The Conrad M. Hall 2024 Symposium for Virginia History

The Conrad M. Hall 2024 Symposium for Virginia History

Key Details:

  • Symposium Theme: Creation/Creating
  • When: Saturday, September 7, 2024
  • Time: 10:00 am - 5:30 pm
  • Where: Virginia Museum of History & Culture, 428 N Arthur Ashe Boulevard, Richmond, Virginia 23220
  • Questions? Contact

Join us on Saturday, September 7, 2024!


2024 will see a return of this one-day event where historians, practitioners, and members of the public gather to explore our shared past. Featuring panels and presentations that highlight groundbreaking research into Virginia history, tailored gallery tours that celebrate Virginia creations, and a special keynote lecture, the symposium links past with present to inspire future generations.

Virginia has always been a place for making, building, and creating, and this year's Symposium builds on this theme. Leading Virginians helped found the United States and shaped American government. Enslaved African Americans, indentured servants, and free laborers secured prosperity for elites by transforming the natural environment and building crucial infrastructure across the state. The tobacco industry in Richmond, shipbuilding in Tidewater, and textile production in Southside Virginia have all characterized Virginia manufacturing. Black Virginians and Virginia Indians built communities that have endured as an essential part of the Commonwealth’s social fabric to this day. And, peaking in the 21st Century, Virginia Beach made music history by injecting its unique sounds into American R&B and hip-hop.

This year, exhibitions at the Virginia Museum of History & Culture showcase ingenuity in the Commonwealth, demonstrating how visionary Virginians created everything from crafts and communities to colonies and countries. A Better Life for their Children celebrates a partnership that led to the establishment of 380 Rosenwald schools in Virginia. Secrets and Symbols exhibits decorative objects made in the Commonwealth by talented Virginians and reveals their hidden messages. And the Traveling Bricks exhibition joins the VMHC as LEGO® establishes a Virginia manufacturing plant, the first and only in the U.S.

Preliminary Schedule

9:30 – 10:30: Registration

10:30 – 11:30: Keynote Lecture: Remaking Southern Identity in Reconstruction-Era Virginia: The Strange Careers of Elizabeth Van Lew, Joseph T. Wilson, and James Longstreet by Dr. Elizabeth R. Varon (Langbourne M. Williams Professor of American History and Associate Director, John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History, University of Virginia)

11:30 – 11:45: Break

11:45 – 12:45: Session I

  • Remembering the Great War: Diaries, Photographs, and Monuments 
    • Creating a Presidential Friendship: Exploring the Writings of Dr. Cary Grayson, Woodrow Wilson’s Physician 
      • Emily Kilgore (Director of Education and Engagement, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library) & Linda Petzke (Education Liaison, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library) 
    • "Doing Their Bit: The Surprising Role of Virginians in the Great War"
      • Dr. Lynn Rainville (Executive Director, Hidden History Group)
  • Building an Oral History of the East Marshall Street Well Project 
    • Sunday Wright (Virginia Commonwealth University) & I-Kamilah Hiwott (Virginia Commonwealth University)

  • Cataloguing Americana: Virginian Artists in The Index of American Design Collection at the National Gallery of Art 
    • Abby Whitlock (National Gallery of Art)

  • “Equal to any Band in this Country”: The Story of Virginia’s First Military Band 
    • Dominic Giardino (Independent Researcher)

12:45 – 2:00: Lunch

2:00 – 3:15: Session II

  • Tuskegee-Rosenwald Schools: Vibrant Legacies of Creativity and Resiliency 
    • Elizabeth Klaczynski (Associate Curator, Virginia Museum of History & Culture), Muriel Branch (President Emeritus, AMMD Pine Grove Project), Calvin Hopkins (President, Second Union Rosenwald School Museum), Millicent Nash (Chairperson, Campbell County Training School Complex), Deborah Billups (Lead, Descendants Community Committee, Woodville Rosenwald Foundation), & Stephanie Deutsch (Author and Board Member, Campaign to Create a Julius Rosenwald & Schools National Historic Park)
  • Creating the Past: Podcasting as Public History
    • Jeanette Patrick (Head of R2 Studios, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, George Mason University), Kathryn Gehred (Media Editor, Virginia Humanities), Jim Ambuske (Co-Head of R2 Studios, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, George Mason University), & Mills Kelly (Professor History and Senior Scholar, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, George Mason University)

