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4/9/2021

Thoroughgood House to Re-Open for Public Tours May 1

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (Apr. 12, 2021) – The Virginia Beach Cultural Affairs Department and Virginia Beach History Museums are excited to announce that the historic Thoroughgood House will re-open for public tours on May 1!

Admission is free. Tours will run every 30 minutes from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays, initially, with more days and times to be announced starting this summer. To book your reservation, visit museumsvb.org/admission, scroll to the bottom of the page, select the date and time you wish to attend and follow the instructions to reserve your admission. You will receive an email confirmation containing a copy of your responses.

Tickets must be reserved online in advance of each tour, and, to comply with COVID-19 safety protocols, tours will be limited to 10 guests per 30-minute tour session. If you have any questions about reserving tickets online, please call 757-385-5100, or email vbhistory@vbgov.com.

“Our museum staff have missed all of our community members and stakeholders,” said Annmarie Reiley-Kay, Virginia Beach History Museums Director. “We are delighted to bring back guests to the historic Thoroughgood House on May 1, keeping the health and safety of our guests and staff as our highest priority. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to our community members, stakeholders, staff, and volunteers for their support during these especially challenging times.”

In addition to timed ticketing and small tours, the Virginia Beach History Museums have implemented the following COVID-19 safety measures:

  • Face coverings are required for all guests and staff.
  • COVID-19 safety signage is displayed on site.
  • Reception desk has a plexiglass barrier to protect both guests and staff upon check in.
  • Surfaces and high traffic areas will be regularly cleaned and disinfected. Guests are asked to kindly not touch any items in the Thoroughgood House or Thoroughgood House exhibit.

The Thoroughgood House, built circa 1719, is one of the oldest surviving colonial homes in Virginia Beach and is a National Historic Landmark.

At this time, the Francis Land House and Lynnhaven House remain closed for restoration. The Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum is located in the Virginia Beach City Public Schools’ Renaissance Academy and is closed to the public while the school is closed. Visit museumsvb.org and follow Virginia Beach History Museums on social media for the latest updates.

ABOUT THE CITY OF VIRGINIA BEACH CULTURAL AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT:

The Cultural Affairs Department engages residents and visitors through meaningful arts, heritage, and cultural experiences to connect and strengthen communities. The Department assists and directs the Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission, coordinates the City's Public Art Program, oversees Virginia Beach History Museums, provides contract management for the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, serves as the liaison with Virginia MOCA and the ViBe Creative District, and serves as a resource to local arts and humanities organizations.

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News Releases: VBgov.com/News

2/11/2021

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (Feb. 11, 2021) – In celebration of Black History Month, the Virginia Beach History Museums, Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Alumni and Friends Association (PACTS/UKHS) and Norfolk State University (NSU) are hosting “Lift Me On Up: The Power and Influence of the Black Family,” a FREE virtual panel discussion on February 24 from noon-1:30pm.

Incorporating the 2021 Black History Month theme, “The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity,” this 90-minute panel discussion will focus on the history, politics, and social factors affecting African Americans from a family perspective, and opportunities for positive change. Panelists include:

  • Dr. Colita Fairfax, Professor of Social Work and Honors College Senior Faculty Fellow, Norfolk State University
  • Dr. Robert Perkins, Professor of Sociology, Norfolk State University
  • Mrs. Margie Wilson Coefield, Community Leader and graduate of Union Kempsville High School
  • Mrs. Edna Hawkins-Hendrix, Community Leader and graduate of Union Kempsville High School
  • Ms. Barbara Morgan Robinson, Community Leader, graduate of Princess Anne County Training School and former teacher at Union Kempsville High School
  • Mrs. Joyce Davis Williams, Community Leader
  • Dr. Admon Alexander, Community Relations, Virginia Beach City Public Schools

“This crucial conversation will highlight key themes of identity, representation and diversity,” said Emily Labows, Director of the Virginia Beach Cultural Affairs Department. “Through this panel discussion, we look forward to bringing together a diverse array of community leaders, historians and advocates to share and explore these important stories.”

The panel, to be moderated by Dr. Cassandra Newby-Alexander, Dean of the NSU College of Liberal Arts, will cover a broad base of discussion points pertaining to the history and culture of the African American community. Panelists will give historical context, tracing the history of the African American family through the pre- and post-Reconstruction era, segregation, the Civil Rights movement and up until modern times.

