Tag Archives: History

Smashing Glass Tour!

BY: ALICE FRENCH

On June 13th, Mrs. Smith’s 11th Grade Advanced Placement History  class from Richmond County High School visited Menokin as guinea pigs to test out a new tour style being developed here: a Smashing Glass Tour!

The students participated in a dynamic tour which integrated the use of smart phone technology, social media, and physical activity.  They learned about Francis Lightfoot Lee and the history of Menokin, architecture and building trades.

For an activity, we practiced some of the things we discussed about architecture by first working in teams to build structures with blocks.  And then…oh yes, body building- making architectural forms out of humans.

Of course, after all the fun, we still had time to take a selfie with Frank.

17_selfie with Lee


The Menokin Visitor’s Center has new Hours of Operation, which now include scheduled times for guided tours.

VISITOR’S CENTER

OPEN 
Wed | Thurs | Fri:  10 am – 4 pm
Sat: May – September: 12 pm – 4 pm

CLOSED
Sun | Mon | Tues

PAID TOUR HOURS
Wed: 11 am and 2 pm
Thurs: 2 pm and 6 pm
Fri: 11 am and 2 pm

(Paid tours available by appointment; some restrictions apply.)

 

Email Alice to schedule a special Smashing Glass Tour.

Menokin Speaker Series: 2016 Lineup

AUGUST 25

Historic Reconstructions
2:00 – 4:00 | $10 | Speaker: Calder Loth
Menokin Visitors Center | 4037 Menokin Road | Warsaw, VA

This premiere lecture centers on reconstructions, i.e. lost works of architecture that have been completely rebuilt such as the Governor’s Palace in Williamsburg. The structures are not limited to the United States but include examples in Germany, Russia, Italy, England, China, etc.  Menokin’s Glass Project  will be featured as a special case.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER:

Calder Loth - Retired Architectural Historian with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and Honorary Trustee of the Menokin Foundation.
Calder Loth – Retired Architectural Historian with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and Honorary Trustee of the Menokin Foundation.

In a career spanning four decades, Calder Loth, as senior architectural historian at the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, shaped the direction of historic preservation programs from survey and National Register listings to rehabilitation tax credits, review and compliance, and preservation easements. Calder is a long-standing member of the Virginia Art and Architecture Review Board. His expertise has shaped the preservation and renovation of many buildings including the Virginia State Capital and the historic executive mansion. He continues to give back to the preservation community as a staunch advocate and widely published author for “architectural literacy” giving lectures to museums, universities, and professional societies worldwide.  In 2008, Calder received the first annual “Secretary of the Interior Historic Preservation Award” given by Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne.  He has been an Honorary Trustee of the Menokin Foundation since its inception in 1994.

Purchase tickets online.

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PREVIOUS LECTURES IN THE 2016 SERIES

JULY 28, 2016

Menokin Geology: The Anomoly of Iron-infused Sandstone
2:00 – 4:00 | $10 | Speaker: Dr. Christopher “Chuck” Bailey
Menokin Visitors Center | 4037 Menokin Road | Warsaw, VA

Geological map of Virginia
Geological map of Virginia
Students in Dr. Bailey's geology class posing in front of Menokin
Students in Dr. Bailey’s geology class posing in front of Menokin

In eastern Virginia stone houses are rare. Important colonial buildings in the Tidewater region are primarily constructed of brick. This makes sense, as the Atlantic Coastal Plain is rich with sand and clay, the main ingredients in bricks, and rocks are rare on the Coastal Plain. Professor and Chair of the Geology Department at the College of William and Mary, Chuck Bailey, will discuss the unique geological phenomena that allowed for sandstone to be present on the property, an uncommon material in Tidewater Virginia. This natural occurrence allowed for the Menokin House to be built from iron infused sandstone.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER:

Dr. Christopher “Chuck” Bailey
Education
  • Ph.D. & M.A., Johns Hopkins University
  • B.S., College of William & Mary
Research Interests

Structural Geology, Tectonics, & Landscape History

I’m a structural geologist whose research focuses on the geometry and tectonic history of deformed rocks as well as the physical and chemical processes that control rock deformation.  I am particularly interested in ductile fault zones (high-strain zones) and work to understand both the deformation path experienced by mylonitic rocks as well as elucidate the tectonic history recorded by these important crustal structures.

