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Virginia's Top 10 Endangered Artifacts

The 2019 People's Choice Award goes to Patrick Henry's Red Hill & Stratford Hall!

After a competitive review of thirty applications from museums across Virginia, the review panel of conservators and exhibition and collections care experts from the Library of Virginia, Preservation Virginia, Virginia Conservation Association, and Virginia Department of Historic Resources have selected the 2019 honorees of the Virginia’s Top 10 Endangered Artifacts program based on the importance and conservation needs of the artifacts.

These diverse museums ranging in size, location, and subject matter have since competed in an online public voting competition on January 13-22, 2020 where the public voted daily for their favorite museum and artifact. Patrick Henry's Red Hill and Stratford Hall are this year's People's Choice Award honorees having received the most public votes and will receive awards of $2,000 and $1,000 respectively. Additional awards totaling $5,000 are bestowed by the Review Panel to the remaining eight museums based on the significance, future plans, and conservation needs of the artifacts. Pamplin Historical Park and Wilderness Road Regional Museum have been selected to each receive the committee's award of $1,000, and the remaining six museums will each receive awards of $500. Congratulations to all the Honorees!

The Virginia’s Top 10 Endangered Artifacts Honorees for 2019

Download the list of honorees with complete details and list of museum contacts

Anne Spencer Memorial Foundation (Lynchburg, VA) 
“Cocktail Party”; 1944
Oil on canvas painting by African American artist, Dolly Allen Mason, created for Anne Spencer
depicting the Harlem Renaissance era of which the poet was a notable literary figure.

Gunston Hall (Fairfax County, VA)
“Truro Parish Register”; 1818
Manuscript from Fairfax County Anglican church noting enslaved workers of the Mason, Washington,
and Custis families.

Historical Society of Western Virginia (Roanoke, VA)
“Eliza Breckinridge Watts Receipt Book”; 1818-1857
Cookbook and record of life in rural Virginia in the 1800s by Eliza Breckinridge Watts, daughter of Col. James Breckinridge of Fincastle and wife of Roanoke County’s first commonwealth attorney.

Pamplin Historical Park & National Museum of the Civil War Soldier (Petersburg, VA)
Zachary Taylor Presidential Inaugural Ball Banner”; 1849
Banner created by notable Mexican-American War and Civil War veterans, such as William T. Sherman and George B. McClellan, for 12th president of the U.S. and native son of Virginia, Zachary Taylor.

Patrick Henry’s Red Hill (Campbell County, VA)
rick Henry Letter Advocating for Native Americans”; 1792
Rare handwritten letter by Patrick Henry advocating for the rights of Cherokee Indians in the fledgling United States.


Poe Museum (Richmond, VA)
"Lucy Dorothea Henry’s Autograph Album”; 1840-50s
Scrapbook of Patrick Henry’s granddaughter filled with over 250 items and autographs from 18th & 19th century celebrities like Edgar Allen Poe, Charles Dickens, and Lord Byron.

Stratford Hall (Westmoreland County, VA)
“Hannah Ludwell Lee’s Sewing Purse”; 1700s
Sewing kit or “housewife” made and used by original owners of historic Stratford Hall, Hannah Ludwell Lee and Thomas Lee, founders of a Virginia family dynasty.

The Valentine (Richmond, VA)
“Sophie Meredith’s Congressional Union Banner”; 1918
Political banner used by Virginia leader during protests for women's equal suffrage and ratification of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote.

Virginia Beach History Museums (Virginia Beach, VA)
“Folk Art Jugs”; 1700s
Set of leather folk art jugs in the shape of barmaids from 1700s England, and part of Virginia Beach History Museum’s Thoroughgood House collection gathered by esteemed Hampton Roads philanthropist and historic preservationist, Henry Clay Hofheimer II.

Wilderness Road Regional Museum (Pulaski, VA)
“Registry of Free Blacks 1855-1864 and Witness Book 1871-1876”
Journal of life in Pulaski County, Virginia including registry of free blacks leading up and during the Civil War, and legal proceedings and information on life in the post war era.


Virginia Museum Advocacy Day Legislative Reception

The award winners and honored museums will be recognized during a legislative reception on Wednesday, February 5, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture, 428 N. Arthur Ashe Boulevard, Richmond, VA 23220.   following Virginia Museums Advocacy Day at the General Assembly. This follows Virginia Museums Advocacy Day, an annual event led by the Virginia Association of Museums to celebrate the positive impact of Virginia's museum community on education, economy, and quality of life. Learn more and register. 


This marks the ninth year of the Virginia Association of Museums successful campaign to create awareness of the importance of Virginia’s museums and historic sites and the unique historic, cultural and artistic items in their care. The “Top 10” program has benefited over 170 institutions to date, shedding light on the expense museums undertake every day, and connecting them with future donors wishing to help in their stewardship efforts.

Virginia's Top 10 Endangered Artifacts is a program of the Virginia Association of Museums, and was originally funded through an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant. The program has been replicated in three other states, recognized as one of the grants most successful initiatives, and recognized with a Virginia PR Award by the Richmond Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.

For more information, contact: Christina Newton, Assistant Director

804.358.3173 or