“Lift Me on Up: The Power and Influence of the Black Family” seeks to begin an important dialogue about the City of Virginia Beach’s African American communities,” said Dr. Newby-Alexander. “These communities were a bulwark against the most egregious municipal policies that marginalized communities, deprived them of public funds and resources, and limited their political voices. Yet, the power and resilience of the Black family was at the heart of how these communities thrived as centers of businesses and educational excellence.”

Lift Me On Up: The Power and Influence of the Black Family” will stream via Zoom on Wednesday, February 24 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. The panel will be an open discussion format and will allow for public questions or contributions with assistance from the moderator. Visit NSU’s website for more details and to register for the event.

If you have any questions about the panel discussion, please email Hillary Plate, Cultural Programming and Grants Coordinator for the Virginia Beach Cultural Affairs Department, at hplate@vbgov.com.

ABOUT THE CITY OF VIRGINIA BEACH CULTURAL AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT:

The Cultural Affairs Department engages residents and visitors through meaningful arts, heritage, and cultural experiences to connect and strengthen communities. The Department assists and directs the Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission, coordinates the City's Public Art Program, oversees Virginia Beach History Museums, provides contract management for the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, serves as the liaison with Virginia MOCA and the ViBe Creative District, and serves as a resource to local arts and humanities organizations.

ABOUT NORFOLK STATE UNIVERSITY:

Norfolk State University (NSU) is a comprehensive urban public university committed to offering rigorous academic programs, and a supportive culturally diverse learning environment. As one of the most affordable four-year public institutions of higher education in Virginia, NSU provides opportunity and access to a globally competitive education, preparing students to compete in the 21st century workforce. Our nationally, and internationally, recognized faculty utilize a student-centered teaching philosophy that correlates to student success in unique areas of study such as Cybersecurity, CyberPsychology, Entrepreneurship and a nationally acclaimed Theatre/Drama program.

2/2/2021

Dear Museums Friends,

I’m excited to be joining the team as the new History Museums Director! My husband and I just relocated from outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, where I worked as the Executive Director at Historic Latta Plantation. I’ve always had a passion for early American history and historic houses, so joining the Cultural Affairs Department compliments both my passion for preserving history and helping to tell local community stories. I am amazed at the incredible work the Virginia Beach History Museums team has been undertaking to help preserve Virginia Beach’s history, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to get to know you — our donors, volunteers, partners and neighbors.

I appreciate your continued support of the Virginia Beach History Museums and look forward to sharing our stories and news with you.

Here are the latest updates on both of our exciting restoration projects:

Francis Land House Restoration Updates:

• The Contractor and City Personnel worked with the Council of Garden Clubs to develop a plan for the relocation of the boxwoods surrounding the Francis Land House. This work has been completed and the boxwoods are now located near the back of the property near Kings Grant Road.

• The Commonwealth Preservation Group (CPG) performed moisture monitoring in the basement and has provided a report of their findings. Recommendations have been made that require the approval of the State Historic Preservation Office. A letter seeking this approval has been sent to this Office and a response is expected the week of February 1, 2021. Work on other areas within and outside the house can continue.

• The brick flooring has been removed in the basement. Upon removal, the Contractor found an abandoned concrete duct that was used by a heating system. We are currently determining what needs to occur with this duct system.

Lynnhaven House Restoration Updates

• Architectural work has been completed as of January 22. After completion, a walk-through was conducted to determine if any items need to be performed prior to a close-out of the project. Any close-out tasks should be completed by February 28.

• New heating equipment has been installed and is conditioning the house. Digital controls for the heating equipment are being fine-tuned. New ductwork and supply/return air grilles, HVAC wiring, floor joists and electrical and lighting fixtures have been installed.

• City personnel completed a walk-through of the house to identify any outstanding tasks that need to be completed. Most items involve clean up, HVAC controls, air balance of the HVAC system, and some minor ductwork changes. The Contractor is to have these items corrected by February 28, 2021.

Other Museums Updates

• Since our last update, staff has published new episodes of the “Beyond the Passage” podcast, including a highlight of historical holiday traditions and a dive into the world of museum collection maintenance.

• We worked with the City of Virginia Beach Communications Office to complete full virtual tour of the Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum so the community can learn about the museum while the Renaissance Academy is closed to the public. We revealed the video on February 1, in honor of the start of Black History Month.

