October 24, 2021

Harris Interviewed on Town Talk

University of Mary Washington Museums Executive Director Scott Harris

University of Mary Washington Museums Executive Director Scott Harris

University of Mary Washington Museums Executive Director Scott Harris discussed upcoming programs at the Gari Melchers Home and Studio at Belmont and the James Monroe Museum downtown on Town Talk with Ted Schubel. Listen here.

University of Mary Washington Museums to Reopen March 15

Fredericksburg, VA: Two museums administered by the University of Mary Washington—Gari Melchers Home and Studio and the James Monroe Museum—will reopen to the public on Monday, March 15 after a three-month shutdown related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both museums will be open to general visitors only, with no public programs or facility rentals through the end of June, 2021. They will operate with physical and policy adaptations to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 as required under #ForwardUMW and Forward Virginia Phase 3. Measures include increased cleaning, provision of hand sanitizer stations for visitors, limitations in group size, and adjusted traffic flows. Visitors will be required to wear masks inside museum buildings and practice social distancing. Specific COVID-related details are noted on the museums’ websites.

“All of our staff members are eager to welcome visitors back to our museums,” observed Scott Harris, Executive Director of UMW Museums. “We significantly increased our online educational content during the pandemic, and will continue to provide these resources, but nothing equals the thrill and impact of visiting in person.”

Harris Discusses UMW Museums on “Town Talk”

University of Mary Washington Museums Executive Director Scott Harris

University of Mary Washington Museums Executive Director Scott Harris

UMW Museums Executive Director Scott Harris appeared on “Town Talk with Ted Schubel” to discuss the challenges that museums are facing during COVID-19 and the virtual events planned in the coming months for Gari Melchers Home and Studio and the James Monroe Museum. Listen here.

University of Mary Washington Museums Temporarily Closing

Gari Melchers Home and Studio and the James Monroe Museum will close to the public beginning Monday, November 23, 2020, and remain closed until Monday, January 4, 2021. This corresponds to the time period during which most University of Mary Washington facilities will be closed or operating with limited public access.

The Stafford County Tourist Information Center, administered by Gari Melchers Home and Studio, will also be closed to the public during this period. For information on Stafford County attractions, please visit https://www.tourstaffordva.com/.

The temporary closing is a precautionary measure taken in response to actual and potential increases in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Virginia and nationally, especially during the forthcoming holidays. Prior to January 4, University Museums leadership, in conjunction with the UMW administration, will decide whether remaining closed beyond January 4 is warranted. Such decisions will be closely aligned with the general public health situation, including any applicable local, state, or federal directives.

University of Mary Washington Museums offer a wide array of online educational resources, which may be accessed at the following sites:

Gari Melchers Home and Studio “Learn” page: https://www.garimelchers.org/education/learn/.

James Monroe Museum “Hands-On History” page: https://jamesmonroemuseum.umw.edu/about-james-monroe/hands-on-history/.

Papers of James Monroe “COVID-19 Resources” page: https://academics.umw.edu/jamesmonroepapers/covid-19-resources/.

The University of Mary Washington Museums, comprising Gari Melchers Home and Studio, the James Monroe Museum, and the Papers of James Monroe, support and enhance the educational mission of the University. In accordance with their respective missions, the component sites and programs of UMW Museums collect, preserve, and interpret artistic, cultural, and historic resources; promote scholarship and the diffusion of knowledge; provide experiential learning opportunities for UMW students; and support economic development through heritage tourism.

University of Mary Washington Museums to Reopen September 14

Two museums administered by the University of Mary Washington will reopen to the public on Monday, September 14, 2020 after a six-month shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gari Melchers Home and Studio at 224 Washington Street in Falmouth is a National Historic Landmark that interprets the legacy of American impressionist painter Gari Melchers (1860-1932) and the 18th-century Belmont estate he and his wife, Corinne Lawton Melchers (1880-1955), purchased in 1916. Melchers was a widely-respected and prolific artist whose work included portraits of prominent figures in business and politics, as well as landscapes and figure paintings. The property was bequeathed to the Commonwealth of Virginia by Corinne Melchers and opened to the public in 1975. It features a furnished house, Melchers’ spacious studio, and galleries showcasing the world’s largest collection of his works. The 27-acre site includes a pavilion for programs and rental events, ornamental landscaping, and woodland walking trails. The museum store and visitor center building serves as the Stafford County Tourist Information Center. For more information, including policies related to COVID-19, visit www.garimelchers.org.

The James Monroe Museum at 908 Charles Street in Fredericksburg is a National Historic Landmark that interprets the life and legacy of James Monroe (1758-1831), a soldier, statesman, diplomat, and fifth president of the United States. Monroe’s fifty-year career included negotiation of the Louisiana Purchase Treaty, influential involvement in securing the Missouri Compromise, and the 1823 foreign policy statement that bears his name, the Monroe Doctrine. The museum, located on the site of Monroe’s law office, exhibits furniture, household items, paintings, and other decorative arts objects, many with a history of White House use. For more information, including policies related to COVID-19, visit www.jamesmonroemuseum.org.

