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by Jamie O. Bosket and William M. S. Rasmussen

The Story of Virginia tells a fascinating story, sharing more than four hundred evocative objects from the Virginia Museum of History & Culture. We believe that the founding ideals most cherished by Americans were often inspired and contested in Virginia, and therefore, the story of Virginia is central to the American experience. The Commonwealth is not merely a chapter of U.S. history; it is at the epicenter of its most pivotal moments.

 

This book moves chronologically, complementing the story of Virginia told in the namesake exhibition at VMHC, while simultaneously highlighting rare objects that aren’t often on physical display. The Story of Virginia weaves a narrative of the state through images of significant artifacts--rare letters, fine paintings, furniture, silver, maps, prints, guns, uniforms, and period photographs. Everyday and unexpected objects are arranged chronologically with brief explanations to provide their contexts.

 

Virginia’s history is complex; complex in nearly every way a people’s story can be. Throughout history, our leaders have offered original ideas that would have a lasting positive global impact. We have also engaged in dynamic and tragic fights, and we have—at times—allowed, and even fostered great inhumanity. The Story of Virginia aims to capture this spirit of complexity and contradiction within its pages. The bell of St. John's Church where the patriot Patrick Henry proclaimed “give me liberty or give me death” is shown alongside wrist shackles worn by people held in bondage. Decorative buttons that the Native American woman Pocahontas wore when presented to the English royals are shown alongside the ones proudly worn by strong Virginia women campaigning for voting rights. A guide to farming annotated in George Washington's own hand is shown alongside beer taps representing one of today's burgeoning agricultural industries.

This beautifully illustrated narrative of Virginia is an excellent resource for anyone interested in American history.

Hardcover, ISBN 970-1-911282-27-3, Virginia Museum of History & Culture, 2018.

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