August 12, 2020

James Monroe Museum Acquires Previously Unknown Portrait of Fifth President

A previously unknown portrait of James Monroe—Revolutionary War hero, legislator, diplomat, Virginia governor and fifth president of the United States—will be exhibited for the first time on Saturday, April 25 at the James Monroe Museum.

James Monroe Portrait

James Monroe Portrait

The newest addition to the James Monroe Museum’s collection, the portrait will be on display for the celebration of the fifth president’s 257th birthday, which will feature live music and treats from 1 to 3 p.m. The celebration is free and open to the public.

The unsigned oil portrait depicts Monroe in 1820, roughly halfway through his two-term presidency that was called the “Era of Good Feelings.”

The painting was sold at a New Jersey auction in 2013 as a “portrait of a stately gentleman,” not identified as Monroe. In late 2014, it was purchased by Michael Meyer, owner of Meyer Fine Art in Yonkers, New York and brought to the James Monroe Museum for analysis and consideration of purchase. The museum purchased the Monroe portrait in March 2015 for $16,000, using private funds administered by the University of Mary Washington Foundation.  To offset this expenditure the museum is seeking institutional and individual donors, all of whom will be recognized as sponsors of the purchase.

The James Monroe Museum is a National Historic Landmark owned by the Commonwealth of Virginia and administered by the University of Mary Washington. Founded in 1927, it is the nation’s largest repository of artifacts and documents related to the fifth president of the United States.

For more information about the museum’s hours of operation and directions, call 540-654-1043 or visit www.jamesmonroemuseum.org.

James Monroe Museum Affiliates Attend Workshop

JMM Staff & Former Bowleys 12.5.14University of Mary Washington students and alumni with connections to the James Monroe Museum had an impromptu reunion at a recent Virginia Association of Museums workshop on event planning held at Gari Melchers Home and Studio.

Theresa Cramer and Gabrielle Lindemann are the current Bowley Scholars at the James Monroe Museum. They were joined at the workshop by former Bowley Scholars Bill Backus, Historical Interpreter, Prince William County Historic Preservation Division; Christine Clements, Curatorial Assistant, Fauquier History Museum at the Old Jail; and Candice Roland, Library Clerk, Virginia Historical Society. Former Monroe Museum student aide Sarah Palenik, who is now Membership and Office Manager for the Gari Melchers Home and Studio, also took part in the workshop.

The Lt. Gen. Albert J. Bowley Scholarship funds academic-year and summer internships at the museum, giving students hands-on experience in artifact collections management, education, and public programs. Student aides work as paid museum guides.

James Monroe Museum Director Scott Harris, who attended the workshop along with Membership and Special Events Coordinator Adele Uphaus-Conner, was very pleased by the participation of students and alumni who worked at the museum.

“The James Monroe Museum is proud to support UMW’s educational mission through internships and student employment,” said Harris. “The University’s majors in historic preservation and history, and the interdisciplinary museum studies minor, provide excellent academic training. When a superior course of study is augmented by practical experience, graduates are better prepared to enter the workforce.”

The James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library is a National Historic Landmark owned by the Commonwealth of Virginia and administered by the University of Mary Washington. Founded in 1927, it is the nation’s largest repository of artifacts and documents related to the fifth President of the United States. For hours of operation, directions, and other information, call (540) 654-1043, or visit www.jamesmonroemuseum.org.

Harris Featured on WMST Radio Program

Scott Harris, director of the James Monroe Museum, was interviewed by Dan Manley, host of “Mornings on Main,” a show on WMST Radio in Mount Sterling, Kentucky. Harris discussed the James Monroe Museum, the University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg and bluegrass music.

UMW to Host Ghost Walk, Oct. 24-25

The University of Mary Washington Historic Preservation Club will host the 30th annual Ghost Walk on Friday, Oct. 24 and Saturday, Oct. 25. The haunted tours of downtown Fredericksburg will leave every 15 minutes from the James Monroe Museum at 908 Charles St. The tours run from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday IMG_0018and from 5 to 10 p.m. on Saturday. The hour long tours stop at about a dozen sites throughout historic Fredericksburg, including the Masonic Cemetery, Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop and Kenmore Plantation. Members of the Historic Preservation Club and other UMW students act out stories based on the book “The Ghosts of Fredericksburg and Other Environs” by L.B. Taylor Jr. Reservations are highly recommended for groups over 8 and can be made in advance by email at umwghostwalk@gmail.com, or tickets can be purchased the night of the tour at Market Square. The cost is $6 for adults; $4 for UMW students, UMW staff, and military; $3 for children ages 6-12; free for children age 5 and under. For more information or to register, call the Historic Preservation Club at (540) 654-1315.

