"In the Beginning, all America was Virginia."
William Byrd II
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Immerse yourself in Virginia's history by visiting one of our exhibitions.


The Story of Virginia

The Portent: John Brown's Raid in American Memory By William M. S. Rasmussen

William M.S. Rasmussen

On October 15, 2009, William M. S. Rasmussen delivered a lecture in conjunction with the current exhibition The Portent: John Brown's Raid in American Memory. One hundred and fifty years ago, John Brown's Raid on Harpers Ferry failed utterly. But the violent event and the executions it prompted shocked the nation. They reinforced white southern fears about slave insurrection, emboldened secessionists, and made Brown a martyr in the eyes of many northerners. Ever since, Brown has been a symbol of contrast and controversy. Dr. Rasmussen is Lora M. Robins Curator at the VHS and curator of the exhibition that marks these tumultuous events leading up to the Civil War.
(Introduction by Paul A. Levengood)