Richmond, Va. – The Virginia Museum of History & Culture (VMHC) announced today the inaugural grant recipients of its new Commonwealth History Fund.
Thanks to the generous investment by long-time VMHC supporter Dominion Energy and others, The Commonwealth History Fund, administered in partnership with Virginia’s Department of Historic Resources (DHR), was established to provide grants annually to history organizations and projects across the state of Virginia. Key selection criteria include the significance of the project or resource as well as its impact on its community and the Commonwealth, the emphasis of the project on historically underrepresented topics and communities and the need for funding and the urgency of the project.
The VMHC received proposals from some 60 history organizations all across Virginia. Ultimately, 12 projects representing all regions of the state were selected for awards by a panel of experts from DHR and VMHC. This year, a total of $402,500 is being awarded to the 12 winning organizations.
Within the next five years, the VMHC intends to award up to $2,000,000 – making The Commonwealth History Fund one of the largest initiatives of its kind. Funds can be used for a variety of purposes including preservation, publications, artifact acquisition, research, conservation of artifacts and educational programming. Eligible recipients include Virginia non-profits, educational institutions and Virginia Indian tribes.
“Until now, a perpetual and stable source of funding has been an unrealized dream. DHR couldn’t be more excited to collaborate with our VMHC neighbors as well as partners across the Commonwealth to take the preservation and interpretation of Virginia history to the next level,” said DHR Director Julie Langan.
The complete list of 2022 Commonwealth History Fund grant recipients
- Let Freedom Ring Foundation (Williamsburg, Virginia): The Historic First Baptist Church Campaign- Funding will be used to address urgent repairs to address water penetration issues, safe access and other life-safety and accessibility concerns.
- Chickahominy Tribe (Providence Forge, Virginia): Revitalizing the Powhatan Algonquin Language- This project will fund the planning of a Language Revitalization Program to strengthen the Chickahominy community and the greater Powhatan Algonquin community’s connection to and through language.
- Rappahannock Tribe (Indian Neck, Virginia): Preserving the Chief Otho S. & Susie P. Nelson House, the Heart of 20th Century Rappahannock Life-Funding will support the long-term vision for the Chief's House property, which includes establishing a working farm to raise indigenous plants and herbs for medicinal and culinary uses.
- Calfee Community & Cultural Center (Pulaski, Virginia): Quiet Courage: Chauncey Harmon, Percy Corbin, and the Fight for Equality – Research and Exhibition Design- Funding will be used to support the research and design for an exhibition that will tell the dramatic story of two Pulaski heroes and their joint struggle for educational equity in the years before Brown v. Board of Education (1954).
- Richmond Public Library Foundation (Richmond, Virginia): Community Memory Fellow- Funding will be used to support the Richmond Public Library in creating a thorough record of Richmond neighborhoods through eight additional library branches.
- Richmond Hill (Richmond, Virginia): Preserving and Interpreting the Enslaved House at Richmond Hill- Funding will help Richmond Hill restore the Enslaved House on the property and engage students, descendants, and the public.
- The Manassas Museum (Manassas, Virginia): Manassas Means A Native Legacy – Research and Exhibition Development-Funding will support the research and development of Manassas Means a Native Legacy, an exhibit that will explore the culture of Native Virginians.
- The Fairfield Foundation (White Marsh, Virginia): Timberneck House Foundation Stabilization- Funding will enable the renovation of Timberneck house to be used as a site for archaeology and historic preservation programming.
- Louisa County Historical Society (LCHS) (Louisa, Virginia): Representing our Residents: African American Oral History in Louisa County- Funding will allow the LCHS to collect and digitize oral histories of Louisa County, develop outreach activities, and enhance participation.
- Prince William Historic Preservation Foundation (Prince William, Virginia): Potter’s Field Cemetery Delineation and Restoration- Funding will be used to detect gravesites and delineate the boundaries of Potters Field, a historically African American cemetery dating back to the 19th century.
- Clarke County Historical Society (Berryville, Virginia): Burrwell-Morgan Mill Dam Restoration (Phase 1)- Funding will be used to hire an engineering firm to evaluate the dam and develop a plan to restore it.
- Jewish Museum & Cultural Center (Portsmouth, Virginia): Restoration and Repair of Historic Synagogue Museum Ark Proscenium- Funding will support a qualified structural engineer's assessment of the best method of structurally reattaching the Proscenium, which contains the ark (cabinet), in which the sacred Torah scrolls are stored.
“As the state’s history museum, we are committed to doing everything we can to save and share our collective story,” VMHC President & CEO Jamie Bosket said. “Through this new endowed fund, we will be able to do more on behalf of the whole Commonwealth through direct financial support of history-related work happening in communities across Virginia now and for many years to come.”
The VMHC will receive applications for funding for its second annual grant cycle Oct. 1-31. Awards will be announced in early 2023.
More information on The Commonwealth History Fund can be found at VirginiaHistory.org/HistoryFund
The Virginia Museum of History & Culture is the only institution dedicated to presenting the entire history of Virginia over time and across regions. Its nationally significant collection of more than 9 million objects, renowned research library, galleries and public programs demonstrate the centrality of Virginia to the narrative of the United States.
The VMHC is owned and operated by the Virginia Historical Society — a private, non-profit organization established in 1831. The historical society is the oldest cultural organization in Virginia and one of the oldest and most distinguished history organizations in the nation.