The Virginia Association of Museums is pleased to announce the final awards
selection for the 2022 Virginia's Top 10 Endangered Artifacts program.
Richmond, Virginia's The Poe Museum is the recipient of the People's Choice Award thanks to their successful public outreach that garnered them nearly 5,111 votes in the online competition. Receiving the most votes for their Ambrotype of Edgar Allen Poe, circa 1848, this iconic historic site received a $1,000 award to assist in the conservation of the unique ambrotype of Edgar Allan Poe. The ambrotype of Edgar Allan Poe shows him on the day he became engaged to Rhode Island poet Sarah Helen Whitman in 1848. The image, unknown to scholars until it entered the Poe Museum's collection a few years ago, is now barely visible due to its poor condition, but a conservator can finally reveal this long-unknown Poe image to the world.
Virginia Beach, Virginia's Virginia Beach History Museums has been selected to receive the Juried Award for their 18th Century Calamanco Quilt. The independent advisory committee of conservators and collections and preservation professionals noted the textile's historical significance and immediate need of care in their decision to bestow their $1,000 discretionary award. This deep indigo glazed quilt from the 18th Century, with a “Tree of Life” pattern and elaborate trapunto work is extremely rare—no other similarly patterned quilt has been found. The quilt is dry, brittle, and acidic throughout, with tears and fading expected with a textile this old. But we hope this award will be the impetus to seeing this fantastic quilt restored to its former glory.
Additional support of $250 each has been awarded to the other eight honorees of the program, including:
George Seaton's Bible, 1853
Mount Moriah Baptist Church Pulpit Bible, 1867
World War I Gas Mask of Robert Johnson, 1918
Portrait of James Madison in Retirement, 1833
Independence Proclamation of the President of the Philippines, General Emilio Aguinaldo, 1899
Patrick Henry’s Law Book, 1785
Harrisonburg Spring House Finial, 1832
Last Will and Testament of Arthur Lee, 1792
16,500 votes were cast in the online voting competition for this year's program, highlighting the extensive public support of saving Virginia's historic and cultural treasures. The Top Ten program creates awareness of the often unknown stories or overlooked people found in museum collections and aims to educate the public about the high cost and expertise required of museums and collecting institutions to maintain the artifacts in their care. The financial support provided by VAM for the honoree's endangered artifacts will help support conservation treatment and analysis, and hopefully serve as encouragement for additional donor support from the broader public.