With William & Mary undergraduates I’ve studied deformed rocks in the Appalachian Mountains, the low deserts of southern Arizona, the high plateaus of Utah, the Coast Mountains of British Columbia, and most recently in Oman examining its vast and well-exposed ophiolite.  Although the Appalachians Mountains have been studied for over two centuries, many key aspects of their history remain unanswered. Our studies in the Blue Ridge and Piedmont provinces are wide-ranging and integrate structural analysis with petrology, sedimentology, geochronology, and geologic mapping.  In Utah our research focuses on understanding the interplay between volcanism, tectonics, and surface processes in the transition region between the Colorado Plateau and the Basin & Range.

Over the past 18 years I’ve advised more than 100 undergraduate thesis projects at William & Mary.

 


JUNE 23, 2016

(Rescheduled from February, 2016)

Henry Box Brown: Famous Fugitive, Trans-Atlantic Performer
2:00 – 4:00 | $10 | Speaker: Jeffrey Ruggles
Menokin Visitors Center | 4037 Menokin Road | Warsaw, VA

Henry "Box" Brown The resurrection of Henry Box Brown at Philadelphia. Who escaped from Richmond Va in a Box 3 feet long 2 1/2 ft deep and 2 ft wide entered according to act of Congress the year 1850 by Henry Box Brown in the clerk's office of the District Court of Massachusetts
Henry “Box” Brown The resurrection of Henry Box Brown at Philadelphia. Who escaped from Richmond Va in a Box 3 feet long 2 1/2 ft deep and 2 ft wide entered according to act of Congress the year 1850 by Henry Box Brown in the clerk’s office of the District Court of Massachusetts

Henry Brown escaped from slavery by shipping himself in a box from Richmond to Philadelphia. This bold feat was only the first act of a remarkable career. “Resurrected” from the box as Henry Box Brown, he appeared at antislavery meetings as a singer and speaker. In 1850, Brown produced a moving panorama, a kind of giant painted scroll presented in a theater, called Mirror of Slavery and toured it around New England and then across the Atlantic. Trace this remarkable journey with Jeffrey Ruggles, former Curator of Prints and Photographs, Virginia Historical Society, and author of The Unboxing of Henry Brown, Library of Virginia, 2003.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER:

jeffrey-ruggles-bio, Art historianJeffrey Ruggles is an historian and photographer with interests in the history of American culture, Virginia, and visual art. His book The Unboxing of Henry Brown (Library of Va., 2003) is a biography of the fugitive slave and performer Henry Box Brown. From 2002–10 Mr. Ruggles worked at Virginia Historical Society where he served as Curator of Prints and Photographs. His Photography in Virginia (2008) is a companion book to a 2008–09 exhibition at VHS. Other VHS exhibitions were Early Images of Virginia Indians (2003) and Organized Labor in Virginia (2010), and a long-term installation at Battle Abbey, The Virginia Manufactory of Arms (2005-15). Mr. Ruggles has degrees from the University of Virginia and Virginia Commonwealth University, and is an administrator at the Virginia Center on Aging at VCU in Richmond.


MAY 26, 2016

Great Road Style:  The Decorative Arts Legacy Of Southwest Virginia
2:00 – 4:00 | $10 | Speaker: Betsy White
Menokin Visitors Center | 4037 Menokin Road | Warsaw, VA

51ZP651M0FLFor the past 15 years, Betsy White and her team of scholars have been delving into the decorative arts traditions of southwest Virginia and northeast Tennessee, parts of two states linked geographically, culturally, and historically. Settled during the last years of the 18th and first years of the 19th centuries, it became America’s first frontier, connecting the eastern seaboard with Kentucky, Tennessee, and beyond. Its settlers came down the Valley of Virginia on the Great Philadelphia Wagon Road or simply the Great Road, as it was known locally. Artisans followed settlers, bringing with them the material culture of their homelands. What sprang up was a lively blend of cultural traditions that formed a distinctive style of furniture, ceramics, textiles, metalwork, and music. Join Betsy White as she leads us through the friendly country forms of pie safes and quilts, overshot coverlets woven from wool and flax grown on the homeplace, elegant high-style furniture made by Philadelphia-trained cabinetmakers, and pottery decorated with splotches, daubs, and streaks. White’s field work has resulted in more than 2,000 records. Taken together, they create a Great Road style, one that is beginning to take its place in American decorative arts.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER:

betsy-white-bioBetsy White, an art historian and a member of the Virginia Cultural Heritage Commission, graduated from Salem College in Winston-Salem, NC.

 

 


APRIL 28, 2016

America’s First Daughter
2:00 – 4:00 | $10 | Speaker: Laura Kamoie
Menokin Visitors Center | 4037 Menokin Road | Warsaw, VA

AFD final 2In a compelling, richly researched novel that draws from thousands of letters and original sources, bestselling authors Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie tell the fascinating, untold story of Thomas Jefferson’s eldest daughter, Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph—a woman who kept the secrets of our most enigmatic founding father and shaped an American legacy.

