Norfolk Historical Society 


Upcoming events

    • Wednesday, March 14, 2018
    • 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
    • MacArthur Memorial Visitor Center Theater

    Norfolk Historical Society board member John Lindberg, music instructor and retired percussionist with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, will entertain us with a history of the nearly 100-year-old organization that got its start in Norfolk.

    FREE and open to the public

    • Wednesday, April 11, 2018
    • 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
    • MacArthur Memorial Visitor Center Theater










    During World War I, two German surface raiders sought harbor to make repairs at Hampton Roads after sinking twenty-five merchant ships. Allied ships nearby kept them from leaving, so more than eight hundred German sailors took up residence at the Norfolk Navy Yard in Portsmouth, Virginia. They built their own miniature German village, visited family and friends and attended social events in the community. Their presence made the shipyard a major tourist area before the United States entered the war. Historian Gregory J. Hansard presents the fascinating story of how Hampton Roads was a haven of safety for German sailors during World War I. 


    FREE and open to the public 

    • Wednesday, May 09, 2018
    • 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
    • MacArthur Memorial Visitor Center Theater

    What do you get when you combine a Canadian wooden side-wheeler, a batch of mutinous Confederate prisoners and a guard detail armed with muskets, but no bullets? Perhaps, something right out of the movies – a real “Mutiny on the Bounty” right here in Hampton Roads, with scenes at Fort Norfolk and Fort Monroe, and a watery demise at the bottom of Florida’s St. Johns River.

    Learn more on May 9, when Robert Baxter, Norfolk resident and advocate for False Cape State Park, shares the story of the 1863 Maple Leaf incident, as well as more recent efforts to locate the ship’s wreckage and recover a treasure-trove of Civil War-era military equipment and personal belongings that paint a picture of what army life was like aboard a steamer in the 1860s.

    Wednesday, 9 May 2018, 7:00 PM

    MacArthur Memorial Visitor Center Theatre

    FREE and open to the public


    • Wednesday, June 13, 2018
    • 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
    • MacArthur Memorial Visitor Center Theater

    Come spend a rollicking evening with “The Bosun’s Call,” a trio of local historical reenactors who will regale you with stories and songs of the sea from the American Revolution.

    MacArthur Memorial Visitor Center Theater

    Wednesday, 13 June 2018, 7:00 PM

    FREE and open to the public


    • Wednesday, July 11, 2018
    • 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
    • MacArthur Memorial Visitor Center Theater


    George Washington (1732-1799) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, and its first President. He commanded the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War, leading it to victory in America's struggle for freedom from British rule. And he was, proudly, a Virginian. 

    A very special presenter, Jim Guy, will appear to us as George Washington on July 11. Jim is a middle school social studies teacher whose father, Louis Guy, was the founder and namesake of the NHS Second Wednesday History Series.

    FREE and open to the public

    • Wednesday, August 08, 2018
    • 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
    • MacArthur Memorial Visitoe Center Theater


    John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore (1730-1809), was the last Royal Governor of Virginia, and the least favorite. He is best remembered in Norfolk as the agent of  a New Year's Day 1776   bombardment that would leave the entire Borough in ruins by early February - burned to the ground by a combination of British and Patriot efforts and an order from Continental Congress.  

    We invite you to learn more on August 8, 2018, when historical interpreter Bryan Austin makes an appearance as Lord Dunmore on our Second Wednesday stage. Mr. Austin last appeared to us in July 2016 with a splendid interpretation of Admiral Lord Nelson.

    FREE and open to the public 

    • Wednesday, September 12, 2018
    • 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
    • MacArthur Memorial Visitor Center Theater











    Please join us on September 12, 2018, when historian Steve Ossad  presents a program about the life and career of the "Soldiers' General," Omar Nelson Bradley.

