Southern Agenda

For the Commonwealth Good

The Virginia Museum of History & Culture could be hard to love. Since its 1831 founding, it has gone through multiple moves and renovations, creating a rabbit warren of galleries, research wings, and storage areas. “It was a Frankenstein of a building,” says president and CEO Jamie O. Bosket. But thanks to a recent $30 million makeover, the Richmond museum, which predates the Smithsonian, has seen record crowds in its streamlined space. It has a new immersive theater and updated displays featuring a fraction of the museum’s more than nine million artifacts, including a duck decoy made by famed Chincoteague carver Miles Hancock (1887–1974) and a piece of limestone from the Pentagon damaged in the 9/11 attack. In 2024, the museum welcomes exhibits on Rosenwald Schools, which Black communities built across the South a century ago, and the Vietnam War, featuring oral histories from soldiers, immigrants, and protesters. As Bosket puts it, “History is personal.”