From her earliest days, Patsy Jefferson knows that though her father loves his family dearly, his devotion to his country runs deeper still. As Thomas Jefferson’s oldest daughter, she becomes his helpmate, protector, and constant companion in the wake of her mother’s death, traveling with him when he becomes American minister to France.

It is in Paris, at the glittering court and among the first tumultuous days of revolution, that fifteen-year-old Patsy learns about her father’s troubling liaison with Sally Hemings, a slave girl her own age. Meanwhile, Patsy has fallen in love—with her father’s protégé William Short, a staunch abolitionist and ambitious diplomat. Torn between love, principles, and the bonds of family, Patsy questions whether she can choose a life as William’s wife and still be a devoted daughter.

Her choice will follow her in the years to come, to Virginia farmland, Monticello, and even the White House. And as scandal, tragedy, and poverty threaten her family, Patsy must decide how much she will sacrifice to protect her father’s reputation, in the process defining not just his political legacy, but that of the nation he founded.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER:

Laura Kamoie HeadshotLaura Kamoie has always been fascinated by the people, stories, and physical presence of the past, which led her to a lifetime of historical and archaeological study and training. She holds a doctoral degree in early American history from The College of William and Mary, published two non-fiction books on early America, and most recently held the position of Associate Professor of History at the U.S. Naval Academy before transitioning to a full-time career writing genre fiction. Her debut historical novel, America’s First Daughter, co-authored with Stephanie Dray, allowed her the exciting opportunity to combine her love of history with her passion for storytelling. Laura lives among the colonial charm of Annapolis, Maryland with her husband and two daughters.


MARCH 24, 2016

From Mirador To Mayfair: Nancy Lancaster And The Country House Style
2:00 – 4:00 | $10 | Speaker: Susan J. Rawles, PhD
Menokin Visitors Center | 4037 Menokin Road | Warsaw, VA

41q1aVMDLNLVirginia-born tastemaker Nancy Lancaster (1897 – 1994) is a widely recognized source of the international design movement known as the British Country House Style. The style’s blending of key forms and materials, which resulted in domestic environments with historicist inflections, recalls Lancaster’s experience of her six-generation family home, Mirador, near Charlottesville. From post-Civil War Virginia to post-World War II England, Mirador to Mayfair examines the inspiration, implementation, and patronage of the Country House Style toward a better understanding of the role of interior decoration in the fashioning of individual and cultural identity.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER:

susan-rawles-bioDr. Susan J. Rawles has been the Assistant Curator of American Decorative Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts since 2008, serving previously as Research Associate for the American department from 1995. She received a PhD in American studies from the College of William and Mary, an MA in the history of art from Rice University, and a BA in economics and government from Smith College. A specialist in American material culture of the colonial and revolutionary periods, she is particularly interested in the socio-historical context of art and has written and lectured on topics ranging from colonial portraiture to period interiors. Part of the 2010 reinstallation team for VMFA’s American art galleries, she co-authored the accompanying publication, American Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (2010).

 

 


 

Moving the Stones – Preconstruction Work Summer 2015

By Guest Blogger  Catherine Emery

(For Part I of this Series, follow this link.)

PART II  After two weeks sorting through stones, tagging them and recording their findings, Menokin’s summer interns were ready to get outside and in the field.

With life-sized print outs of Menokin’s HABS drawings delivered and spread out in the yard, Bethany, Sarah and Chris spent two days with architect Nakita Reed and a contractor moving stones onto the drawings.

It was an evolving process, which is to say it wasn’t quite as straightforward as it seemed on paper. Of course, nothing worth doing ever is. The team had the help of a small front loader and were tasked with placing stones that weigh hundreds of pounds the right direction and within the lines of the drawings. Halfway through the day with many of the pieces in place, it was still hard to visualize how it would all come together.

“I don’t know what I thought it would look like,” said puzzled intern Sarah Rogers, “but I’m not sure this is it.”

By the end of day one, though, there was a clear sense of accomplishment and the hard work had paid off. Entire pieces of each elevation had been laid out in stone, giving everyone a clear view of how useful the endeavor would be.

The life size HABS drawings will benefit future contractors, who will be tasked with putting some of the pieces of the Menokin ruin back together. Additionally, the drawings give meaning and purpose to Menokin’s rock yard. Now, visitors to the site can see where all those stones go and how they fit into the larger scope of work at Menokin.

