October 1, 2022

Two UMW-Affiliated Museums Welcome Military This Summer

This summer, Gari Melchers Home and Studio at Belmont and the James Monroe Memorial Museum and Library will offer free admission to all active duty military personnel and their families as part of a nationwide initiative. Blue Star Museums, which runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day, is a collaborative effort between the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families and the Department of Defense. Since its start in 2010, the initiative has grown to include more than 2,000 museums and historic sites across the country. “Like others of his generation, James Monroe not only served his country, he helped create it,” said Scott Harris, director of the James Monroe Museum. “He fought with courage and distinction in the Revolutionary War and suffered a near-fatal wound at the Battle of Trenton. For the rest of his life he had nothing but praise and respect for veterans. It is therefore especially appropriate for the museum that bears his name to be one of the Blue Star Museums.” The free admission program is available to any bearer of a Geneva Convention common access card (CAC), a DD Form 1173 ID card, or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card, which includes active duty U.S. military – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, as well as members of the National Guard and Reserve, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps – and up to five family members. Leadership support has been provided by MetLife Foundation through Blue Star Families. “Gari Melchers Home and Studio is delighted to participate in the Blue Star Museum program to honor and thank those who serve us so well both here and abroad,” said David Berreth, director of Gari Melchers Home and Studio at Belmont. “We hope that our quiet corner of the world will offer respite and inspiration to service members and their families throughout the summer.” For a complete list of participating museums, visit www.arts.gov/bluestarmuseums. Blue Star Families is a national, nonprofit network of military families from all ranks and services, dedicated to supporting, connecting and empowering military families. The organization hosts numerous morale and empowerment programs, including Books on Bases, Blue Star Museums, Operation Honor Corp, Blue Star Careers and Operation Appreciation. Blue Star Families also works directly with the Department of Defense and senior members of local, state and federal government to bring the most important military family issues to light. For more information, visit http://www.bluestarfam.org. The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies and the philanthropic sector. For more information, visit www.arts.gov. Gari Melchers Home and Studio is a 28-acre estate and former residence of the artist Gari Melchers and his wife Corinne. The property, which is operated by the University of Mary Washington, is both a Virginia Historic Landmark and a National Historic Landmark. Located at 224 Washington St. in Falmouth, Va., a quarter mile west of the intersection of U.S. 1 and U.S. 17, it is open daily with an admission charge. The museum also serves as the official Stafford County Visitor Center.  For directions and other information, call (540) 654-1015 or visit the museum website at www.GariMelchers.org. 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.

James Monroe Museum Receives Donation for Symposium

The James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library received a $3,000 donation from the Paul Mesick Jones Trust, Walter Jervis Sheffield, Trustee, for “James Monroe: Life and Legacy,” a symposium to be held at the University of Mary Washington on October 18 and 19, 2013.  A joint effort of the museum and the Papers of James Monroe, the symposium will examine the historic legacy of the fifth president of the United States as it is presented at historic sites as well as in scholarly research.

The James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library, located in downtown Fredericksburg, will host a symposium at UMW in October. Photo courtesy of Lee Brauer.

Monroe’s public career ranged from distinguished service in the American Revolution to two presidential terms. In between, he served in virtually all branches of local, state and national government, including diplomatic postings to France, Great Britain and Spain, and four terms as Governor of Virginia.

Additional support for “James Monroe: Life and Legacy” comes from the Friends of the James Monroe Museum and the Stewart Jones Charitable Trust.  For more information about the two-day symposium, visit http://academics.umw.edu/jamesmonroepapers/events/.

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.

Bringing History to Life

Students learn firsthand about the life of James Monroe through an innovative history class.

James Monroe Museum Endorses Healthy Living

The James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library joined First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move! Museums and Gardens” initiative to fight against child obesity. The museum will offer drop-in yoga classes in its garden on Saturday mornings in May and June.

The James Monroe Museum will hold yoga classes in its garden as part of the “Let’s Move!” Initiative. Photo courtesy of Lee Brauer.

The James Monroe Museum is the first Fredericksburg-area museum to join the initiative. Classes will be held from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. on May 11, 18 and 25 and on June 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29 for $12 per class.

More than 614 institutions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia have joined the initiative, and an estimated 17,500 museums in the U.S. have collectively hosted 850 million visits each year. First Lady Obama launched the initiative in 2011 to stress the importance of healthy eating habits and regular physical activity.

For more information, please visit www.jamesmonroemuseum.org or http://www.imls.gov/about/letsmove.aspx.

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.

C-SPAN Show Features James Monroe Museum

An episode of C-SPAN’s new series “First Ladies: Influence and Image” features the James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library. The episode, which aired on C-SPAN on Monday, March 18 at 9 p.m., focuses on First Lady Elizabeth Monroe. The episode includes interviews with Scott Harris, director of the James Monroe Museum, and Daniel Preston, editor of the Papers of James Monroe, as well as footage of the museum. The two-year series examines the private lives of the First Ladies as well as the public roles they played in the White House. The series is produced in cooperation with the White House Historical Association and is the first comprehensive biography series on all of the First Ladies produced for television. 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.

