Arts, Culture, and Humanities

Virginia Historical Society

  • Richmond, VA
  • www.vahistorical.org

Mission Statement

The mission of the Virginia Historical Society (VHS) is to connect people to America's past through the unparalleled story of Virginia.By collecting, preserving, and interpreting the Commonwealth's history, the VHS links past with present and inspires future generations.

Main Programs

  1. Exhibitions
  2. HistoryConnects
  3. We'll See You in Class and On the Bus
  4. The Banner Lecture Series, in honor of Charles F. Bryan, Jr.
  5. Created Equal Film Series, in honor of Grady W. Powell
Service Areas

Self-reported

National

The Virginia Historical Society is located in Richmond, VA, but we have members in all fifty states as well as nearly a dozen different countries. We serve state, national, and international audiences through our web presence (www.vahistorical.org), our online catalog, and our distance-learning initiative HistoryConnects.

ruling year

1941

Principal Officer since 2016

Self-reported

Dr. John R. Nelson

Keywords

Self-reported

history, education, research, Virginia, scholarship

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EIN

54-0419452

 Number

1197093222

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Historical Societies and Related Activities (A80)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

We successfully completed our Story of Virginia Campaign, which exceeded its $38 million goal by 20 percent. We completed an $18 million construction project on time and within our budget. We introduced the state's first crowd sourced documentary Virginia Voices. We launched a successful special exhibitions program. Our first special exhibition was Dressing Downton: Changing Fashion for Changing Times which was followed by The Art of Seating: 200 Years of American Design and Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In August 2015, we opened our new 11,000 square-foot The Story of Virginia long-term exhibition. This exhibition was met with enthusiastic school attendance. As we move towards 2016, our goals include: We will restore our 104-year-old skylights in our historic core, and we will selectively repoint and clean the exterior limestone façade of our building.We will conduct a national search for a new president and CEO. We will expand our Created Equal Film Series, in honor of Grady W. Powell from four times a year to eight. We will continue a robust special exhibitions schedule with the October 2016 opening of The Private Jefferson: From the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society.We will continue and expand our online teachers institutes and educational resources.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Exhibitions

Our signature exhibition is The Story of Virginia, and features objects that will help guide the visitor through more than 16,000 years of Virginia history from prehistoric times to the present. Other long-term exhibitions include Changing Styles: 300 Years of Virginia Art and Design, Landscapes of Virginia, The Memorial Military Murals by Charles Hoffbauer, and Charles Hoffbauer: "Painter of Historical Murals. The new Virginia Sargeant Reynolds Gallery accommodates large, nationally travelling exhibitions. With a sufficiently large and secure space, we offer special exhibitions from other museums, private galleries, and collectors. Very often, these shows may only be available in central Virginia if the VHS hosts them. Our special exhibitions engage a broader public by presenting history in unexpected ways. And, in some cases by presenting unexpected history. The first exhibits highlighted in our newly created special exhibition gallery represent a look at more national topics, at collections that may not otherwise be available to the public, and at exhibitions not normally associated with history museums. - Dressing Downton: Changing Fashion for Changing Times; October 2015 - January 2016 - The Art of Seating: Two Hundred Years of American DesignFebruary 2016 - April 2016- Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of FameMay 2016 - September 2016 We offer free admission to our long-term and changing exhibitions. As a benefit of membership, members receive free admission to our ticketed special exhibitions. We made the decision to eliminate admission fees in 2010 as a testament to our commitment to make history accessible to everyone. No family, student, or up-and-coming historian is ever turned away from our doors for lack of funds.

Category

Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other

Population(s) Served

General Public/Unspecified

Budget

$60,000.00

Program 2

HistoryConnects

HistoryConnects is an outreach education initiative by the Virginia Historical Society utilizing Interactive Videoconferencing equipment, Skype, and Zoom Meetings to reach students across the state of Virginia, the nation, and the world.HistoryConnects programs:are interactive,are primary source based historical explorations, andreinforce both national and state standards of learning. Programming is offered to Virginia schools at a reduced rate, and a limited number of free programs will be made available through the Skype in the Classroom (SITC) partnership.

Category

Education, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Budget

$30,000.00

Program 3

We'll See You in Class and On the Bus

According to the US Census, the oldest of the Baby Boomer generation turned 60 in 2006. Since then, this group of 78.2 million has been turning 60 at a rate of 7,918 per day. Our ""We'll See You in Class"" series is specifically designed to target this demographic and their need for educational programming. The addition of our new, state-of the art classroom serves an audience of teachers and students as well as a new audience we have dubbed ""life-long learners."" We developed a program entitled ""We'll See You in Class"" to specifically target this audience. This wildly successful series, established in 2005, invites students of all ages to after-hours classes hosted by staff and visiting historians. Topics have ranged from World War II to Civil War and Southern History film classes. Additionally, we serve this audience with bus trips to various attractions and destinations throughout the Commonwealth. This is a part of a new program which did not exist ten years ago.

Category

Population(s) Served

Budget

$10,000.00

Program 4

The Banner Lecture Series, in honor of Charles F. Bryan, Jr.

In 2008, the popular Banner Lecture Series was endowed in honor of Charles F. Bryan, Jr., to celebrate his twenty years (1988-2008) of service to the VHS as president and to commemorate his retirement after two decades of remarkable leadership. The series, established in 1988 by Dr. Bryan, was the first public lecture series ever offered by the VHS. Contributions to the endowment to support the series are still being accepted. For more than twenty-eight years, the VHS has been hosting noontime lectures that are open to members and the general public. Authors and scholars discuss their most recent work and research on a variety of topics, ranging from architecture and art to genealogy and modern-day politics. Held in the society's Robins Family Forum, the Banner Lecture Series continues to be a highlight of the VHS calendar for many people. These lectures last approximately one hour followed, in many cases, by a book signing. The VHS has been recording Banner Lectures since 2007. Watch and/or listen to more than fifty past lectures.