For Sarah, Bethany and Chris, the four-week internship went by fast. They provided an invaluable service to Menokin and in return all expressed deep gratitude for their time there.

Of her time on site Bethany Emenhiser said, “I learned that things don’t always work out in the field the way they look on paper. I learned how fun and important it is to do field work because you learn to be flexible. Menokin was a great place to learn that.”

Menokin Foundation is 20 Years Old!

That’s right – July 2015 marks the 20th anniversary of the Menokin Foundation. If you’ve been to Menokin in the last five years or so, you know that a lot has happened here in that time. We had two visitors recently who haven’t been here since 1994. That’s a long time! We told them they were in for a treat. These folks have been constant supporters of Menokin over these past two decades. We are so glad they were able to come and see for themselves what their contributions have help us to accomplish. They sent us an email upon their return home and copies of photos they had taken during their 1994 visit. Here are their note and the images for you to enjoy (with their permission!).

Dear Ladies,

Many thanks for your very warm welcome, for the tour, and for sharing so much terrific information with us on Friday! OBVIOUSLY a great deal has happened in 20 years!  Our visit was the highlight of our Northern Neck tour!  We’re so glad we finally made it!  We also appreciated the tip for Garner’s Produce Stand and stopped on our way home on Saturday.

We visited Menokin on Sunday, November 20, 1994.  We were on a Smithsonian bus tour (“Washington and Lee on the Northern Neck”) led by the indomitable Edwin (Ed) Bearss, former chief historian of the NPS, author, and Civil War & American history expert extraordinaire. We’d also visited Washington’s Birthplace, Stratford, Christ Church, Martin’s Hundred & Carter’s Grove in addition to Menokin (order may not be correct); we had lunch at Tides Inn.

I think there are two different rolls of film but have only found the negatives for one.  It was a lovely and relatively warm day judging by the sky and the attire. I remember our visit as being at the end of the day — you may be able to tell from #31.  I like this one despite the sun because it includes the no trespassing sign!  I remember that we had to wait for someone to come and unlock the gate or barrier (don’t recall which).  It’s also clear that we did walk around — did not remember that detail…

My husband also took photos, and would have typically taken many more than I did.  Mine were somewhat retrievable (in box 12 of about 18), but no idea where his might be.  We’ll come across his eventually and be back in touch.

Thanks again for a lovely visit.

July 4th Commemoration in Northern Neck Corn Field

IMG_0791
Burnt House Field

Even in Virginia’s Northern Neck, Burnt House Field Cemetery is an out-of-the-way place to honor a signer of the Declaration of Independence. The cemetery at Hague in Westmoreland County is surrounded by a brick wall and 100 acres of corn. Richard Henry Lee (1732-1794) is buried here with his parents and grandparents.

Lee was more than just a signer. In the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Lee introduced the resolution calling for independence from Great Britain that led to the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

His brother Francis Lightfoot Lee (1734-1797) also signed it. Ten years earlier, they had burned an effigy of the Tax Man at the Westmoreland courthouse and helped organize other opposition to the hated Stamp Act.

Sponsored by the Northern Neck of Virginia Historical Society and Cople Parish, the commemoration at the Lee cemetery will begin at 8:30 a.m. It will feature a living-history interpretation of Francis Lightfoot Lee and his wife, Rebecca Tayloe Lee, visiting Richard Henry Lee’s grave. (Francis Lightfoot Lee is buried in the Tayloe Cemetery at Mt. Airy near Warsaw.)

The grave of Francis Lee at Mount Airy.
The grave of Francis Lee at Mount Airy.

The observance will then move 5 miles to Yeocomico Episcopal Church. Built in 1706, it was the home church of the Lee family. Richard Henry Lee and his father Thomas Lee both served on the vestry. The service at the church will include prayers and the singing of patriotic hymns and the national anthem.

For additional information, contact Steve Walker, 804-472-3291, yeocomshan@yahoo.com

DIRECTIONS

The wicket door at Cople Parish.
The wicket door at Yeocomico Episcopal Church

CEMETERY: From State Rt. 202 (Cople Highway) at Hague, take Rt. 612 (Coles Point Road) about one-half mile to Rt. 675 (Mt. Pleasant Road). The cemetery is about a mile at the end of the gravel road.

CHURCH: From cemetery, turn left on Rt. 612 (Coles Point Road). Go one mile and turn right on Rt. 606 (Tucker Hill Road). Go three miles and turn right on Rt. 606 (Old Yeocomico Road). The church will be on the right.