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News release prepared by: Brynn Boyer

James Monroe Museum Hosts Holiday Events

The James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library hosted two public holiday events on Saturday, Dec. 1, including a decorating demonstration at the University of Mary Washington and an open house featuring festive musical performances at the museum.

“Deck the Halls 2012,” the 32nd annual holiday decorating demonstration by noted local floral designer Jan Williams, was held from 9:30 a.m. to noon in George Washington Hall’s Dodd Auditorium.

Williams, who helped decorate the White House for Christmas for many years, is the owner of Jan Williams Florals in Fredericksburg. She demonstrated how to craft unique holiday decorations from native evergreens and plants.

The museum, located at 908 Charles St. in downtown Fredericksburg, hosted its annual holiday open house from 4 to 6 p.m. The jazz ensemble from the Quantico Marine Corps Band presented a free concert of seasonal music in the museum’s courtyard. Guests also experienced music played on Eliza Monroe’s Astor pianoforte as well as the harp music of Mary Triola.

The open house showcased a special exhibit, “A Monroe Christmas,” showing typical holiday celebrations during President James Monroe’s era. A James Monroe interpreter will be on-hand to greet guests.

For more information on the events or to purchase tickets for “Deck the Halls 2012,” call (540) 654-1043.

The James Monroe Museum is a National Historic Landmark 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, visit www.jamesmonroemuseum.org.

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News release prepared by: Charlotte Rodina  

Daniel Preston Publishes Chapter in Book

Daniel Preston, editor of the Papers of James Monroe, had an essay entitled “James Monroe, 1758-1783: Student and Soldier of the American Revolution” published as a chapter in “A Companion to James Madison and James Monroe,” edited by Stuart Leibiger by Wiley-Blackwell in their “The American Presidents” series.

Piece of James Monroe History Heads to Richmond

Art handlers from Ely, Inc. and staff members from the Executive Mansion and the Library of Virginia installed the portrait in February

Virginia’s Executive Mansion in Richmond has a new addition – an almost 200-year-old painting on loan from the James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library. A portrait of James Monroe will reside in the State Dining Room of the Executive Mansion for two years to commemorate the bicentennial of the building’s construction in 2013. On Thursday, June 21, Gov. Bob McDonnell and First Lady Maureen McDonnell will formally unveil the Rembrandt Peale portrait in a private reception.

Members of the James Monroe Museum staff, including Director Scott Harris and Curator Jarod Kearney, were on-hand to help install the portrait in February.

“The process of transporting and installing the painting was carried out flawlessly by personnel from our art handlers, Ely, Inc., and staff at the Executive Mansion,” Harris said. “Peale’s portrait of Monroe is at a near life-size scale, and with its frame is quite heavy. Once it was in place, First Lady Maureen McDonnell texted the Governor, who was at the State Capitol, telling him ‘James is here!’”

(from left to right): Bowley Scholar Emilie Kracen; Tom Camden, Director of Special Collections, Library of Virginia; Maureen McDonnell, First Lady of Virginia; JMMML Director Scott Harris; JMMML Curator Jarod Kearney (Courtesy Kathy Scott, Virginia Executive Mansion)

The portrait, painted by Rembrandt Peale from 1817 to 1825, is thought to be based on an earlier bust-length portrait of Monroe painted by Peale from life. The James Monroe Museum has housed the portrait since 1985.

“What makes exhibiting James Monroe’s portrait in the Virginia Executive Mansion so special is that, while he signed the legislation to build the home during his last term as governor, he never got to live in it,” Harris said. “It is therefore fitting that he has returned to take up residence in the house he helped build during its bicentennial commemoration.”

UMW Students Create Online Gallery for James Monroe Museum

"Our Deepest Sympathy Mr. President," 1941, courtesy of http://jmpolitoons.umwhistory.org/items/show/100

A group of UMW students in a spring 2012 digital history course created an online gallery of political cartoons for the James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library. Students Andrew Becken, Rachel Icard, Rachel Luehrs and Heather Thompson archived the museum’s collection of 114 political cartoons dating from the 1890s to 1960s.

The students worked with James Monroe Museum staff, the Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies and faculty members in the Department of History and American Studies, including Claudine Ferrell, Porter Blakemore and Jeff McClurken. James Monroe Museum Director Scott Harris originally brought the project idea to Professor McClurken and the students worked extensively with James Monroe Museum Curator Jarod Kearney throughout the project.

The archive is available online at http://jmpolitoons.umwhistory.org/.

The digital history course also included projects on James Farmer lectures, UMW buildings and Southeast Virginia historical markers.

Cassandra Good Publishes Research in Journal

Cassandra Good, assistant editor for the Papers of James Monroe, wrote an article that appears in the April 2012 issue of the international journal Gender & History. The article, “Friendly Relations: Situating Friendships Between Men and Women in the Early American Republic, 1780–1830,” features research from her doctoral dissertation in history.