May 2022
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A Message from VAM's President

This past April my brother and I travelled to Tanzania with the goal of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. My brother is a career Foreign Service Officer with the State Department and he has spent most of the past twenty years living and working in countries around the world. Quite to the contrary, my only “overseas” trip has been to the Cayman Islands and I have spent most of the past twenty years living on the East Coast.

Prior to this trip, I had also never been on an airplane for more than four hours and while I spend a lot of time exercising and enjoying the outdoors, I had never contemplated or attempted to climb a mountain. To that point and by way of context, Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest freestanding mountain in the world, rising to an elevation of over 19,000 feet above sea level. So, suffice it to say, this trip embodied multiple experiences well outside my personal comfort zone and represented an entirely new set of potential and very real circumstances for me to think about, plan for, encounter, and try to overcome.  

After training and preparing for three months, I left for Tanzania on April 13th and we began our trek up the mountain on April 15. We traversed the Lemosho Route, taking us through six distinct ecological zones, a pathway that also allowed time for ample acclimation to the dramatic changes in altitude. Our guides and porters were exceptional and they kept us informed, on course, safe, and motivated to reach the summit.  

En-route to Tanzania my luggage, with most of my gear was lost (later found and delivered to me halfway up the mountain). While on the trek itself, which we undertook during the rainy season, it rained a lot, it snowed, and the terrain was grueling. The trek was, in fact, the most difficult and demanding physical experience of my life and there were many, many challenges along the way.

There was also great beauty, inspiring vistas, and powerful moments of personal reflection and spiritual awakening. Perhaps most importantly, there was also an incredible network of support, beginning with my brother, but including the amazing team of guides and porters that led the way. Motivated by all this support, and encouraged by the singing of traditional Tanzanian folks songs and Kenny Rogers (apparently our porters were all HUGE Kenny Rogers fans), we reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro at 5:35am on April 20th. The sunrise from the summit, framed by monumental glaciers all around us, was phenomenal and something I will never, ever forget.

The Virginia Association of Museums is pursuing its own trek and journey. This trek, just as was true with my own trip to Tanzania, may require many of us to think and step outside our comfort zones. This journey may be demanding and difficult at times, and some luggage may be lost along the way. Nevertheless, I am confident that we have all put in the time and done the training to ensure our success. I am also certain that this journey will reveal sights of great beauty and awaken ideas of transformative power. We will also follow a path allowing us all to acclimate to new experiences and possibilities. Most importantly, I am supremely confident that with your continuing support, and perhaps motivated by a little bit of Kenny Rogers, we will reach our own summit and collectively bear witness to the dawning of a new and beautiful day for VAM, Virginia’s museums, and all those we serve. 

Thank you and I look forward to the journey.

Scott Stroh
VAM Governing Council President
Cheers for Charity!
A big thank you to our partners at Starr Hill Brewery for promoting VAM in March. With their support and your thirst for Love Beer, VAM raised nearly $3,500 to support our mission to help Virginia's museum community succeed. Follow Starr Hill to support nonprofits across the state. Thanks for Sharing the Love with us!
Upcoming Events

Stay tuned for upcoming events, meetings, and networking opportunities.
Virginia Museum News
Montpelier Votes to Share Governance with Descendants

From the National Council on Public History (NCPH) Newsletter: The Montpelier Foundation voted to welcome eleven new members from a candidate list offered by the Montpelier Descendants Committee (MDC). This move towards shared governance with the MDC comes after months of struggle between the Foundation and the MDC, and we’re glad to see this decision to keep true to the organization’s promise of structural parity for the descendant community. Read more.
Encyclopedia Virginia Receives $350K NEH Grant

Encyclopedia Virginia, a free, reliable, multimedia resource on the history and culture of Virginia, received a $350,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for a three-year project to tell the inclusive story of the American Revolution in Virginia. Read more.
Virginia Holocaust Museum Unveils New Children's Memorial

The Virginia Holocaust Museum unveiled their new Children’s Memorial, a permanent display museum leaders say is the first of its kind in the United States. Executive Director Samuel Ash says, “When you see this exhibit, it tears at your heart, and you understand that children are gone.” Read more here.
The Valentine Receives National Grant to Upgrade Archive Storage Facilities

