effort overseas. 

A two story white clapboard house with dark shutters and a chimney and a one story white out building behind it

Reedville Fishermen's Museum campus

Recipient: The Reedville Fishermen’s Museum (Reedville, Virginia)

Project: Preserving the William Walker House, a 19th Century Chesapeake Bay Waterman's Cottage

The mission of the Reedville Fishermen’s Museum is to protect and share the maritime history of Reedville and the lower Chesapeake Bay. Built in 1875, the William Walker House is the oldest extant house in the working fishing village of historic Reedville, Virginia. This project consists of several fundamental phases for the long-term preservation of this historic house. 

An interior room with wooden floors and beamed ceiling with a rug and wooden table and interpretive panels along the wall

Interior, Nottoway House

Recipient: Virginia Nottoway Indian Circle & Square Foundation (Capron, Virginia)

Project: Virginia Nottaway Indian Circle & Square Foundation Property Acquisition – Phase 1

Funding will allow the Tribe to purchase the property they currently lease to cement their place in history, while also providing a safe and secure building for increasing public engagement. 

Woodland area before and after restoration shows a densely wooded area and a nicely manicured area with gravestones and mowed lawn

Woodland before (top) and after (bottom)

Recipient: Woodland Restoration Foundation (Henrico, Virginia)

Project: Woodland Cemetery Chapel Renovation

 The Woodland Restoration Foundation’s mission is to restore the Historic African American Cemetery, located in the East Highland Park neighborhood of Richmond, to a condition that shows dignity and respect to all that are interred there. This project will provide substantial retrofitting of the property’s nonfunctional septic system and drain field to support a bathroom in the chapel building to serve visitors and volunteers, in accordance with code requirements.