• Alex Dye, Media and Communications Coordinator for Cultural Affairs, did an introductory interview with Annmarie Reiley-Kay, our new Museum Director. Get to know more about her background here.

• Our staff continues to re-shape educational programming and is in the process of creating new seasonal programming. Stay tuned for more exciting news! For more updates from the Virginia Beach History Museums, please sign up for our monthly e-newsletter at the Virginia Beach History Museums website.

Once again, thank you for your continued support and interest in preserving and enhancing the Virginia Beach History Museums. Please do not hesitate to email me at areiley@vbgov.com if you have any questions, and we will keep you posted on the next steps in the restoration processes.

My Best Wishes,

Annmarie Reiley-Kay

Director, Virginia Beach History Museums

Click for a PDF version of this update

1/29/2021

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (Feb. 1, 2021) – While the Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum remains closed due to COVID-19 precautions, you can now enjoy a complete virtual video tour of the Museum from the comfort of your own home.

The Museum, located within the Virginia Beach City Public Schools’ Renaissance Academy, is a tribute to the first high school for African Americans in Virginia Beach. The virtual tour not only covers the history of this school, but also the history of African American education and achievements, both locally and nationally, across several centuries.

“The Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum is a beacon in the community,” said Margie Wilson Coefield, a 1962 graduate of Union Kempsville High School and retired Virginia Beach City Public Schools English teacher. “This virtual tour of the Museum will be an educational and historical journey for viewers because they will learn about the resilience of our African American ancestors and about us, the alumni of the school. You will be inspired by their legacy.”

Princess Anne County Training School, which began operations in 1938, was the first high school for African Americans in Princess Anne County, which is now the City of Virginia Beach. The school was a result of the African American community in the 1930s working together to raise money to build a school so their children could receive a proper education.

In 1962, the Princess Anne County Training School changed its name to Union Kempsville High School. After over 30 years of operation, Union Kempsville High School graduated its last class in 1969 due to the City-wide integration of schools.

Today the legacy of the school continues with the establishment of the Museum, which shares stories of family, community, sacrifice, and the importance of education. The Museum is operated by the Virginia Beach History Museums, which include the Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum, Francis Land House, Lynnhaven House and Thoroughgood House. For the latest updates on the Virginia Beach History Museums, visit museumsvb.org or Virginia Beach History Museums on Facebook.

To learn more about the ongoing work of the Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Alumni and Friends Association, which works to preserve the legacy of the school and the stories of those who made it possible, please visit their website.

ABOUT THE CITY OF VIRGINIA BEACH CULTURAL AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT:

The Cultural Affairs Department engages residents and visitors through meaningful arts, heritage, and cultural experiences to connect and strengthen communities. The Department assists and directs the Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission, coordinates the City's Public Art Program, oversees Virginia Beach History Museums, provides contract management for the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, serves as the liaison with Virginia MOCA and the ViBe Creative District, and serves as a resource to local arts and humanities organizations.

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News Releases: VBgov.com/News

12/22/2020

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (Dec. 16, 2020) – Following an extensive national search, the Cultural Affairs Department and Virginia Beach History Museums are excited to announce the selection of Annmarie Reiley-Kay as their next History Museums Director, effective January 4, 2021.

Reiley-Kay previously served as Executive Director at the Historic Latta Plantation in Huntersville, NC from 2018 to 2020, and is currently the Director of Museum Studies and an Adjunct Professor at Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, NC, a position she’s held since 2015. Reiley-Kay also has extensive experience managing museum collections, having worked as Collections Manager at Destination Cleveland County and the Earl Scruggs Center in Shelby, NC from 2009 to 2012, and as the Curator of Collections at the Earl Scruggs Center from 2012 to 2015.

“We are tremendously excited to have Annmarie join the Virginia Beach History Museums team,” said

Emily Labows, Director of the Virginia Beach Cultural Affairs Department. “During the interview process, her wide-ranging experience, passion for history and visionary spirit showed us that she will excel in this leadership role and help bring first-class experiences to museum audiences.”

Reiley-Kay received her bachelor’s degree in History from Southern Wesleyan University in Central, SC and her master’s degree in Museum Studies from Leicester University in the United Kingdom. Adding to her impressive resume, Reiley-Kay has also served as a board member of the North Carolina Museums Council and Beaufort History Museum, as well as an advisory board member for the South Carolina Humanities.

