Museum Musings - The Ballot Box

February is a busy month for local, regional and national days of celebration. To name a few: Ground Hog Day, National Wear Red Day, Lincoln's Birthday, Valentine's Day, Susan B. Anthony's Birthday, Presidents' Day and Mari Gras dates. Since 1976, every U.S. president has designated February as Black History Month. A time to recognize the roles and achievements of Black Americans in U.S. history. In the autumn/winter of 2014 into January of 2015, with the help of Ms. Maggie Lovitt and her mom, Ms. Karen Lovitt, I was able to design and erect a Black History exhibit room, focusing when possible on the history of Black Americans in Orange County, Virginia. The exhibit room has three prima

Museum Musings - Trash or Treasure?

Before you give away books, boxes and such, make sure you carefully go through each item just in case there is a sentimental memento or a real treasure. Several years ago, rather than send boxes of old files marked for the shredder, I decided to go through the boxes first; just in case. Out of the ten boxes, there was one treasure uncovered! This letter is from James Barbour who was serving as Secretary of War, appointed by John Quincy Adams, from March 8, 1825 until May 26, 1828; when he became the Minister to England until September 23, 1829. The letter is addressed (bottom) to Thomas Swann, Esq., Prest. U.S. Branch Bank & Agent for paying Penions, Washington, District of Columbia. Its c

Museum Musings - "THE" Chair

Upon their first visit, nearly every visitor is surprised at the size of this museum and then stunned at the treasures they discover. One of the artifacts that inspires visitors is Mr. Madison's Campeche armchair, considered to be "The finest Campeche in Virginia"[1] by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was in this chair that Madison preferred to relax, read and visit with guests. Family lore is that the chair was sent to Madison as a gift from his good friend, Thomas Jefferson. Alas, there is, to date, no documentary proof. The chair is noteworthy for the "ornate leather seat embossed with a stylized Spanish Habsburg double-headed eagle, string-inlaid crest rail, carved arms and finia

Museum Musings - Inaugurations

Our Constitution requires an elected president to take the following oath: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."[1] With the election of George Washington as our first President of the United States, just how did we go about the first inauguration? With no telegraph, e-mail, text or Twitter, someone had to inform George Washington that he had been (unanimously) elected President. Charles Thomson, Esquire (below) was chosen for the task. If you've seen the Trumbull painting of the signing of the Declaration of Indep

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