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February 16, 2017 | 5:30pm – 7:00pm | Cost: $25 to $30
This single-session class will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 16. Join us as we explore through images and documents in the historical society’s collections the dramatic changes in Virginia throughout the twentieth century.
With the 20th century firmly in our rearview, we can now fully understand it as one of the greatest periods of change in human history. Virginia was at the center of many of these changes as political movements, world wars, and new technologies transformed the traditional order in the commonwealth. Photographs and manuscripts from the VHS collections, which give voice to the past, will be used to dive into such topics as urbanization, revolutions in transportation and communication, desegregation, and other variables that affected Virginia throughout the last century.
Chris Van Tassell is the program coordinator at the Virginia Historical Society.
February 23, 2017 | 5:30pm – 7:00pm | Cost: $50 to $65
This is a two-part class taught by Dr. Bruce M. Venter. The first part will take place on Thursday, February 23, and the second on Thursday, March 2. Learn about the controversial Kilpatrick-Dahlgren Raid on Richmond in 1864.
The ostensible goal of the Kilpatrick-Dahlgren on Richmond in 1864 was to free 13,000 Union POWs, but sinister orders found the dead body of Col. Ulric Dahlgren pointed instead to a plot to assassinate Confederate president Jefferson Davis and set Richmond ablaze.
Based on Bruce Venter’s book, Kill Jeff Davis and presented during the month the raid occurred, this class will explore in depth this controversial Civil War event, including the political and military maneuvers that led up to the raid and the extraordinary personalities who participated in perhaps the most unique cavalry operation of the entire war.
Dr. Bruce M. Venter, historian and president of America’s History LLC, is the author of The Battle of Hubbardton: The Rear Guard Action that Saved America and Kill Jeff Davis: Union Raid on Richmond as well as numerous articles on historical topics.
March 9, 2017 | 5:30pm – 7:00pm | Cost: $50 to $65
This is a two-part class taught by Alexander Barnes and Maj. Gen. Tim Williams. The first part will take place on Thursday, March 9, and the second on Thursday, March 16. Join us to learn about America’s involvement in World War I.
In less than eighteen months, the U.S. Army grew from some 100,000 men to a force of more than a million soldiers fighting in the Meuse-Argonne campaign, the largest battle in U.S. History. Training and leading this force into battle against the Imperial German Army were some of the greatest names in American military history, including such stalwarts as John J. Pershing, John A. Lejeune, George C. Marshall, Douglas MacArthur, and Leonard Wood. But “To Hell with the Kaiser” is much more than just a class about leaders; it addresses the complexities involved in developing an Army almost from scratch and includes detailed coverage of the building of the many training camps nationwide, the implications of universal conscription, the use of African American soldiers, the integration of a vast immigrant population into the force, and the terrible effects of Spanish Flu on the soldiers and the home front. If you ever wondered what your grandfather or great grandfather did in the “Great War,” this class will help you interpret the clues they left behind.
Alexander Barnes is an Army civilian at Fort Lee, Virginia. He served in the Marine Corps and Army National Guard, retiring as CW4. He has a master’s degree in anthropology and is the author of In a Strange Land; The American Occupation of Germany 1918–1923 and To Hell with the Kaiser, America Prepares for War 1916–1918. Major General Tim Williams is an alumnus of Virginia Tech and the U.S. Army War College. He is a Virginia National Guardsman and was an Army civilian in the Combined Arms Support Command, Fort Lee, Virginia, until July 2014, when he was selected to serve as the adjutant general of Virginia. General Williams is the coauthor, along with Alexander Barnes and Chris Calkins, of Let's Go!: The History of the 29th Infantry Division 1917–2001.
March 30, 2017 | 5:30pm – 7:00pm | Cost: $25 to $30
This one-session class will be taught by Robert J. Dalessandro. It will take place at 5:30 p.m. on March 30. Learn the story of the American Battle Monuments Commission and see how it is maintaining its relevance into its second century.
Vibrant interpretive programs now tell the story of our Armed Forces and pay tribute to those that gave the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. Established by the Congress in 1923 as an agency of the executive branch of the federal government, the American Battle Monuments Commission is the guardian of America’s overseas commemorative cemeteries and memorial. The commemorative mission includes designing, constructing, operating, and maintaining permanent American cemeteries in foreign countries; establishing and maintaining U.S. military memorials, monuments, and markers where American armed forces have served overseas since April 6, 1917, and within the United States when directed by public law; and controlling the design and construction of permanent U.S. military monuments and markers by other U.S. citizens and organizations, both public and private, and encouraging their maintenance.