“I am thrilled to be joining the Cultural Affairs Department as the History Museums Director with the City of Virginia Beach, and I can’t wait to get to work with our tremendous staff, volunteers and community stakeholders,” said Reiley-Kay. “As a history and museum lover, I am looking forward to sharing community stories, as well as preserving and exhibiting the unique cultural history of Virginia Beach with residents and visitor alike.”

As the Virginia Beach History Museums Director, Reiley-Kay will be responsible for the day to day operations of the Francis Land House, Lynnhaven House, Thoroughgood House and the Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum.

ABOUT THE CITY OF VIRGINIA BEACH CULTURAL AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT:

The Cultural Affairs Department engages residents and visitors through meaningful arts, heritage, and cultural experiences to connect and strengthen communities. The Department assists and directs the Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission, coordinates the City's Public Art Program, oversees Virginia Beach History Museums, provides contract management for the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, serves as the liaison with Virginia MOCA and the ViBe Creative District, and serves as a resource to local arts and humanities organizations.

10/27/2020

Please read our Director's Letter for the latest updates on the status of the Lynnhaven House and Francis Land House Restorations, as well as an update on the latest happening with Virginia Beach History Museums.

9/30/2020

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (Sep. 30, 2020) - The Virginia Beach History Museums (VBHM) are excited to announce ImmortALL: Performance Poetry Project! This new partnership between the Princess Anne Country Training School/Union Kempsville High School Alumni and Friends Association (PACTS/UKHS), Teens with a Purpose (TWP), and VBHM pairs local African American history with the lively art of performance poetry.

Performance poetry and modern social change meet oral history and the civil rights movement in this unique program. Virginia Beach teens from age 13-19 will connect with alumni from PACTS/UKHS, as well as professional poets from TWP. In monthly online, and small in-person sessions from October 2020 through April 2021, teens will engage with PACTS/UKHS alumni from the classes of 1943-1969 , visit and view footage from the VBHM's Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum and attend TWP performance poetry workshops. Teens will re-interpret local oral history through the lens of their own experiences with current events.

All interested teens can register now to participate in this unique retelling of local African American history. Teens and their parents/guardians can DOWNLOAD REGISTRATION FORMS, and learn more about this FREE program at museumsvb.org or TWPTheMovement.org.

Teens in this program will:

Have conversations and create connections with alumni from the first high school for African Americans in Virginia Beach.

Visit, either in-person or virtually, the PACTS/UKHS Museum.

Cultivate writing and spoken word poetry skills and enhance their public performance abilities.

Get to perform in a final public presentation event in Spring 2021.

The program includes:

Two virtual events hosted by PACTS/UKHS alumni in October.

Six workshops (one per month from November 2020 to April 2021).

The potential to perform at one final public performance tentatively planned for April 2021.

PATCS/UKHS alumni will begin the program with My Story, Our Story, a two-part online presentation by the alumni and historians at noon on Oct. 10 and Oct. 17. The conversations during My Story, Our Story will be the foundation from which the teens will eventually create their performance poetry.

Once per month from November through April, teens will have an opportunity to attend TWP's limited, socially distanced performance poetry workshops (locations TBD) or attend online via simultaneous live Zoom sessions. Poetry workshops will help students explore the stories shared by alumni, as well as their own experiences. Teens will work towards a goal of immortalizing the ideals and history of the community that built PACTS/UKHS while sounding the call for further understanding, equity and social change. TWP workshops are supported in part by funding from the Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission.

"We are excited for the students who will have this opportunity with Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum Alumni and Teens With a Purpose," said Virginia Beach Cultural Affairs Director Emily Labows. "This project will connect young people with living history and incorporate those connections into the development of their own creativity, self-expression and self-confidence."

ImmortALL: Performance Poetry Project will tentatively conclude in spring of 2021 with a final public performance. Details and dates for each event in the series are listed below.

ImmortALL: Performance Poetry Project includes the following events:

October 10, 2020 – 12:00pm (online only) My Story, Our Story: A Historical Perspective

Learn about the history of African American education in Princess Anne County, which is now known as Virginia Beach. This 60-90-minute online event incorporates a visual presentation, panel discussion and online Q&A session featuring local historian, author and Union Kempsville High School graduate Ms. Edna Hawkins-Hendrix, as well as independent educational consultant Dr. Joanne Lucas. This event is hosted by Dr. Sharon M. Mims and Ms. Sharae Rogers.

