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With Broadsides and Badges, Virginia Museum of History & Culture joins VCU Libraries' Image Portal

June 17, 2019

VCU Libraries welcomes the Virginia Museum of History & Culture as a member of the Social Welfare History Image Portal. The museum joins a diverse group of archives, libraries and museums from Virginia, Massachusetts, Texas, Minnesota, Louisiana and New Jersey.

Image Portal partners collaborate to share archival materials related to the history of social welfare groups and social reform movements such as suffrage, civil rights, child labor and public health. The Image Portal is part of the larger Social Welfare History Projecta digital project focusing on volunteer and professional efforts to work for the common good in the United States.

The Virginia Museum of History & Culture is owned and operated by the Virginia Historical Society. This private, non-profit organization, founded in 1831, is the oldest cultural organization in Virginia and one of the oldest and most distinguished history organizations in the nation.

Because of the statewide nature of its comprehensive collection, the Virginia Historical Society exhibits and interprets broad themes in Virginia history. In recent years, the Virginia Historical Society and its headquarters facility on Arthur Ashe Boulevard in Richmond, the Virginia Museum of History & Culture, has expanded public programming, launched new exhibitions and worked to tell Virginia’s story to a more inclusive audience.

“Even a quick look at the items shared by the VMHC will give you an idea of the breadth of their collections,” said Alice Campbell, digital outreach and special projects librarian. “These broadsides (sheets of paper printed on one side) chronicle over 100 years of social change and reform efforts from 1866 to 1977. And the beautiful Virginia Federation of Labor convention badge opens up a story of labor unions, segregation, and even woman suffrage. Studying these items, you can see how Virginia’s story sheds light on America’s history—in much the same way that social welfare history reveals the changing values and concerns of our nation.”

Adam Scher, vice president for collections at the Virginia Museum of History & Culture, notes that the Social Welfare History Image Portal is an excellent tool for exploring  collections and locating research sources. "We have a broad range of collections that shed light on individuals making a difference in their communities, which is the essence of social welfare history.

"Our holdings allow all types of researchers —academics, public historians, college and high school students, genealogists, and hobbyists—to gain insights on a variety of topics. Our extensive archival holdings include letters, diaries, and business records and a rich collection of broadsides, pamphlets, and other print materials. We are excited to work with the Image Portal at VCU Libraries to connect people to America’s past through the story of Virginia."

The Social Welfare History Project, with its many articles and images, is available to everyone. Campbell said, however, “Many of the students who use the Social Welfare History Project and the Image Portal are working on projects for National History Day, a competition for middle and high school students. As the sponsor of  Virginia History Day, the VMHC well understands these young researchers.”

Welcome to the Image Portal, Virginia Museum of History & Culture!

Image: Virginia Federation of Labor Convention Badge, 1922Virginia Museum of History & Culture


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