Academic journal article The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

Private Organization, Public Service

Academic journal article The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

Private Organization, Public Service

Article excerpt

Come to the Virginia Historical Society during the week, and what do you see? Our galleries are filled with school groups. At any given time during the day, the parking lot behind our headquarters building contains several buses with the names of schools from across the commonwealth painted on the sides. Now that the weather is warmer, the back green plays host to fourth graders eating their lunches after feasting their eyes on The Story of Virginia, our flagship exhibition.

Why all of this activity? In part, the answer is a growing awareness of what the VHS has to offer. Our Story of Virginia is an ongoing exhibition covering the state's history in its entirety that teachers may rely on year after year.

Another important reason is the state-mandated program of Standards of Learning, or SOLs, which require all public school students in Virginia to pass a series of tests in various subjects, including history. Because of this, we now design many of our exhibits with the SOLs in mind. Our education department keeps in touch with teachers about their SOL needs. This January alone, our staff conducted thirteen workshops for 350 teachers to help them prepare for the exams. We constantly fine tune special guided tours of The Story of Virginia to reinforce what students need to know to pass the SOLs. …

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