November | 2020
What's the 2501?
I hope you’ve been following everything that’s happening at The Branch. We’re posting periodic updates on all the restoration that is underway. And, although our webinars are providing fascinating virtual insight into the Branch House Restoration (up close views you could not get, even with a personal tour). I hope you are tuning into Dialogues in Architecture. Great architecture doesn’t occur in a vacuum, it’s a dialogue among many participants, and these webinars take you inside that dialogue. The webinars are interesting and offer a question period for you to interact with our panels. I hope you will join us, either by viewing a recording of a recent webinar or by joining in the dialogue with The Branch!

We miss having you inside The Branch, and we’re actively planning for the day when we can throw open our doors again and welcome you back!
Penelope C. Fletcher
Executive Director
Meet Heather!
Our New Branch Events Manager

A native of Louisiana, Heather Ernst joins us by way of Florida via California. “Having lived in the deep South as well as the West Coast I was eager to explore this region. Virginia’s landscape was very appealing to me when I was considering where to make my next move. I have been in Richmond for two years now and I love it. I’ve also managed to convince half of my family to move here in the past year so I feel like a real advocate for living in Richmond.”

Heather has been involved in most aspects of the event industry and has over 15 years of
experience planning and executing events. “Representing the Branch is such an honor. My priority is making sure that the building and grounds as well as our neighbors are treated with respect. I believe that by providing our clients and partners in the event industry with clear expectations and a well organized approach, our events can be fun and a great experience for everyone.”

As the Branch opened back up to hosting events according to safety regulations for Covid-19, Heather and the Branch staff prepared clients to make some unexpected changes to their event plans. The biggest change was the task of cutting their guest list by sometimes more than half of what they originally expected. “Our clients understand the safety concerns. The events have been more intimate yet still meaningful and beautiful.” Along with reducing the guest count, social distance policies are followed, masks are required, hand sanitizing stations have been added to every room and clear directions for event flow are coordinated between the Branch and each event planner.

Along with the rest of the country, the Branch is considering what the future of social gatherings will look like. “We have a real opportunity to grow in a new direction with events and I’m excited to take the Branch in that direction. Obviously, the estate is a beautiful backdrop for weddings but the Adam Boardroom and Georgian Parlor are ideal for corporate meetings. I envision smaller, more intimate dinners and get togethers in our future. The Branch family celebrated many holidays here and they created a quintessential venue for us to utilize.”

We still have openings on our calendar for your 2020 holiday events. Please contact Heather at for more information.
Holiday House Tours are Back!
Join us at The Branch Museum of Architecture and Design for an architectural tour of the historic home, The Branch House. Learn how the Branch family celebrated the holidays and discover the distinctive architectural features that make this Tudor-Revival home, designed by renowned architect John Russell Pope, an important historic and cultural landmark.
Gingerbread Design Competition

