Virginia History, Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Article excerpt

The Virginia Historical Society's web site, www.vahistorical.org, serves as a virtual doorway to the institution, one that is open to the public twentyfour hours a day, seven days a week. The web site provides news and information about VHS events, resources for students and teachers, and collections information for researchers, while also enlightening and entertaining Virginia history buffs from around the world.

It also allows visitors to browse current exhibitions, exhibits that are on tour, and others that are coming soon. While online, visitors may view many objects featured in The Story of Virginia, the Society's award-winning exhibition that chronicles 16,000 years of Virginia history. Other online activities include short virtual previews of current exhibitions like Lost Virginia: Vanished Architecture of the Old Dominion (closing May 20, 2001) and Virginia Treasures of the National Portrait Gallery (on display through January 2003). For those who like to plan ahead, the web site provides information about forthcoming exhibits, such as Reading the Word: The Church and African American Education (opening June 7, 2001); Treasures Revealed from the Paul Mellon Library of Americana (opening September 20, 2001); and Beyond Lewis and Clark: Army Exploration of the West (opening July 2003). Visitors may also virtually step inside Virginia House, the Richmond mansion built from the remains of a twelfth-century English priory.

Education and outreach are central to the Society's mission. On the web site, teachers and students can search the library collections and access bibliographies, lesson plans, and links to other important education sites on the world wide web. Information about outreach programs and school tours is available to teachers, and a calendar announces school groups visiting the VHS and the locations of the Society's current outreach programs. …