On behalf of the board of Norfolk Historical Society, I thank you for your interest in and support of the society in 2015. It was a busy year and I would like to share some highlights with you.
The Louis L. Guy History Series completed its ninth year of monthly programs. In 2015, we recognized the 200th anniversary of the ratification of the Treaty of Ghent; the 100th anniversary of the First World War; and the 150th anniversary of the assassination of President Lincoln. 2015 was also the 50th anniversary of NHS! On a lighter note, “Strip Tease Girls,” the history of Norfolk’s Gaiety Theatre, drew an enthusiastic crowd in November; and a record-breaking audience turned out for war correspondent Joe Galloway’s Covering America’s Wars: from Vietnam to Iraq in December. More than 20 Vietnam veterans in the audience received medals from the United States government, and a standing ovation. We are grateful to the MacArthur Memorial for hosting the series; and to Norfolk’s Channel 48 for broadcasting the programs on the city’s cable channel 48 and Norfolk’s YouTube station. Programs are also streamed on our web site (www.norfolkhistorical.org).
Historic Fort Norfolk was open to visitors on Sunday afternoons June through September, with guided tours by costumed docents, and saw a steady stream of visitors. War of 1812 and Civil War (both Union and Confederate) re-enactors were especially popular. The Fort will be open on Sunday afternoons in 2016, beginning on June 11. Come for a visit and take a trip back in time!
The Bicentennial of the Ratification of the Treaty of Ghent was celebrated in grand style, with events that included a rose planting at the Chrysler Museum; programs on Second Wednesday, a dress ball with dance demonstrations by the Regency Society of Virginia; and a friendly “battle” between our own Ghent breweries, SmartMouth and O’Connors’s, who settled their rivalry by co-creating a special beer for the occasion. Special thanks to NHS board member Chris Melhuish for coordinating the events, and to our partners, including the Belgian Consulate, Woman’s Club of Norfolk, Regency Society of Virginia, and Hampton Roads Naval Museum.
Why join NHS?Your membership helps support important initiatives in the Norfolk community, especially in the areas of education, preservation, and advocacy. In 2015, you helped to fund:
· Speakers for the Louis L. Guy Monthly History Series, free and open to the public;
· Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church’s archaeological dig in search of the church’s 1699 foundation;
· Two ACCESS College Foundation scholarships for college-bound Norfolk high school seniors who plan to pursue a degree in a history-related field;
· Pledges to the Slover Library endowment, in support of the Sargeant Memorial Collection of local history and in memory of Louis Guy;
· Chrysler Museum of Art Capital Campaign, designated for the Moses Myers and Willoughby-Baylor historic houses (completed);
· Sponsorship of MacArthur Memorial’s World War I film series;
· Sponsorship of Norfolk Public Library Foundation’s annual Norfolk Historical Calendar. Proceeds from the 2016 calendar will help fund a new library bookmobile;
· Advocacy in support of a Fort Monroe National Park;
· Support of historic Fort Norfolk.
If you have already joined or renewed by mail or online for 2016, thank you! If you have not, you may do so on our web site (www.norfolkhistorical.org) using PayPal (either with a credit card or with an active PayPal account) or by sending your check, made payable to Norfolk Historical Society, to P.O. Box 6367, Norfolk, VA 23508. Feel free to include a donation for a specific NHS initiative, telling us how you would like it earmarked. If you are still considering giving us a try, I encourage you to step up and help “Strengthen Norfolk’s Future by Preserving her Past” by being a part of NHS.
Peggy McPhillips, President, Norfolk Historical Society