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced a grant awarding $408,761 to The Valentine for new collection storage materials. The grant will go toward the Valentine Moment Campaign, a years-long effort to modernize the museum’s storage facilities and strengthen the presentation of Richmond history by analyzing all 1.6 million objects in its collection. Read more.
Historic Carriage Returns to Friendship Firehouse Museum

Once featured in Virginia's Top 10 Endangered Artifacts program, the newly-restored historic hose-reel carriage is finally coming home to the Friendship Firehouse Museum. The Friendship Fire Company purchased the ornate carriage in 1858, and firefighters considered it as state-of-the-art technology for its ability to produce a steady stream of water. To learn more about the carriage's return, click here.
Prince William County Purchases Williams Dawe House, Oldest Building in Brentsville

Prince William County Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism's Office of Historic Preservation recently purchased the Williams-Dawe House, the oldest structure in Brentsville, Virginia. Built in 1822, the House was once owned by Jane Williams, widow of John Williams, who had served as the county clerk from 1795 until his death in 1813. Read more.
"Hidden Figures" Historical Markers in Downtown Hampton

Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, and Dorothy Vaughan were among the first Black female mathematicians at Hampton’s NASA Langley Research Center. Recently, these innovators received permanent recognition with state historical markers at NASA Langley’s Visitor Center on Settlers Landing Road. Read more.
Virginia Zoo's Tiger Brothers Leaving

Malayan tigers Stubbley and Osceola are leaving the Virginia Zoo. The two six-year-old males received a recommendation from the Species Survival Plan® to move to other Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredited facilities. This program aims to maximize the genetic diversity of the species, creating a healthy and sustainable population for the future. Read more.
Library of Virginia Receives $315K to get Digital

The Library of Virginia received a $315,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Over the next three years, it will digitize 250,000 separation notices of WWII-era Virginia service members and make them accessible through community outreach, transcription. and online searchability. Read more.
Hails & Farewells
Congratulations to VAM Leadership and Advocacy Fellow, Whitney Zahar. Whitney is the new Engagement and Operations Coordinator at the Menokin Foundation. Whitney was previously at The Valentine.

Cheers to Joseph Rizzo, the new Executive Director at the Wilton House Museum. Joseph was previously at the Loudoun Museum.

Congrats to Gunston Hall's new Horticulturist, Kristen Davey. Kristen will assist with the transformation of George Mason's Riverside Garden.

Congratulations to A.J. Orlikoff, the new Director of Public Engagement at Congressional Cemetery. A.J. was previously at the National Museum of the United States Army.

Cheers to Ashley Basetti McCuistion for joining Colonial Williamsburg as its new Archaeologist. Ashley was previously at the Fairfield Foundation. She was this year's recipient of the Daniel H. Weiskotten Memorial Scholarship at the VAM Conference in Richmond.

Congrats to Lauren Greene for joining the team at The Curtis Group. Lauren is the group's new Client Manager. She was previously at the Muscarelle Museum of Art.

Congratulations to Dr. Gaila Sims for joining the Fredericksburg Area Museum. Dr. Sims is the new Curator of African American History and Special Projects.

Congrats to the Virginia Zoo for welcoming a new lion. Ansel is 5-years-old, considered fully grown, and weighs in at 450 pounds. Ansel can now be seen by visitors.

Cheers to Colonial Williamsburg for welcoming a new generation of baby animals to its rare breeds program. The program helps bring back breeds that were once popular in the 18th-century. Visitors will see a fleet of new lambs, foals, calves, and other farm animals.
Twix, a two-headed juvenile red-eared slider turtle, recently passed away from natural causes at the Virginia Living Museum. It is extremely rare for two-headed turtles to survive. Twix lived over two years under the care of the VLM.
In Memoriam
The Virginia Association of Museums mourns the loss of our colleague, Thomas G. Ledford. Tom was the Museum Director for the Lynchburg Museum System from 1976 to 2004. With a master’s degree from the University of Arizona, Ledford supervised the original restoration of the Old Court House and Point of Honor. He opened both sites as public history museums in Lynchburg.

