Academic journal article The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

FROM THE PRESIDENT: Topping Out

Academic journal article The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

FROM THE PRESIDENT: Topping Out

Article excerpt

On March 16 we passed a milestone in the construction of our new wing, with the topping-out ceremony. This event takes place when the highest part of a new building is put in place. According to a tradition going back centuries, the builders pkce an evergreen tree or branch on that highest point to celebrate their progress. We went that tradition one better: the giant crane used to erect the steel girders hoisted both a living evergreen tree and a United States flag to the highest I-beam. The chairman of the VHS board, Hugh V. White Jr., reminded the crowd of members, trustees, and staff that we had announced the $55 million campaign that includes the wing on the evening before September 11, 2001. As I have remarked several times before, it is in troubled times that historical societies can offer opportunities for reflection and perspective. Given the uncertain times in 2001, we wondered whether it was prudent to go forward with construction. …

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