    Book signing follows program

    Wednesday, 12 September 2018, 7:00 PM

    MacArthur Memorial Visitor Center Theater

    FREE and open to the public 

    • Wednesday, October 10, 2018
    • 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
    • MacArthur Memorial Visitor Center Theater


    As World War II drew to a close in Europe, a group of more than 300 men and a few women from 13 nations came together to comprise the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives Sub-commission of the Allies. Most were middle-aged and had not participated in the liberation of Europe. But they willingly interrupted their careers as museum directors, curators, art historians, artists, architects, and educators to travel to Europe to track, retrieve and restore millions of cultural treasures stolen by Hitler and the Nazis from the countries they had invaded during the war, thus playing a key role in the preservation of Europe’s cultural heritage. Together, the group would become known as the “Monuments Men.”

    Please join us on October 10 when Amanda Williams, Education Director at the MacArthur Memorial, tells us more about the “Monuments Men” of World War II.

    Wednesday, 10 October 2018, 7:00 PM

    MacArthur Memorial Visitor Center Theater

    FREE and open to the public 

    • Wednesday, November 14, 2018
    • 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
    • MacArthur Memorial Visitor Center Theater

     Surrender of Lord Cornwallis.jpg

    The Yorktown campaign took place from June to October 1781, primarily in Virginia. The series of strategies and battles ended with the Siege of Yorktown in October 1781 and resulted in the surrender of the British army by General Charles Earl Cornwallis. American victory at Yorktown would lead to American freedom from British rule.

    Historian Jon Stull will tell us more about the Yorktown Campaign on November 14, 2018 - and what the outcome would mean for America, Virginia, and Norfolk.

    FREE and open to the public


    • Wednesday, December 12, 2018
    • 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
    • MacArthur Memorial Visitor Center Theater


    When World War I began in 1914, neither the United States Navy nor American coastal shipping vessels were directly affected. By the end of the war in 1918, three German U-boats, U-151, U-140, and U-117, had sunk a total of 10 vessels off North Carolina alone. When the U-151 arrived off the U.S. East Coast in May 1918, it was the first foreign enemy naval vessel to invade U.S. waters since the War of 1812. World War I had come home to the United States. This is the story of the brave Americans that went up against Germany’s newest weapon, the U-boat.

    Learn more on December 12, 2018, When Tane Renata Casserley, Research Coordinator, Monitor National Marine Sanctuary, NOAA, tells us more about U-Boat victims in the Mid-Atlantic region, and what is being done to protect this part of our cultural heritage.