James Monroe Museum to Host Forum on Virginia Governors

The James Monroe Museum and Library will host a public forum on Wednesday, Oct. 22 that focuses on the development of the role of Governor in Virginia since 1799. “From Monroe to McAuliffe: The Evolution of the Office of Governor of Virginia” will trace the history of the Virginia governorship and analyze the development of the office from the time James Monroe held the title to today.

Gerald_L_BalilesThe forum features a panel of experts, including  The Honorable Gerald Baliles, 65th  governor of Virginia; Stephen J. Farnsworth, UMW professor of political science and international affairs and director of the UMW Center for Leadership and Media Studies; Daniel Preston, editor of the Papers of James Monroe; and Scott Harris, director of the James Monroe Museum.

The event will be held at the University of Mary Washington in Lee Hall, Room 411 at 7 p.m. The forum is free and open to the public. Contact the James Monroe Museum and Library at (540) 654-1043 for more information.

Welsh Festival Brings Culture and Fun to Fredericksburg

The 25th Annual Fredericksburg Welsh Festival at the James Monroe Museum drew a crowd of nearly 2,000 people on Saturday, Sept. 20. The event features traditional music, dancing, arts, crafts, storytelling, language lessons and children’s activities.

“The day was a great success, a testament to the hard work of the Welsh Society of Fredericksburg and the James Monroe Museum’s staff and volunteers,” said Scott H. Harris, director of the James Monroe Museum. “All in all, it was a great event, part of a nexus of fun and culture between UMW and Historic Fredericksburg!”

Harris and Kearney Co-Author Article for White House History Journal

Photo by Bruce White for the White House Historical Association.

Photo by Bruce White for the White House Historical Association.

James Monroe Museum Director Scott Harris and Curator Jarod Kearney are the authors of “Articles of the Best Kind:” James Monroe Furnishes the Rebuilt White House, in the current issue of White House History, the journal of the White House Historical Association. Featuring illustrations of artifacts in the museum’s collection that were used in the White House, the article describes Monroe’s efforts to obtain suitable furnishings for the President’s home as part of the building’s restoration after the War of 1812. The style standard set by Monroe greatly influenced later renovations of the White House undertaken in the administrations of Theodore Roosevelt, John Kennedy, and Bill Clinton. Copies of the White House History magazine are available for sale in the James Monroe Museum Store.

Harris Serves as Seminar Fellow

James Monroe Museum Director Scott Harris was among 42 museum professionals from across the United States and three other countries participating in the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries Leadership Seminar held at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, June 23-27.  Dynamic, engaging, highly interactive by design and interspersed with team and individual problem-solving exercises in leadership and management, this intensive five-day certificate program allows participants to learn from one another and be guided and inspired by nationally-recognized scholars drawn principally from Kellogg’s renowned faculty.  As a Seminar Fellow, Harris will benefit from an expanded knowledge base and a valuable professional network to help guide development of the James Monroe Museum.  The Association of Academic Museums and Galleries is the leading educational and professional organization for academic museums, galleries, and collections.

James Monroe Museum to Join National Sing-Along, June 14

On Saturday, June 14, the James Monroe Museum will join the largest group sing-along of the national anthem in history, as part of the National Museum of American History’s “Raise It Up! Anthem for America” celebration.

The James Monroe Museum will hold a "Raise it Up!" party on Flag Day. Photo from iStock.

The James Monroe Museum will hold a “Raise it Up!” party on Flag Day.
Photo from iStock.

“Raise It Up!” parties will be held across the country at 4 p.m. that day to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the American flag. The James Monroe Museum is currently the only gathering place in the Fredericksburg area for the event.

At the museum, participants will perform the Star Spangled Banner on kazoos. Participants will gather at 3:45 p.m. to receive their free kazoos, and the sing-along will begin at 4 p.m. An ice cream social will follow the sing-along.

Reservations are recommended at auphaus@umw.edu or (540) 654-1123. For more information about the celebration or to find a full list of sing-along locations, visit http://anthemforamerica.smithsonian.com/.

The James Monroe Museum is a National Historic Landmark owned by the Commonwealth of Virginia and administered by the University of Mary Washington. Founded in 1927, it is the nation’s largest repository of artifacts and documents related to the fifth President of the United States. For hours of operation, directions, and other information, call (540) 654-1043, or visit www.jamesmonroemuseum.org.

James Monroe at War Video

Learn about James Monroe’s involvement in the American Revolution in this video created by Scott Harris, director of the James Monroe Museum: