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Where are They Now? Virginia's Endangered Artifacts Revisited
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The purpose of Where are they Now? Virginia's Endangered Artifacts Revisited is to tell the stories of endangered artifacts and the museums that seek to preserve them. You'll find success stories, continuing challenges, and interesting twists in the tales of these significant cultural treasures.


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Top tags: Top 10 Endangered Artifacts  conservation  Top 10 Endangered Artifacts nominee 2011  Virginia  Virginia Association of Museums  Virginia's Top 10 Endangered Artifacts  Civil War history  education  MacArthur Memorial  preservation  Virginia Museums  Anne Spencer House and Garden Museum  archaeology  art  ASV  batteau  Confederacy  firefighting  Friendship Firehouse Museum  graffiti  Helen Angeny  Hermitage Museum and Gardens  Historic Alexandria  history  Hoffbauer  interactive exhibits  internment camps  Liberia House  Lynchburg  Manassas 

Virginia's Top 10 Endangered Artifact Travels to New York

Posted By Heather A. Widener, Friday, September 26, 2014

In 2013 the National D-Day Memorial’s 299th Combat Engineer Battalion battle flag was selected as one of Virginia’s Top 10 Endangered Artifacts.  The flag, which suffers from deterioration around the edges and is in need of repair, was carried by members of the 299th Combat Engineer Battalion, Company B on June 6, 1944 on D-Day.  The 299th Combat Engineer Battalion suffered a number of casualties on both Omaha and Utah Beaches during the Normandy Invasion. This particular flag was carried by Company B who assaulted Utah Beach, which landed amid direct fire from German gun emplacements where many men were killed and many more wounded. 


As a result of the publicity from the Top 10 campaign, the curator of the Cayuga Museum of Art and History in Auburn, New York contacted the Memorial after seeing the story about the flag being chosen as an endangered artifact.  Staff at the Cayuga Museum were in the midst of preparing for their own exhibit about the 299th for the upcoming 70th anniversary of D-Day when the news story caught their attention.  “They were so excited to find an actual battle flag from the 299th and wanted to include it as the centerpiece of their exhibit.  We could not have been more delighted,” stated April Cheek-Messier, president of the National D-Day Memorial Foundation.  “There is no doubt that VAM’s top ten artifact program is far reaching.  By loaning a significant piece from our collection, we helped another museum. They assisted us by distributing promotional materials about the Memorial, our 70th anniversary events, and they collected donations toward the preservation of the battle flag.  This was a win-win situation for all involved.  This simply reaffirms for me the importance of the Top Ten program.  A little publicity can go a long way and in this case, it will help us preserve a crucial part of our history.”


Many thanks to April Cheek-Messier for providing us with this fascinating story about one of our 2013 Top 10 Endangered Artifacts! 


Captions for attached images:

1 & 2 - The 299th Combat Engineer Flag on display at the Cayuga Museum of Art and History in Auburn, NY.  Below the flag is a donation box to collect donations toward the flag’s restoration.

3 - Nomination photo of the 299th Combat Engineer Flag, National D-Day Memorial.

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  National D-Day Memorial  T  Virginia Association of Museums 

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My Top 10 Internship: A Parting Summary from Summer 2014

Posted By Rebecca Guest, Thursday, August 28, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, August 27, 2014
My summer internship with VAM is sadly coming to an end.  I have enjoyed working closely with this year’s Top 10 Endangered Artifacts Program.  I am so proud of the work that was accomplished this summer.  I want to take a moment and share some of the results that came out of my internship.  

On day one, I started contacting past participants of the Top 10 Program.  Through e-mails and phone calls, I learned the status of Virginia’s endangered artifacts.  Thank you to the organizations that embraced my inquiries.  From the locomotive that received a $10,000 grant to the artifacts that are still waiting to be conserved, these updates help share public awareness for preservation efforts.  If you are an organization that previously participated in the Top 10 Program, VAM wants to hear from you!  Please share any updates on your artifact.  The following chart outlines a few of the positive developments that have occurred since these artifacts were nominated to the Top 10.  VAM is working on research to track the status of all Top 10 honorees (please note that this is a working list and will continue to be updated!).  


Top 10 Year



Booker T. Washington National Monument


Photographs with cellulose nitrate negatives, 1957-1984

Film is currently being conserved in a freezer.

Hermitage Museum & Gardens


Korean 18th century Sakyamuni Triad silk tapestry

Repatriated back to Korea and is currently being conserved. Future plans include public display.

Klug-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia


Yolngu Bark Painting by Narritjin Maymuru, depicting Djarrakpi Story (Indonesian Trader Ship)

Currently being conserved and will be on display at UVA soon.