  • Stitching it All Together: A Collaboration between the Milliners and Mantua-makers at Colonial Williamsburg and William & Mary’s National Institute of American History & Democracy 
    • Julie Richter (Director, National Institute of American History & Democracy, College of William & Mary), Janea Whitacre (Mistress, Milliner’s and Mantua-Maker’s Shop, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation), Sarah McCartney (Assistant Teaching Professor, College of William & Mary), Rebecca Godzik (Journeywoman, Milliner’s and Mantua-Maker’s Shop, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation), & Clarissa Cantacuzene (History Major, College of William & Mary)
  • Sculpting History at the Valentine Studio: Art, Power, and the “Lost Cause” American Myth
    • Christina Vida (Elise H. Wright Curator of General Collections, Valentine Museum), Josh Epperson (Sculpting History Co-Curator, Independent Researcher), & Dr. Kate Sunderlin (Sculpting History Co-Curator, Independent Researcher)


3:15 – 3:30: Break

3:30 – 4:30: Session III

  • Implementing NAGPRA: Individual Action for Collective Progress
    • Andrew Foster (Manager of Collections and Exhibitions, Pamunkey Indian Museum and Cultural Center) & Shaleigh Howells (Cultural Resource Director, Pamunkey Indian Museum and Cultural Center)
  • Crafting Clay and Carving Stone in Virginia
    • J. Henry Brown: Stone Carver for the New South
      • Dr. Ryan Smith (Professor of History, Virginia Commonwealth University) 
    • Crafting Clay Histories: Virginia Ceramics Then and Now
      • Madeleine Dugan (Curatorial Assistant, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts)
  • Increasing Access to Virginia History: Digital Humanities at Virginia Commonwealth University
    • A 1723 Letter Written by an Enslaved Virginian: Creating a Digital Edition 
      • Dr. Mary Caton Lingold (Associate Professor of English, Director of MATX PhD, Virginia Commonwealth University), & Skylar Middleton (Senior English Major, Virginia Commonwealth University 
    • British Virginia Edition of the 1755 Mitchell Map
      • Dr. Joshua Eckhardt (Professor of English, Virginia Commonwealth University) & Jamie Mahoney (Assistant Professor of Graphic Design, Virginia Commonwealth University)

  • Heroes of Color in RVA
    • Dr. Anita Nadal (Assistant Professor of Spanish, Virginia Commonwealth University)

4:30 – 4:45: Break 

4:45 – 5:45: Session IV 

  • Creating & Cultivating Lexington's Black Schools: 1865–1965
    • Eric Wilson (Executive Director, Rockbridge Historical Society) & Marylin Alexander (Vice Mayor, Lexington, VA)

  • “…tell Johnny Hemmings to finish off immediately the frame for the round table”: A Case Study of Enslaved Cabinetmaker John Hemmings and the Output from the Monticello Joiner’s Shop
    • Molly Martien (University of Delaware) 

  • “We Cannot Hope, of Course, to Please Everybody”: Virginia’s Highway Marker Program Over Nearly a Century
    • Jennifer Loux (Highway Marker Program Manager, Virginia Department of Historic Resources) & Matthew Gottlieb (Highway Marker Program Researcher, Virginia Department of Historic Resources) 

  • The Impetus for Song: How Hope and Lament Created the African-American Spiritual
    • Horace Scruggs III (Musician, Composer, Documentarian, Fluvanna Historical Society)

5:45 – 6:30: Reception