Monuments and Memorials

VAM Community Blogs,

Virginia's Museums, Historic Sites, Archives, and Libraries all serve to preserve, advance, and present their special areas of interest from the perspectives of research, truth, and intelligent interpretation. They strive to educate the public on the importance of the artifacts, resources, artworks, people, and the contextual stories behind each of them.

These cultural institutions exist to educate and enlighten both individuals and communities, locally and globally, so that the lessons learned in years past are carried forward into the future.

VAM presents this resource, Community Conversations, as a place to preserve cultural conversations that have come to the forefront of Virginia's collective citizenry. The issues listed here have raised, at crucial times, the struggles of humanity and have called our museums to support their communities with valuable perspectives, reassurances, and offerings of what was, is, and will remain as the glue that holds us all together.

On Monuments and Memorials: The Confederate Monument Conversation

This page features resources and links around this divisive topic and is updated as we get more information--please let us know if you have resources you would like to add to this conversation.


Notes from Monuments Town Hall Meeting
Hosted by Virginia Association of Museums and Virginia Conservation Association
Varina Public Library, Henrico County, Virginia; September 7, 2017

*For suggestions on hosting your own community conversation, see resources list below.


Tips for Hosting Community Conversations about Monuments & Memorials

VAM Statement about Charlottesville Events (August 2017)
The Virginia Association of Museums is saddened by the events in Charlottesville, and we offer our condolences to all those affected by this tragedy, including our members in and around the area. It is our belief that the best foil for intolerance and hate is good education. As an organization, we support all of our museums in creating constructive dialogue around this polarizing issue, and we see museums as the perfect place for this respectful dialogue to take place going forward. We are proud of our members who are already beginning this conversation.
See full statement.

Related article in the 2015 Fall VAM Voice
Virginia Museums and Confederate Symbols in 2015, by Heather Widener
On June 17, 2015, Dylann Roof entered the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and gunned down nine members of a Bible study group. As has become common in these horrendous spectacles, it took only hours for the media to begin dissecting the motives and background of the killer.
Prominent was the young man’s racist views, and soon images of him displaying various symbols used by white supremacist groups, including Confederate battle flags, dominated newspapers, magazines, and the internet worldwide....

Related 2015 blog post from our Perspectives from the Field
The Nexus of Crisis: Conversations in Controversies -Internal link to

Resources from the American Alliance of Museums


Official Opinion of Virginia Attorney General Office

On Monument Avenue - Extensive resource developed by The American Civil War Museum

Articles from Recent News Coverage:


FromJames Madison's Montpelier
We opened a major permanent exhibition in early June entitled The Mere Distinction of Colour. It considers American slavery in the context of Madison and the Constitution, the lived experience of slavery at at Montpelier, and the legacies of slavery in our contemporary society.
We believe that visiting our exhibition provides an excellent opportunity to consider race in America and to reflect on the ways that slavery's legacies are still with us.
We invite all colleagues in VAM as well as members of the public to engage with the exhibition and the opportunities for conversation that it provokes.
Here are some examples from the Washington Post of reactions it has inspired:

Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello
A Statement from Leslie Greene Bowman
We are deeply saddened by the violence in Charlottesville and the ongoing events that continue to threaten our community. We stand against all forms of hatred, racism and bigotry.

Virginia Foundation for the Humanities
A Message from Matthew Gibson
Friends of Virginia Foundation for the Humanities,
This weekend’s events in Charlottesville are a tragic reminder of what bigotry and intolerance can do to a community. The loss of life and the emotional and physical violence our nation witnessed Friday night and Saturday challenge our assumptions about the world in which we live and make us question the progress we have made as a civil society....

Stratford Hall
Statement Regarding Events in Charlottesville
Together with Virginians and citizens across our country, Stratford Hall is profoundly saddened by the tragic events that occurred in Charlottesville this past weekend. Yet at the same time we are heartened, together with countless others, by the resolve and resilience expressed in response to hatred and ignorance....

Fralin Museum of Art
Dear Fralin Members, Supporters and Visitors:
I am sure that, like me, you watched with horror, the events that befell our great University and beloved Charlottesville last weekend. We at The Fralin send our sympathies to those who have been affected by these acts of violence....

The Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia
Dear friends,
Last weekend white supremacists, neo-Nazis and other hate groups invaded our University and community. While we affirm every American’s constitutional right to freedom of speech and peaceful protest, we abhor and condemn the actions of those who brought bigotry and violence to our community. We wish to express our deepest sympathies to the victims of violence and their loved ones....