Category

Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other

Population(s) Served

General Public/Unspecified

Budget

Program 5

Created Equal Film Series, in honor of Grady W. Powell

In 2013, the VHS was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to participate in its Created Equal: America's Civil Rights Struggle initiative. This program used the power of documentary films to encourage community discussion of America's civil rights history. The film series was so well-received that the VHS decided to continue the program and to name it in honor of Rev. Grady W. Powell, Sr., of Petersburg, Virginia, who has served on the VHS board since 1996 and as honorary vice chair since 2011, and is instrumental in the development of relevant and accessible programming. Now in its third year, the series focuses on themes related to civil rights, human rights, and social justice in American history. The VHS partners with the Richmond Peace Education Center and Diversity Richmond in efforts to present this program free of charge to a new and diverse audience. Already this year, we have shown Freedom Summer, a film about ten memorable weeks in 1964 when more than 700 student volunteers joined with local organizers and black Mississippians in a historic effort to shatter the foundations of white supremacy in one of the nation's most segregated states. In May, we showed the documentary, The House I Live In, which examines the forty-year history of the war on drugs—a war that has resulted in more than 45 million arrests with tremendous and disproportionate consequences to African American communities. Later in September, we will screen Rosenwald. This film tells the story of Julius Rosenwald, the son of Jewish immigrants who rose to become the chairman of Sears, Roebuck and Co. Perhaps his greatest achievement was the establishment of a challenge grant program that led to the creation of more than 5,000 schools for rural African Americans in the south. After each film, a notable historian or a panel of distinguished guests provides historical context to the audience, and in turn, the audience has a chance to ask questions.

Category

Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Other Named Groups

Immigrants/Newcomers/Refugees

Ethnic/Racial Minorities -- General

Budget

$25,000.00

Service Areas

Self-reported

National

The Virginia Historical Society is located in Richmond, VA, but we have members in all fifty states as well as nearly a dozen different countries. We serve state, national, and international audiences through our web presence (www.vahistorical.org), our online catalog, and our distance-learning initiative HistoryConnects.

Additional Documents

Funding Needs

Additional Endowment: $20,000,000Underwrite Free Admission: $60,000 annuallyConservation of Collections: $250,000Youth Education Fund: $30,000 annually

Accreditations

American Association of Museums - 10 Year Accreditation

Affiliations + Memberships

Museums on the Boulevard

Virginia Association of Museums

photos


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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

VIRGINIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Fiscal year: Jul 01-Jun 30
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Virginia Historical Society

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2014 and 2014
  • Board Chair, Board Co-Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Principal Officer

Dr. John R. Nelson

BIO

The Virginia Historical Society will cast a national net for a new CEO while getting interim leadership from John R. Nelson Jr., chairman of the VHS board of trustees and a recently retired executive vice president and chief technology officer at Altria. The national search will be conducted by Bryan & Jordan Consulting, a firm that knows the VHS inside and out. Charles F. Bryan Jr., one of the co-founders of the consulting firm, ran the VHS for 20 years and was named president and CEO emeritus upon his retirement.Paul A. Levengood, VHS president and CEO since 2008, has resigned from his position effective July 1. He will be on sabbatical for the next year. His last big public event was a Banner Lecture on Wednesday evening, when he led a conversation with Edward L. Ayers, president emeritus of the University of Richmond, on ""The Roads from War to Reconstruction and Beyond.""Nelson, who holds a doctorate in history, has served more than 10 years on the board in two terms. He said the goal for the executive search will be to ""get a really top talent ... since we think this is the outstanding historical society in the United States.""Bryan & Jordan just completed a search for the Nebraska Historical Society. ""We know the society well, and we know the field very well,"" Bryan said of the VHS. ""I think it'll be a very attractive job for any number of people.

STATEMENT FROM THE Principal Officer

"If you have read David Stewart's book, Madison's Gift: Five Partnerships that Built America, you know that James Madison cared more about achieving results than taking the credit. Because of that, Madison is frequently over-shadowed by other founding fathers who were more charismatic, better orators and taller. But James Madison understood the power that comes from strategic partnerships and because of that, he was able to achieve his lifelong dream of a self-governing constitutional republic. In many ways, the Virginia Historical Society (VHS) is using the same technique — forming strategic partnerships — to accomplish our goals. Recently, we announced the VHS and George Mason University (GMU) NoVA Banner Lecture Series, an initiative created from meetings with GMU, Historic Fairfax City, Friends of Fairfax Courthouse and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. And, we worked with the Taubman Museum of Art to create a special evening for our VHS members in Roanoke. There, our members enjoyed a lecture on George Washington's Southern Tour given by Warren Bingham followed by a tour of the Taubman's path-breaking exhibition, A Portrait of George Washington, The Man, The Soldier, and The President. Our partnership with the American Civil War Museum to transfer the research collections from the Museum of the Confederacy to the VHS to be catalogued and digitized will create the Civil War Research Center at the VHS which will be the largest private repository of Civil War research materials.In the months to come you will learn about other programs in the planning stage, all supported by strong partnerships with other nonprofits to reinforce our strategic goal of providing statewide programming. We think James Madison was definitely on to something — working with others — to create something larger than can be achieved alone. We shouldn't be surprised. He was, after all, the first honorary member of the VHS."

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Mr. John R. Nelson

Retired

Term: Jan 2016 - Dec 2017

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


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CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


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ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


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BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


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BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?