Commemoration of The Leedstown Resolves – February 27, 2014

The Leedstown Resolves, or Westmoreland Resolves, a courageous protest against the Stamp Act, was executed on 27 February 1766 and signed over the next several weeks by 115 citizens of the Virginia colony from twelve counties whose names are listed at the end of the document.

On Thursday February 27, 2014, The Northern Neck of Virginia Historical Society and The Menokin Foundation will commemorate the signing of the Leedstown Resolves at the Martin Kirwan King Visitors Center at Menokin.

Speaker Bill Horn, will lecture on the significance of the character of the Lee brothers in forming our nation. Among other related points, Mr. Horn will discuss Thomas Lee and the traits he passed on to his sons, Richard Henry and Francis Lightfoot Lee, who were the only two signers of both the Leedstown Resolves and the Declaration of Independence.

Bill Horn’s long and colorful life features a 4-year military service in the Korean War. This experience inspired him to study American history and pursue the field of education. His 28-year career teaching high school American and World History in New York culminated in a post-retirement job as a coach for handicapped adults.

Since moving to the Northern Neck in 1997, he has spoken about Living Museums at an American Legion Hall and again about the Lees. He has lectured at various sites in the Tidewater region about the American Revolution and our founding fathers. He was also a regular substitute teacher at Woodland Academy until it closed.

This annual commemoration starts at 10:00 am and will conclude no later than 11:00 am. No reservation is needed. Menokin is located at 4037 Menokin Road in Warsaw, VA. Call 804-333-1776 with questions.

This copy of the Leedstown Resolves is at the Westmoreland County Museum. The text of the resolves is included for your enjoyment.
This copy of the Leedstown Resolves is at the Westmoreland County Museum. The text of the resolves is included for your enjoyment.

History on the Go: Making history come alive in our schools

Virginia is steeped in history, much of it originating in the Northern Neck. Yet the reality of our locals schools means bare-bones budgets, and few or no field trips for students to learn about and explore the myriad historic venues right here in their back yards.

web_S4pictures-3413Enter History on the Go. This local program provides regional elementary and middle school students an overview of some of the great educational resources available to them within the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula.

Collaborating cultural institutions develop presentations and coordinate with the schools for an immersion event.  Five or six stations are set up in the school gymnasium or auditorium. Each class rotates around the room to visit every station, spending 15 minutes learning about, and participating in, a different activity related to that particular site.

On December 4th participating organizations brought their messages to Richmond County Elementary 4th and 5th graders. A whopping 176 students shared in these programs:

Belle Isle State ParkAnimal Adaptations. This station exhibited various animal skins and casts of various footprints. Students learned about living and hunting habits of native species in this region.

Mary Ball Washington Museum and Library – 18th century school, reading and writing. Students discussed a one room classroom environment, using a replica of a classroom.  The students practiced writing on slates and used a quill pen on paper. Discipline and games were also discussed.

Middlesex Museum and Historical SocietyHistorical documents and court web_S4pictures-3411cases. Students reviewed copies of original court records re slaves, property and possessions, and insurance documents and discussed the importantance of record keeping.

Reedville Fisherman Museum – Life cycle and history of oysters and watermen. Showed live oysters and discussed the body makeup (heart, how they breathe, etc.) Students use tongs to transfer oysters and discussed the work of the local watermen.

Richmond County Museum – Indian exhibit and pictograghs. Pointed out the living habits and clothing, medicine, diet, use of tools of Virginia’s indigenous peoples.

Menokin Foundation – Maps and Watershed. Menokin’s Education Coordinator Alice French, and intern Allie Lyth, introduced the word and concept of conservation. Students got a brief history of Francis Lightfoot Lee and how Menokin is using historic conservation in preserving his house.

web_S4pictures-3386They also learned about Menokin’s environmental conservation practices and got to compare a variety of maps,* learning about the types of information these different kinds of maps give us. They then looked at our site and surrounding sites showing the entire Northern Neck in its Rappahannock River Watershed.

*Maps
Captain John Smithʼs early maps of Virginia
Topographic contour maps
Aerial maps
Road maps
Waterway mapsMenokin’s Activity involved studying a map of waterways and locating the headwaters, the tributaries, and the mainstream, and connecting the ends of the river to identify the watershed. The students then became a human

watershed and passed water down through it, learning how water moves within a watershed, that everything surrounding a river affects our water, and that we all use the same water over and over, and that is why conservation is so important.

By participating in programs like History on the Go, Menokin continues to focus and act on its mission to provide educational and cultural opportunities to our regional communities and beyond.