Finding the Familiar

From
Open
Daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Location
Stern Family Gallery

Finding the Familiar celebrates the uniqueness and relatability of everyday objects and allows visitors to appreciate the extraordinary stories of the people they meet every day. 

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White Text on a Blue Background reads Finding the Familiar

Admission: Included with Museum Daily Admission

Square feet: 169

Number of artifacts: 9

About the Exhibition: Finding the Familiar offers interpretations of everyday objects from multiple perspectives. The exhibition features an introduction to each object from the VMHC collection then expands the institutional point-of-view to include the object’s connection to Virginia’s history. Finally, the object becomes part of a story shared by a Virginian. The people featured in this exhibition act as narrators of their own individual story and, through their narration, they allow guests to connect with the museum’s collection and find common ground with fellow Virginians, some of whom are rarely seen in museum exhibitions. To enhance the feeling of connection, the space is designed to resemble a living room and the objects themselves are common household items. 

Highlights: This exhibition features artifacts including Ralph Sampson’s PUMA Sneakers, John Aydelotte Mapp’s Navy Visor Cap, aThalhimers Shopping Bag and Credit Card, and the October 7, 2014, edition of the Richmond Times-Dispatch featuring a photograph of Nicole Pries and Lindsey Oliver celebrating their marriage ceremony at Richmond Circuit Court after same-sex marriage becomes legal in Virginia.

Finding the Familiar Featured Artifacts

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A pair of large white hightop sneakers with a red stripe along the bottom. The signature of Ralph Sampson in green marker is on the lower right heel
Ralph Sampson’s PUMA Sneakers

These size 17 sneakers belonged to basketball player Ralph Sampson, Jr., who was born in 1960 in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Sampson played center for the University of Virginia (1979-1983) and was picked first overall in the 1983 NBA draft by the Houston Rockets. From the VMHC Collection, 2017.86.A-B.

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A Navy cap
John Aydelotte Mapp’s Navy Visor Cap

Visor cap belonging to Lt. John Aydelotte Mapp who served in Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 27 during World War II. Mapp famously assisted in rescuing 17 paratroopers who were engaged in the fight to liberate the Philippines from Japanese occupation. From the VMHC Collection, 1992.143.3.

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A baseball with the Richmond Braves logo on it
Richmond Braves Baseball

Baseball with Richmond Braves logo, Best Products logo, and K95 Radio (a station in Richmond, Virginia) logo. From the VMHC Collection, 1999.112.7.

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Alma Blanche Mayo's 1930 diploma from the Stuart Circle Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Association
Alma Blanche Mayo's 1930 diploma from Stuart Circle Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Association

From the VMHC Collection, 2011.23.1.

Inside the Exhibition 

Through an exhibition space designed to resemble a living room, visitors can explore stories about the meanings behind common objects by examining who owned each object, the object's connection to Virginia’s history, and the relationships that individuals have with these objects. 

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A cozy exhibition room with a couch, table, wall panels, and exhibition cases.
Entrance to the exhibition
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A gallery with exhibition cases on top of common household furniture, including a chest of drawers, cabinet, bureau, and couch. Objects include sneakers and a baseball bat.
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A gallery with exhibition cases on top of common household furniture, including a chest of drawers, cabinet, bureau, and couch. Objects include sneakers and a baseball bat.