History Matters

On Display
Exhibition Type
Long Term Exhibition
Display cases with artifacts related to Virginia history

Admission: Included with Museum Daily Admission

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About the Exhibition: Themes explored through objects from the VMHC's collections include: 

  • History helps us discover ourselves: we learn who we are through stories of our families and communities 
  • History helps us connect with our communities: traditions and shared experiences give meaning to the places we call home 
  • History motivates us to explore: examples of the past encourage us to be creative, innovative, and to forge new paths 
  • History inspires our future: understanding our past—its triumphs and its tragedies—provides insight to help us shape a better tomorrow 

Highlights: This exhibition features key artifacts from throughout Virginia's rich history, including the personalized graduation cap worn by Ginai Seabron, the first African American woman to graduate with a degree in Nanoscience--on her graduation from Virginia Tech in 2018; sneakers worn by "Rainbow Minute" radio show co-host Judd Proctor at his wedding to co-host Brian Burns in 2006; an early-1900s child’s banjo from Carroll County; a terra-cotta bowl made by Pamunkey Indian artist Mary Bradby; an autographed baseball from the Richmond Virginians, a minor league AAA baseball team in the International League from 1954 to 1964; a shovel used during Admiral Richard Byrd’s 1928 expedition to the South Pole; a Civil War cap belonging to Lt. Charles Ellis Munford (1839-1862), Letcher Light Artillery; vials used to by VCU Health Systems to deliver the first COVID-19 vaccinations in Virginia; and more.

Inside the History Matters Exhibition

History Matters Featured Artifacts

Black horizontal square board mounted to black skull-cap. A mixed media collage is assembled on a piece of black poster board cut to the size of the square board. The collage includes the following: gold, silver, and white glitter stars; silver glitter numbers and letters to spell out "1st" and "NANOSCIENTIST"; silver rhinestones; gold and silver glitter glue; elements from the periodic table to spell out B La C K [Boron, Lanthanum, Carbon, Potassium]; a photographic image of a black woman from the eyes up
Mortarboard of Ginai Seabron

This personalized graduation cap was worn by Ginai Seabron (b. 1995), the first African American woman to graduate with a degree in Nanoscience, on her graduation from  Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University [Virginia Tech] in 2018. From the VMHC Collection, 2019.3.1. Gift of Ginai Seabron.

A red and white poster written mostly in Chinese which advertises Chinese movies at the Rosslyn Chinese Theatre, Arlington, VA.
Rosslyn Chinese Movie Theater Poster

From the VMHC Collection, 1999.161.693. Gift of Fred Bell.

Carte de visite of General George Henry Thomas, wearing a double-breasted military uniform and he has a full beard and mustache.
Carte de visite photograph of General George Henry Thomas

This 19th century albumen silver photograph of General Thomas shows him wearing a double-breasted uniform of the United States Army. From the VMHC Collection,  2002.685.2. Gift of  Mrs. Samuel Eason Balch and Mrs. Gene B. Hawley. 

Explore the History Matters Exhibition

Museum visitors look at an interactive wall with tags and handwriting
Hanging tags with handwriting in an interactive with instructions to Tell Your Story
Museum visitors look at artifacts in display cases
A display of framed paintings, shoes, signs, and other small artifacts related to Virginia history