The Mariners’ Museum


USS Monitor’s Revolving Gun Turret

Currently in conservation. An estimated 18 years of work needs to be completed. Fundraising is needed.

Virginia Museum of Transportation


Norfolk & Western SD45 Diesel Locomotive #1776


Received $10,000 grant from Trains Magazine toward improvements to Locomotive #1776 thanks to its People’s Choice recognition.

Warren Rifles Confederate Memorial Museum


Confederate Battle Flag of Co. B, 6th VA Cavalry


Artifact has been conserved and is on display.

The Fairfield Foundation


Ware Neck Store Sales Receipts; c. 1870s-1930s

Documents cleaned and placed in proper storage. Artifacts scanned by VCU’s Virtual Curation Laboratory. Experts are assisting with the project.

Salem Museum


Records of African-American Midwife, Georgianna Saunders; c. 1916-1940


Records being transcribed and put in a database. People delivered by Georgianna Saunders have contacted the museum.

Tudor Place Historic House & Garden


George Washington’s Revolutionary War Camp Stool; c. 1776

Conserved by the Historic Trades Department of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, through a collaborative research project with the Museum of the American Revolution in association with Tudor Place.

Wilton House Museum


Waistcoat of Lieutenant Governor Alexander Spotswood; c. 18th century


Artifact is currently being conserved.

MacArthur Memorial


World War II Filipino and U.S. Guerilla Unit Flag, c. 1940s

A donor has funded the preservation. The flag is being restored and will be on view by March 2015.

St. John’s Church Foundation


Reverend Robert Rose Monument, 1751

A volunteer is working on the monument and is making progress. The foundation has been in touch with descendants of Robert Rose and hopes to invite the family to visit.

I was happy to help motivate organizations to participate in this year’s Top 10 Program.  I called, e-mailed, and even visited museums and cultural institutions leading up to the Top 10 submission deadline.  Not only did new organizations nominate artifacts this year, but they also joined VAM as new members.  I am thrilled that I was able to assist with applications and encourage new membership.  This year’s Top 10 Program saw the most nominations to date.  Thirty-six museums and cultural sites participated in the program this year.  It was incredible to see the long list of nominees! 

Several organizations invited me to visit this summer.  I visited the Pamunkey Indian Museum and Cultural Center, the Fairfield Foundation, the Middle Peninsula Chapter of the Archeological Society of Virginia, the USS Monitor Conservation Lab, the Mariners’ Museum, and the Muscarelle Museum of Art.  Thank you to the directors, docents, and volunteers for welcoming me.  I enjoyed observing all the artifacts and interacting with staff members.  I appreciate everyone’s kindness.  I look forward to visiting all the organization’s that extended an invite to me over the next year.   

Although my internship at VAM is coming to a close, my museum journey is just beginning.  I am in my final year at VCU.  I am excited about graduating this spring with a degree in history.  I am preparing to apply to graduate schools and search for employment.  I recently became a VAM member.  I am planning on using my membership to aid my museum career. Thank you to the entire VAM staff and board members for your support during my summer internship.  Words cannot express how grateful I am that VAM chose me for this amazing opportunity.  I am appreciative of all your feedback and words of encouragement.  I will cherish the lessons I learned this summer.  This internship strengthened my interest in museum studies and public history.  I am confident that this is the right career path for me.  

1. Working at the VAM office.
2. Viewing Chief Paul Miles’ Regalia at the Pamunkey Indian Museum and Cultural Center in King William County.
3. Observing the Fairfield Foundation’s 1883 Excelsior Cook Blast Stove at its lab in Gloucester County.
4. Observing copper alloy treatment at the USS Monitor Conservation Lab in Newport News, VA.  

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  Top 10 Endangered Artifacts  Virginia Association of Museums 

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Korean Tapestry Repatriated, Conserved

Posted By Heather A. Widener, Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Updated: Thursday, August 21, 2014
One of our most incredible Top 10 stories comes from Norfolk. The Hermitage Foundation Museum and Gardens nominated their beautiful Korean tapestry to the program in 2011. The tapestry was designated a Top 10 Endangered Artifact. Then something incredible happened. Our Top 10 news reached South Korea. You read that right. South Korea. Officials there recognized this as an artifact that had at one time been cut out of a temple setting. They immediately contacted the folks at The Hermitage, and a new 'history' of this precious, old object unfolded from there. Read the Hermitage Foundation Museum and Garden's blog to learn more about this incredible story!

Tags:  Hermitage Museum and Gardens  Top 10 Endangered Artifacts nominee 2011  Virginia Association of Museums 

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