Volume II | February 14 2021
Chaucer and the Love Birds
According to Dr. Lisa Bitel, Professor of History & Religion, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences:
“On Feb. 14, sweethearts of all ages will exchange cards, flowers, candy, and more lavish gifts in the name of St. Valentine. But could it be that at the root of our modern holiday is a beautiful fiction? St. Valentine was no lover or patron of love.
Valentine’s Day, in fact, originated as a liturgical feast to celebrate the decapitation of a third-century Christian martyr, or perhaps two. So, how did we get from beheading to betrothing on Valentine’s Day?
Ancient sources reveal that there were several St. Valentines who died on Feb. 14. Two of them were executed during the reign of Roman Emperor Claudius Gothicus in 269-270 A.D., at a time when persecution of Christians was common.
How do we know this? Because, an order of Belgian monks spent three centuries collecting evidence for the lives of saints from manuscript archives around the known world.

The love connection probably appeared more than a thousand years after the martyrs’ death, when Geoffrey Chaucer, author of “The Canterbury Tales” decreed the February feast of St. Valentinus to the mating of birds. He wrote in his “Parlement of Foules”:
“For this was on seynt Volantynys day. Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.”
It seems that, in Chaucer’s day, English birds paired off to produce eggs in February. Soon, nature-minded European nobility began sending love notes during bird-mating season. For example, the French Duke of Orléans, who spent some years as a prisoner in the Tower of London, wrote to his wife in February 1415 that he was “already sick of love” (by which he meant lovesick.) And he called her his “very gentle Valentine.”
English audiences embraced the idea of February mating. Shakespeare’s lovestruck Ophelia spoke of herself as Hamlet’s Valentine.
In the following centuries, Englishmen and women began using Feb. 14 as an excuse to pen verses to their love objects. Industrialization made it easier with mass-produced illustrated cards adorned with smarmy poetry. Then along came Cadbury, Hershey’s, and other chocolate manufacturers marketing sweets for one’s sweetheart on Valentine’s Day.

February is a very short but powerful month as it is Black History Month and Valentine’s Day is on Feb. 14. That makes for a great combination of Black Love Day that is celebrated on Feb. 13.
Black Love Day was founded in 1993 by Ayo Handy Kendi and is observed as a 24-hour display of Black love, demonstrated through love towards the Creator, for self, for the family.
Celebrate Black History Month 2021
Explore the museum’s Civil Rights Exhibition and Camilla Williams Exhibition and take part in virtual experiences that celebrate African American artists, the stories they tell, and the depth and breadth of the museum’s collection.
When you visit the museum this month, visit the permanent collection galleries to see these compelling stories of Slavery during the Civil War; the Danville 1883 Race riot that took away African American citizens right to vote; the DMFAH as a whites only public library from 1924-1971 and Camilla Williams – the first African American woman to receive a full opera contract from a New York City Opera Company during segregation.
The DMFAH is adapting to ongoing safety concerns related to COVID-19, most Black History programs have been reimagined as virtual experiences. Studio classes will be held online as well as onsite with reduced capacity. Visit the DMFAH for the complete schedule.
Mask wearing and physical distancing are required. To learn about the safety protocols in place visit our COVID-19 page. We only have self-guided tours available at this time.
The Danville Museum is pleased to announce that SOVAH Health will be joining VTC, Parks and Rec, the Danville-Pittsylvania Chamber, The River District, Danville and Pittsylvania County Libraries as well as Dan River Basin Association in support of the WANDERLOVE: A Stitch in Time community outreach Art Project. The DMFAH thanks them for their sponsorship and involvement.

WANDERLOVE: A Stitch in Time and its community spokes are working together we to make our Danville, as well as Pittsylvania and Caswell County communities healthier and stronger.
If you would like to know more about the large collaborative community art project and participating from home, you are invited to register and help assemble knitted yarn coverings for rails, picnic benches, and trees, using materials you have on hand – T-shirt fabric, thread, and recycled sweaters! We will be assembling knitted units (the size of short scarves 18” x 12”) from January through May. The assembled yarn will be installed into a large fiber exhibition along the Danville City Riverwalk in July. For more information please visit the WANDERLOVE webpage: https://www.danvillemuseum.org/community-outreach-2020-2021 or send us an email at info@danvillemuseum.org or phone the museum at 434.793.5644