Tom served on the Governing Council of the Virginia Association of Museums. He was Council President from 1986 to 1988.  

Tom Ledford received the Southeastern Museums Conference (SEMC) James Short Award in February 2013 for his distinguished service and assistance to others over his long professional career. 

VAM sends sincere condolences to Tom's family and friends.
Professional Development
Preservation and Access Education and Training

The Preservation and Access Education and Training program supports the development of knowledge and skills among professionals responsible for preserving and establishing access to humanities collections. NEH makes Preservation and Access Education and Training awards to organizations that offer national, regional, or statewide education and training programs across the pedagogical landscape. For more information click here.
VAM Virtual Learning Opportunities

If 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic taught us anything, it is that museums can move quickly to sharing their knowledge through virtual programs and services. VAM, too, turned to online learning for our members and the museum community, and will continue to include virtual training as a part of our educational programs.
Museum Learning Hub Webinars

Check out upcoming free webinars from our friends at the Museum Learning Hub. Join its webinars in to get inspired.
VAM Members Group

Have you joined our Facebook Group Page for members only? Members are sharing articles, asking operational questions, advertising upcoming events, and sharing COVID protocols at their museums. Come join us and add to the conversation!

Don't Forget to Pay Your Dues!

Don't forget to pay your VAM membership dues. To see if you have an open invoice, login to your VAM account. If we can be of any assistance, contact VAM's Membership and Development Manager, Rebecca Guest. Thank you!
Member Deals

VAM offers several different opportunities for its members to take advantage of special pricing or services because of your membership with VAM. We are always looking for more ways to offer added benefit to our members, so if there is a service you don't see here that you would like us to explore, let us know.

To see all discounts offered, click here.
For questions, contact us at
Funding Opportunities
Children's Opportunity Fund

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) and County government teamed up with the Greater Washington Community Foundation to create the Children’s Opportunity Fund. The program is happening within the context of the Greater Washington Community Foundation’s new 10-year strategic plan grounded in the values of Racial Equity and Inclusion and a vision to close the racial wealth gap in the region’s most underinvested neighborhoods. Applicant organizations may request a grant that will be used within a 12-month period between $10,000 to $100,000 for general operating support or program/project support. Applications are due Monday, May 23, 2022 at 4:00 PM ET. Get the full details here.

GiveLocalNRV 2022 is Fast Approaching

Registration for the 9th Annual GiveLocalNRV Giving Day on June 22nd, is now open. GiveLocalNRV is one of the biggest giving days in Virginia's New River Valley region. It is sponsored by the Community Foundation of the New River Valley. Get the full details here.
Reframing History

The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) recently launched the Reframing History Toolkit to give historians and museums around the country a new means for discussing difficult history in the current environment. Amid ongoing national controversy, it is more important than ever for the history community to be able to clearly explain what history is, how we come to understand the past, and why it matters to society. Learn more.

Prepare for the Semiquincentennial

AASLH has published Making History at 250: The Field Guide for the Semiquincentennial. Featuring big-picture ideas and guiding historical themes, this free publication can help museums, historical societies, and history institutions of all types, sizes, and in all regions of the country think about why they should connect to the 250th anniversary commemoration and how they can do it. The guide is free, and can be downloaded here.
AAM Center for the Future of Museums

AAM has created a new "AAM Strategic Foresight Toolkit" that provides a comprehensive introduction to strategic foresight—a vital skill set that enables individuals and organizations to anticipate change, craft effective plans, and shape the future they want to see. Enhanced with worksheets, slide presentations, and games, the AAM Strategic Foresight Toolkit can help in building your own foresight skills. The toolkit can help organizations train staff in the basic tools of futurism and integrate foresight into planning and operations. Learn more here.
Career Center
Search VAM's Career Center for information on the only certificate in museum management offered by a museum association, plus resume review help, job listings, and more.

Search the Job Board for these current listings and more:

  • Administrative Specialist
  • Birthday Party Host
  • Chief Financial Officer & Director of Human Resources
  • Collections Manager
  • Director of Development
  • Environmental Graphic Designer
  • Events Coordinator
  • Office Coordinator
  • Program Manager
  • Youth Programs Associate
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