A new African-American museum, appealing parks and distinctive dining spots are among the lures of this riverside city. Read More Published in New York Times on September 29, 2016
In the arts and culture scene, a growing number of organizations and idea-starters must compete for finite resources — audience share, grant money and philanthropic attention. Private fundraising is especially rough on arts groups during election season, when there’s less money to be had.
But one of Richmond’s greatest cultural advantages is that the barriers to entry are limited only by determination and creative strength. Read More Published in Style Weekly on August 23, 2016
After moving to a new location in early May, the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia has more room to educate visitors on the history and experiences of African-Americans in Virginia.
Museum director Tasha Chambers said the two-storied Leigh Street Armory building at 122 W. Leigh St. in Jackson Ward allows for roughly 6,000 square feet of additional space to showcase exhibits, compared with the museum’s previous location. Read More Published in The Boomer Magazine on June 7, 2016
If you stand in Jackson Ward’s Abner Clay Park and look past the playing field toward West Leigh Street, you’ll see a red brick fortress that rises in the distance. Squint, and the silhouette conjures strikingly similar vistas of the parade ground and barracks at Virginia Military Institute or Virginia Tech’s drill field and Burruss Hall.
The architecturally medieval-inspired red brick structure at 212 W. Leigh St. was built in 1895 to serve the 1st Battalion Virginia Volunteers Armory. It was something rare in the United States: an armory built for, and by, blacks. And although there once were four armories in Richmond, this building is one of only two still standing — the other being the long-abandoned Blues Armory on East Marshall Street. Read More Published in Style Weekly on May 10, 2016
The New Black History Museum: Framing History through Technology
Situated on the corner of W. Leigh and St. Peter streets in Jackson Ward sits a massive brick building. This building stands apart from the homes on W. Leigh Street and boasts of history, though to the average passersby, it may be mistaken for an abandoned school of sorts—perhaps an old private school for the elite. But, for Richmond natives and those invested in this city’s rich history, they know it’s neither a school nor a dilapidated building. It’s the Leigh Street Armory, an integral part of Richmond’s deep African American history. Built in 1895, the Leigh Street Armory was home to the First Battalion Virginia Volunteers Armory. It’s one of the most monumental buildings remaining in Jackson Ward, and is both remembered and respected as a major hub for African Americans during World War II. Read More
Published in the Urban Views Weekly on May 10, 2016
Black History Museum and Cultural Center: high tech and history
When historian Elvatrice Belsches looks at photos of civil rights pioneers in the new Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia, she thinks of her father.
On April 23, 1951, the day Barbara Johns led a walkout of black students in Farmville over conditions at the black high school, Belsches’ father was teaching algebra and homeroom there. Read More
Published in the Richmond Times Dispatch on April 30, 2016
Organization will host preview events May 5-7 to invite community into new historic space
April 6, 2016 (Richmond, Va.) – The Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia will officially open its doors to the public at its new location at the Leigh Street Armory, located at 122 W. Leigh St., on Tuesday, May 10. Before that, the museum will host public preview events May 5-7.
The museum features more than 12,000 square feet across two floors that illustrate the African American experience in Virginia and beyond. First floor permanent exhibitions include 46-inch interactive touchscreens, along with artifacts and panels detailing Emancipation, Reconstruction and the Civil Rights eras. Each of the first floor galleries contain “Children’s Zones,” interactive exhibitions housed in the turrets of the building specifically designed for youth visiting the museum. Read Complete Press Release
Jazz nights and poetry readings as well as interactive and traditional exhibits are among the plans that Tasha Chambers has for the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia when it moves into its new home early next year.
“This new museum has so much history to celebrate,” said Ms. Chambers, who was introduced as the museum’s new director last week. Read More
Published in the Richmond Free Press on October 9, 2015