Both museums will be open to general visitors only, with no public programs or facility rentals through the end of 2020. They will operate with physical and policy adaptations to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 as required under Forward Virginia Phase 3 and #ForwardUMW. Measures include increased cleaning, provision of hand sanitizer stations for visitors, limitations in group size, and adjusted traffic flows. Visitors will be required to wear masks inside museum buildings and practice social distancing. Specific COVID-related details are noted on the museums’ websites.

“All of our staff members are eager to welcome visitors back to our museums,” observed Scott Harris, Executive Director of UMW Museums. “We significantly increased our online educational content during the shutdown, and will continue to provide these resources, but nothing equals the thrill and impact of visiting in person.”

UMW Museums Receive Grant and Debut 3D Virtual Tours

Gari Melchers Home and Studio 3-D and virtual tour imageIn May, the University of Mary Washington Museums received a $5,480 Community Relief Fund grant from the Community Foundation of the Rappahannock River Region to increase online educational content. 

Both the James Monroe Museum (JMM) and Gari Melchers Home & Studio (GMHS) are pleased to announce the launch of their interactive and immersive 3D Virtual Tours. These 3D models, or “digital twins,” provide a real world, walk-through experience from the comfort of home. Explore the museums using either the Dollhouse or Floor-by-Floor layout experience. Event rental clients will benefit from the Measurement Mode option that allows users to take and share property measurements with a simple click. 

The tours are further enhanced by videos, high-resolution photography, and artifact information, plus links to blog posts, lesson plans, and online museum stores.  

Gari Melchers Home and Studio’s 3D Virtual Studio, Galleries, Pavilion, Historic House Museum, and Museum Store Tours 

James Monroe Museum’s 3D Virtual Tour 

Questions? Contact JMM’s Assistant Director/Curator Jarod Kearney at jkearney@umw.edu or GMHS’s Education and Communications Manager Michelle Crow-Dolby at mdolby@umw.edu. 

Harris Discusses Impact of Pandemic on UMW Museums

University of Mary Washington Museums Executive Director Scott Harris

University of Mary Washington Museums Executive Director Scott Harris

University of Mary Washington Museums Director Scott Harris was interviewed for an article in The Free Lance-Star on the pandemic’s impact on area museums.

 

Scott Harris, director of the University of Mary Washington Museums—which oversees the James Monroe Museum and the Gari Melchers Home and Studio at Belmont, as well as the Papers of James Monroe—said the loss of admissions and event revenue since March has been “a very large financial hit” for the two museum sites.

“[The financial loss] is only partially offset by savings from not paying hourly wage employees, such as front desk and interpretive staff, and some other savings of on-site costs, such as catering at events, regular trash service, etc … ,” Harris said.

He said membership renewals at both the James Monroe Museum and the Gari Melchers Home and Studio have been “fairly steady” and some members have increased their giving levels.

“It remains to be seen what General Assembly actions will do to our state appropriations,” Harris said. Both UMW museums belong to the state of Virginia and receive funding from the assembly.

Both sites have a “benchmark” reopening date of Sept. 14, when UMW students begin their fall semester, he said. Read more.

Harris Speaks to ‘Town Talk’ about UMW Museums

University of Mary Washington Museums Executive Director Scott Harris

University of Mary Washington Museums Executive Director Scott Harris

University of Mary Washington Museums Executive Director Scott Harris recently spoke to Ted Schubel of ‘Town Talk’ on WFVA 1230 about the impact of the pandemic on the James Monroe Museum and Gari Melchers Home and Studio. Closed since March and unlikely to open until August, both museums are offering new and innovative online programming. Listen here.

Local Children Curate Exhibition at James Monroe Museum

“Curating Ideas,” a new project through the James Monroe Museum, gives Fredericksburg youngsters the opportunity to curate museum exhibitions. During the six-week program, students from Old Town Academy shadowed curator Jarod Kearney to learn how museum exhibitions are curated. Students then chose an object in the museum to research and design their own exhibition around. In an article in The Free Lance-Star, Scott Harris, executive director of University of Mary Washington Museums, said the students’ exhibits showed their understanding of “the importance of objects for telling stories.” Read more. 

Harris Speaks About James Monroe at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage

UMW Museums Executive Director Scott Harris spoke about James Monroe at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage on October 1. In addition to surveying Monroe’s public service career, Harris paid particular attention to the president’s visit to Nashville during his 1819 tour of the southern states, which included a stay at The Hermitage. The Museum’s traveling exhibit on the tour, “Your Obedient Servant,” spent most of the last month there and was much enjoyed by visitors.