Reynolds Business History Center | Virginia Museum of History & Culture
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Reynolds Business History Center

Researcher using RBHC collections

In 2001, the Virginia Museum of History & Culture, with generous funding from the Richard S. Reynolds Foundation and Alcoa, created the Reynolds Business History Center (RBHC).

The museum traditionally has pursued an active program for the acquisition of the records of Virginia's business and commercial enterprises. Materials acquired have ranged in date from the late seventeenth through the late twentieth centuries and have represented a diverse range of business enterprises focusing on a wide variety of related commercial, economic, legal, labor, and industrial issues. 

From railroad construction and operations, canal building and management, tobacco growing and marketing, and general mercantile operations to paper production, iron manufacture, and investment banking, surviving records cover a broad spectrum of Virginia's past. But despite Virginia's origins as a commercial venture, until 2001 there was no central repository to document the state's four-hundred-year business history and no organization systematically collecting business records.

The RBHC has a two-fold mission. The first component is collecting. The RBHC seeks to acquire company records from important and representative businesses from around the commonwealth. Collections are not limited to paper records but also include oral histories, artifacts, and electronic communications.

Collections are professionally processed, cataloged, preserved, and made available to researchers at the Virginia Museum of History & Culture in Richmond, which has a long history as a research library. The holdings of the RBHC currently consist of more than one hundred collections, including such significant Virginia entities as Branch and Company, Best Products, James River Corporation, Lane Furniture, Reynolds Metals, and A. H. Robins Pharmaceuticals.

The second component of the RBHC is programming. The Virginia Museum of History & Culture seeks to create programs for a number of constituencies: scholars, businesspeople, students, and the general public. Programs have included scholarly symposia on business history topics, oral history initiatives to target specific industries or areas, and travel opportunities to visit significant sites associated with Virginia's business history.

Our business collections currently contain a wide selection of business history records that cover a broad spectrum of Virginia's past.
Find out more about RBHC collections guide
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Does your business have records of historical significance? Learn how the VHS may be of assistance.
Find out more about Services of the RBHC
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Learn about acquisition guidelines of the Virginia Museum of History & Culture and how decisions are made about acceptance, retention, and preservation of s
Find out more about Guidelines for acquisitions
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The Reynolds Business History staff has compiled resources to help you with your business history research needs.
Find out more about RBHC resources
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