Announcing the first ever Branch Museum Gingerbread Design Competition! In lieu of our usual annual gingerbread night, we will be hosting a competition instead! Enter as a group or individual - get your coworkers involved, your family, or your friends. Get in the holiday spirit and get creative. Want to get involved? Read our rules and register by November 20, 2020!
This webinar series will offer an in-depth look at the restoration of The Branch House on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia. The Branch House, designed by John Russell Pope, is of national significance architecturally. Join us as we explore the history of the Branch House and the Branch family. Enjoy the opportunity to have a front row seat that allows you to see areas of the House that are not open to the public. Get a close-up look at the restoration that is underway on the roof, wood trim, decorative plaster, chimneys and pipes. Learn from some of Virginia’s best artisans, craftsmen, architects, architectural historians and Branch family members as you go on a five-part journey of exploration through the restoration of one of Richmond’s outstanding architectural treasures. 
November 11 | 6:30 PM
The Branch House decorative plaster is some of the most beautiful plasterwork in Virginia. Unfortunately, the century since the House was built and water intrusion have caused significant damage. You will see up-close views of the beautiful plaster figures and decorations, including the toll that time has taken on the plaster, and you will discover the history of plasterwork in the early 20th century, particularly in Richmond, as well as learn from a dedicated craftsman how this work is being saved at the Branch. The challenges of restoration are best shown in the work to save our decorative plaster.
  • Walter Dotts, Trustee, Old House Authority and great-grandson of John Kerr Branch and Beulah Gould Branch
  • Rebekah Jamerson, Master Plasterer, All Things Plaster
  • Gibson Worsham, Galvé & Holmes Architecture, Architectural Historian
Registration is "pay-what-you-can"
December 2 | 6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
The roof and windows are defining features of the Branch House. The diamond patterned windows enhance the medieval character of the building, the exterior woodwork relied on skilled craftsman to make adjustments on-site like medieval carpenters, and the roof system is a series of pitches with slate and flat surfaces now with modern coatings. But these features are more than beautiful; they have to keep water out and their wear is showing. Our panel of experts will discuss the challenges of repairing building elements that pose the greatest risk to water infiltration that can either be highly visible or obscured.
  • Sam Daniel, Daniel & Co.
  • Walter M. Dotts III, Trustee - Old House Authority, and great-grandson of John Kerr Branch and Beulah Gould Branch
  • Scott Taylor, ES Taylor Studio
  • Maurice Franck, Saunders Roofing 
  • Brad Jones Jr., Buckingham Slate

  • Fred Esenwein, Ph.D., Glavé & Holmes Architecture
Registration is "pay-what-you-can"
Upcoming Webinars in the Series:
  • The Branch House Brickwork & Mortars | Wednesday, January 13
  • The Restoration Dialogue - Solving the Unknowns of Preservation and Restoration - The Branch House Pipes | Wednesday, February 3
Architecture and design must begin in dialogue. The consideration of multiple issues and the inclusion of all voices is necessary to ensure that the built environment truly serves and uplifts the entire community. This need for input and involvement is especially important at a time when, whether through shifts in social norms or more sudden upheaval due to climate or disease, the built environment must change to be at once resilient and sensitive.

Hosted by The Branch Museum of Architecture and Design, this webinar series examines several topics that underscore the importance of this dialogue. Panels for each webinar include individuals from a variety of fields to engage with these challenging topics from the perspective of their discipline and experience. There will be opportunities for attendees to comment and ask questions.
November 19 | 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM
The outbreak of COVID-19 quickly revealed how the design of hospitals, schools, offices, public spaces, and even entire cities were flawed in prevented the spread of the virus. How can architects, interior designers, and urban planners apply the lessons learned during the pandemic in rethinking the built environment? In this webinar, panelists will explore the potential implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on building design and urban planning.
  • Laura Hild, Principal and Regional Director of Health Interiors, HKS Architects
  • Alykhan Mohamed, Associate, Sasaki (Boston)
  • Maritza Pechin, AICP, Strategic Planner, AECOM
  • Stephanie Burr, Education Manager, The Branch Museum of Architecture and Design
Registration is "pay-what-you-can"
Upcoming Webinars in the Series:
  • Adaptive Reuse in the Old Dominion (and Beyond) | Thursday, January 28
  • Ecological Resiliency and Design Inspiration — The 2019 Aga Khan Award | Thursday, February 18
  • Climate Change, Inequality, and Sustainability in Richmond | Thursday, March 11
Architecture in Dialogue Series Sponsor
Architecture in Dialogue Series Sponsor
Architecture in Dialogue, The Branch House, and Dialogue with Artists Series Sponsor
The Branch House Series Sponsor
Architecture in Dialogue Series Partner
Architecture in Dialogue Series Sponsor
Save the Date!

Mark your calendars for December 17th! This year, we will be having a Virtual Holiday Fundraiser! Stay tuned for more information about this event.
The Branch Museum thanks you for all your support during this time. We are able to continue creating experiences like this because of people like you!
The Branch Museum
of Architecture and Design
2501 Monument Avenue
Richmond, VA 23220
(804) 655-6055