If you would like to be a GROUP LEADER of a knitting/crocheting/yarn group for "A STITCH IN TIME," please CLICK HERE for a Google Form to fill out.
If you are an INDIVIDUAL who would like to be a part of this Yarn Bombing event and interested in joining a group for "A STITCH IN TIME", please CLICK HERE for a Google Form to fill out.
On Thursday the Swanson Printing Studio will be open for Monoprinting
Sign up early to reserve your spot for a mono-printing workshop on Thursday, February 18 from 6:30-9pm. Because of COVID19 CDC regulations and because the museum wants to keep everybody safe, we ask that everybody who joins us wear a mask and allow us to take temperatures. We will be working distanced, and each person will have their own supplies.
String mono-printing is a great project - simple, quick and fun - but with impressive results. The string can be manipulated to create complex and varied designs. We will be looking at string, and focusing on the art element of line and depth during this week's demonstration. Donations of $10 -$20 are welcome and will help the museum keep up operating and maintenance costs.
Service Spotlight: Averett Education Students visit the DMFAH
This past week Averett Education students visited the Danville Museum of Fine Arts and history exploring different collections content for possible inclusion in public school K- 1 curriculum planning. Morgan Jones and Jordan Bennett from Dr. Riddell’s class was particularly interested in the Civil Rights exhibition and the installation of Woolworths lunch-counter seats, that were unavailable to African Americans during segregation.
Bringing the Art to You
Looking for something to see or do during this cold Valentine week? Plan a visit the 536 Craghead Gallery to see Shadows of Place by David Douglas. Come in after a visit to Mucho’s for lunch or dinner. The Craghead gallery gives you a New York City Gallery experience right here in Danville and it is a quiet contemplative space that puts you right next to the beautifully layered constructed photographs. Each work has the ability to draw the viewer in, and make him stop to breathe and for a moment find calmness while tapping into a deep sense of longing. You have to stand in front of these works of art to fully feel their tremendous emotional power. Take the time to be suspended… for a brief moment that will last as a memory.
A Closer look at the Schoolfield Textile Collection
The interns and fellows at the Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History have been hard at work in the collections building. While updating all of the museum’s collections to the PastPerfect software, they have learned a great deal and continue to work towards the goal of AAM accreditation.

The Schoolfield collection, which contains the entirety of the former Schoolfield Museum and Cultural Center has been under the Danville Museum’s care since the Schoolfield Museum closed its doors in 2019. The collection contains histories of Dan River Mills, textile production, and the Schoolfield District, along with work by local artist, founder of the Abingdon Square Painters, and daughter and granddaughter of two of the mill’s presidents: Harriet Fitzgerald.

Welcome Anijiah Ferrell
Anijiah Ferrell has joined the DMFAH as a high school senior from Galileo Magnet School and volunteering 40 hours of service. Anijiah is part of the Gradate Distinction program with a 3.5 GPA. She will be distinguished with a different tassel on her cap when she graduates.

Her favorite subjects are mathematics and English, and we hope to put her writing skills to good use. She will be wearing several different hats while a volunteer, and gets to work with the visitor service team, as well as the gallery team, while showcasing to visitors our new Museum Introduction Video.
The DMFAH needs Volunteers and Interns! Please join us as we prepare for multiple new Campaigns: WANDERLOVE - CROSSROADS - CRAGHEAD GALLERY and much more!
Are You Ready To Support EMPTY BOWLS
Empty Bowls is a grassroots effort to fight hunger
DMFAH Potter Jonathan Scollo from theSwanson Studio will again be contributing hundreds of bowls to God’s Storehouse's Empty Bowl Program. Empty Bowls is an international grassroots effort to fight hunger. This event at God's Storehouse will be two days, February 26 and 27 from 11:00AM-3:30PM both days. Participate through Eventbrite
You have the opportunity to select the time slot that fits your schedule best! Empty Bowls 2021 is sponsored by First National Bank and Danville Register and Bee and in-kind donations of bowls by artisans such as Jonathan Scollo.
Artisans at the Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History and George Washington High School art teachers have created handcrafted ceramic bowls for the event which will be held at God’s Storehouse on Memorial Drive.

Guests can purchase tickets for $20/person ($25/person after February 21) at God’s Storehouse, Karen’s Hallmark in Danville Mall, and online at Eventbrite. Each ticket will have a specific time allotted to pick up your bowl and participate in a chance auction. No soup will be served. Vouchers from area restaurants will be available for ticket holders.