    FREE and open to the public   

Past events

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 Medicine in Early Virginia
Wednesday, January 17, 2018 Dedication of Captain John Smith Cross Marker/POSTPONED
Wednesday, January 10, 2018 World War II on America’s Doorstep! U-Boats off the Mid-Atlantic Coast
Wednesday, December 13, 2017 The Furious Fall of '75: Actions Leading to the Battle of Great Bridge and the Burning of Norfolk
Wednesday, November 08, 2017 History of Norfolk Naval Shipyard
Thursday, October 26, 2017 Mapmakers of the Reformation: The Ascendancy of Protestant Cartographers in the 17th Century
Wednesday, October 11, 2017 Operation Torch: 75 Years Later
Sunday, September 17, 2017 War of 1812 at Fort Norfolk
Wednesday, September 13, 2017 The Seaside Calls: Visit Fort Monroe 1901
Wednesday, August 09, 2017 Threads: Connecting Fort Norfolk's Past
Wednesday, July 12, 2017 Along Virginia's Route 58: True Tales & Haunted Highlands
Saturday, June 24, 2017 Craney Island Victory Celebration
Sunday, June 18, 2017 Civil War Life at Fort Norfolk
Wednesday, June 14, 2017 "Don't Forget Your Old Shipmate: Sailors and Sea Chanteys in the War of 1812": An Evening with the Crew of the USS Constellation
Wednesday, May 10, 2017 My Fellow Soldiers
Wednesday, April 12, 2017 Baseball in Norfolk, Part III: The Tides
Wednesday, March 08, 2017 The Ash Wednesday Storm of 1962
Wednesday, February 08, 2017 The Army Airship Roma
Sunday, January 29, 2017 The Casemate Museum – A Look Back and a Look Ahead
Sunday, January 29, 2017 NHS Annual Meeting
Wednesday, January 11, 2017 Irene Leache, Anna Wood and the origins of the Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences
Wednesday, December 14, 2016 Last Stand on Bataan: The Defense of the Philippines, December 1941–May 1942
Wednesday, November 09, 2016 The Occupation of Norfolk, 1862-1865
Wednesday, October 12, 2016 First World War Commonwealth War Graves Commemorations
Wednesday, September 14, 2016 A Postcard History of Norfolk, 1868-1970s
Sunday, September 11, 2016 War of 1812 event
Wednesday, August 10, 2016 James Rivington and George Washington’s Spy Ring
Saturday, July 23, 2016 WWII Symposium: War in the Southwest Pacific
Thursday, July 14, 2016 Spy Rings of the Revolutionary War
Wednesday, July 13, 2016 An Evening with Admiral Horatio Nelson
Saturday, June 25, 2016 Walk Norfolk Chase
Wednesday, June 08, 2016 George Wythe and American Independence
Thursday, May 19, 2016 The Walker Spy Ring
Wednesday, May 11, 2016 Clash of Titans: The Battle of Jutland
Friday, April 15, 2016 Joseph N. Green Jr. Lecture Series
Wednesday, April 13, 2016 Lost Cemeteries of Norfolk: a Grave Situation
Wednesday, March 09, 2016 The Virginia Squires
Thursday, February 18, 2016 "IMages of America": Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel
Wednesday, February 10, 2016 The First Eight Weeks: Douglas MacArthur and Japan, August-October 1945
Sunday, January 24, 2016 Annual Meeting
Wednesday, January 13, 2016 The Construction of Fort Monroe: An Archival Investigation
Wednesday, December 09, 2015 Covering America's Wars: Viet Nam to Iraq
Wednesday, November 11, 2015 Strip Tease Girls: Experience Unnecessary
Wednesday, October 14, 2015 Why Aren't They Smiling? A Look at Civil War Photographs
Sunday, September 27, 2015 Civil War re-enactors at Fort Norfolk
Sunday, September 13, 2015 Star-Spangled Banner Day at Fort Norfolk
Wednesday, September 09, 2015 Personal Reflections on Henry Clay's Legacy of Statesmanship
Sunday, August 30, 2015 Civil War re-enactors at Fort Norfolk
Sunday, August 23, 2015 Norfolk's Cemeteries & the Garden Movement
Wednesday, August 12, 2015 A Postcard History of Norfolk
Sunday, July 26, 2015 Civil War Living History at Fort Norfolk
Wednesday, July 08, 2015 Lecture: MacArthur -- The Supreme Commander at War in the Pacific
Sunday, June 21, 2015 Notice: 202nd Anniversary of the Battle of Craney Island
Saturday, June 20, 2015 War of 1812 State Marker Dedication
Sunday, June 14, 2015 Notice: Opening day for Fort Norfolk tours
Wednesday, June 10, 2015 Lecture: Virginia Trails - Crossing the Commonwealth
Wednesday, May 13, 2015 Lecture: Historic Fort Norfolk: A Hidden Gem
Tuesday, May 05, 2015 Notice: Archaeological Dig at St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Wednesday, April 08, 2015 Lecture: ANZAC Day and Gallipoli, 1915
Wednesday, March 11, 2015 Lecture: The Lincoln Photo Exhibition
Sunday, February 22, 2015 Make Tea not War: Commemorating the Treaty of Ghent Bicentennial
Saturday, February 21, 2015 Treaty of Ghent Bicentennial Gala
Saturday, February 21, 2015 Treaty of Ghent Rose Dedication
Wednesday, February 11, 2015 Lecture: Rediscovering the Treaty of Ghent
Sunday, January 25, 2015 Norfolk Historical Society Annual Meeting
Wednesday, January 14, 2015 A History of Naval Station Norfolk
Wednesday, December 10, 2014 Wardrobe for a Belle: Fashion in the era of Susan Wheeler
Wednesday, November 12, 2014 Driven from the Seas: Oyster Pirates and a 'Little Travesty' on the Chesapeake Bay

For video of many of our past programs, be sure to visit our YouTube channel, Norfolk History Preserved.

Address: P.O. Box 6367, Norfolk, VA  23508-0367

Phone: (757) 640-1720


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