Academic journal article The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

A Banner Idea

Academic journal article The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

A Banner Idea

Article excerpt

It's hard to believe we've been holding our noontime Banner Lectures for nearly two decades. Some of you may remember when the series began in downtown Richmond at Thalhimers department store. We thought if we could attract fifty people, six times a year, we would be doing well. From the beginning, however, we had audiences of nearly two hundred, and now it's a rare day when we draw fewer. The popularity of the series only increased when we moved it to the Halsey Family Lecture Hall in our then-new wing in 1993.

For some years now, we've scheduled more than double the original number of lectures. And yet the audiences keep growing. Fortunately we now have the new Robins Family Forum, but even its 500-seat capacity is sometimes strained by the turnout. Last November, we were fortunate to have Josiah "Si" Bunting III speak on his biography of Ulysses S. Grant. We filled the Forum and overflow seating in two other rooms. I don't know exactly how many people attended, but it had to be more than 800.

Unfortunately, many people have to miss some of our best lectures. I'm pleased to report that we are addressing the problem. …

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