Robert J. Dalessandro, former director of the United States Army Center of Military History, is deputy secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission and chairman of the United States World War One Centennial Commission. He is the author of several books on the American soldier and World War I.
April 20, 2017 | 5:30pm – 7:00pm | Cost: $50 to $65
This is a two-part class taught by Dr. John M. Coski. Class one will take place on Thursday, April 20, and class two on Thursday, April 27. Learn about the full history of the Confederate battle flag, from its Civil War origins to today, and the evolution of the flag’s multiple meanings and the implications of those meanings for its place in modern culture.
The June 2015 Charleston church murders renewed a national public debate about the meaning of the Confederate battle flag and its proper place on the American landscape. Although the 2015 debate may have been unprecedented in its intensity, it was hardly new. The Confederate battle flag has been the focus of controversy and debate since the mid-twentieth century, when it emerged as a widely-used pop culture icon and a symbol of white supremacy and resistance to racial integration. How did a flag that was born in 1861 as a distinctive banner to be used in battle by the Confederacy’s primary field army become such a lightning rod in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries?
This two-part class will explore the full history of the Confederate battle flag, from its Civil War origins to today. The class will use lectures, document discussions, and case studies to trace the evolution of the flag’s multiple meanings and the implications of those meanings for its place in modern culture.
Dr. John M. Coski is historian at the American Civil War Museum. He is author of The Confederate Battle Flag: America’s Most Embattled Emblem (Harvard University Press, 2005).
May 25, 2017 | 5:30pm – 7:00pm | Cost: $25 to $30
This single-session class will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 25. Join Dr. Frank Settle and learn about Gen. George C. Marshall’s crucial role in the decade-long development of the first atomic bombs.
This class will provide a full-length narrative of General Marshall’s crucial role in the decade-long development of the first atomic bombs. We will consider Marshall’s responsibility for the Manhattan Project and his participation in the decision to use the atomic bomb on Japan. We will also explore Marshall’s involvement with nuclear weapons as army chief of staff, secretary of state, and secretary of defense. He occupies a unique position as only senior level official who participated in or witnessed all of the major decisions involving nuclear weapons from 1942 to 1952. His experience with these weapons is instructive for today’s leaders.
Dr. Frank Settle, professor emeritus of chemistry at Washington and Lee University, also taught at Virginia Military Institute from 1964 to 1992. Before coming to W&L in 1998 he was a visiting professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy, a consultant to the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and a program officer at the National Science Foundation. Dr. Settle developed and taught interdisciplinary courses on nuclear history, weapons of mass destruction, and nuclear power. He currently directs the ALSOS Digital Library for Nulcear Issues. The Library is a vetted, indexed collection of annotations for a broad range of materials on nuclear related topics.
Copies of Frank Settle’s book, General George C. Marshall and the Atomic Bomb, will be available for purchase in the Museum Shop before the class.
June 22, 2017 | 5:30pm – 7:00pm | Cost: $50 to $65
This is a two-part class taught by Dr. Martin Gallivan. Class one will take place on Thursday, June 22, and class two on Thursday, June 29. Learn about the American Indian past in Tidewater Virginia from the spread of forager-fishers to the colonial-era Powhatan chiefdom.
This class traces the American Indian past in Tidewater Virginia from the spread of forager-fishers to the colonial-era Powhatan chiefdom. We’ll start from the premise that scholars’ attention to the English colonial arrival at Jamestown has concealed a deeper history of Native communities. Native settlements along the area’s rivers oriented the ways Algonquian people lived in the Chesapeake estuary, initially around fishing grounds and collective burials visited seasonally and later within farming towns occupied year-round. Ceremonial spaces, including trench enclosures within the Powhatan center place of Werowocomoco, gathered people for centuries. Despite the violent disruptions of the colonial era, Native people returned to Werowocomoco and to other riverfront towns after 1607 for pilgrimages that commemorated the enduring power of place. For today’s American Indian communities in the area, the precolonial history represents a powerful basis from which to contest narratives and policies that have denied their existence. My goal with this class is to add to these conversations by offering a deeper history of coastal Virginia.
Martin Gallivan is an associate professor of anthropology at the College of William and Mary. His research focuses on the archaeology and culture history of Native societies in the Chesapeake.
Sunday, 10–5 (Galleries & Museum Shop)
Museum and Gardens are open by appointment
Admission $6 adults (Free for members)