October 17, 2020- 12:00pm (online only) My Story, Our Story: A Roundtable Discussion

Join distinguished alumni from PACTS/UKHS for a lively discussion of their personal experiences as teens in the only African American school in Virginia Beach from 1943-1968, during the Civil Rights Movement and an era of critical social change for our local community as well as our nation. Hosted by Dr. Sharon M. Mims and Ms. Sharae Rogers, the online audience will hear from and engage with PACTS/UKHS alumni.

The following ImmortALL: Performance Poetry Workshops will be offered in a combination of limited in-person (locations TBD) and virtual formats. Each date focuses on a different theme, poetic style/form, writing or performance technique. The virtual workshops will be available online via Zoom for unlimited attendees.

Poetry Workshop Dates:

November 18, 2020- 3:30 p.m.

December 16, 2020- 3:30 p.m.

January 20, 2021- 3:30 p.m.

February 17, 2021- 3:30 p.m.

March 17, 2021- 3:30 p.m.

April 14, 2021-3:30 p.m.

ABOUT TEENS WITH A PURPOSE

Teens With a Purpose was formed in 1996 by Deirdre Love. In 2007, Teens With a Purpose became TWP-The Youth Movement a 501(c) (3) non-profit youth development organization. The organization is celebrating over 21 years of experience in providing peer leadership training and has been recognized both regionally and nationally. Our mission is to create a platform that empowers young people to use their voice, creativity, reflection and action to affect personal growth, transform lives and impact communities.

TWP intersects youth development practices; civic engagement, peer leadership and high-quality artistic presentation creating safe inclusive spaces that challenge young people to find, develop, publicly present and apply their voices as creators of positive social change. TWP is committed to developing young leaders who positively impact their neighbors, classmates, schools, governments, congregations and one another.

ABOUT PRINCESS ANNE COUNTRY TRAINING SCHOOL/UNION KEMSVILLE HIGH SCHOOL MUSEUM

Princess Anne County Training School was the first high school for African Americans in Princess Anne County, now known as Virginia Beach. The school was a result of the African American community in the 1930s working together to raise money to build a school so their children could receive a proper education. The initial money raised was used to purchase four acres of land on Witchduck Road. The school board received the land, and $2000, but it made no attempt to build a school. As a result, in 1934, a temporary school was established on the property of Union Baptist Church. In 1938, a four-classroom high school was finally built and, between 1949 and 1962, several additions were made to the school. In 1962, the Princess Anne County Training School changed its name to Union Kempsville High School. After over 30 years of operation, Union Kempsville High School graduated its last class in 1969 due to the city-wide integration of schools. Today the legacy of the school continues with the establishment of the museum which shares stories of family, community, sacrifice, and the importance of education. The museum is located within Virginia Beach City Public Schools' Renaissance Academy.

ABOUT THE CITY OF VIRGINIA BEACH CULTURAL AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT:

The Cultural Affairs Department engages residents and visitors through meaningful arts, heritage, and cultural experiences to connect and strengthen communities. The Department assists and directs the Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission, coordinates the City's Public Art Program, oversees Virginia Beach History Museums, provides contract management for the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, serves as the liaison with Virginia MOCA and the ViBe Creative District, and serves as a resource to local arts and humanities organizations.

REGISTRATION PACKET

9/17/2020

The restoration of the Lynnhaven House continues to progress! The Department of Historic Resources (DHR) recently approved the removal of a small amount of wood flooring, in order to get the supply air duct from the cellar to the second floor. The removed wood will be turned over to the Virginia Beach Cultural Affairs Department. Ductwork is in the process of being fabricated and should be installed by the end of September. In addition, there was an existing issue wood rotting in some of the structural beams in the cellar. The design to repair said beam issues will take two weeks to complete and should be done by the end of September, as well. Visit the news section of our website for the latest updates!

Program Application Final

7/27/2020

The Virginia Beach History Museums want to hear from YOU! We know you're passionate about our sites, so we want you to help us plan for the future! We're interested in your thoughts on what you'd like to see in our public and educational programming, events and exhibits, so we can provide you with the best History Museums experience possible.

Please provide your feedback online at https://publicinput.com/HistoryMuseums by August 31. We look forward to hearing from you, soon!

6/30/2020

June 30, 2020- Please visit the link below for letter from Virginia Beach Cultural Affairs Department Director Emily Labows, which contains a complete update on the latest status of the Lynnhaven House and Francis Land House restoration projects.

Lynnhaven and Francis Land House Updates

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