Deadline for Submission: Friday, April 12, 2024

Symposium Date: Saturday, September 7, 2024

This year, exhibitions at the Virginia Museum of History & Culture showcase ingenuity in the Commonwealth, demonstrating how visionary Virginians created everything from crafts and communities to colonies and countries. A Better Life for their Children celebrates a partnership that led to the establishment of 380 Rosenwald schools in Virginia. Secrets and Symbols exhibits decorative objects made in the Commonwealth by talented Virginians and reveals their hidden messages. And the Traveling Bricks exhibition joins the VMHC as LEGO® establishes a Virginia manufacturing plant, the first and only in the U.S.

Virginia has always been a place for making, building, and creating. Leading Virginians helped found the United States and shaped American government. Enslaved African Americans, indentured servants, and free laborers secured prosperity for elites by transforming the natural environment and building crucial infrastructure across the state. The tobacco industry in Richmond, shipbuilding in Tidewater, and textile production in Southside Virginia have all characterized Virginia manufacturing. Black Virginians and Virginia Indians built communities that have endured as an essential part of the Commonwealth’s social fabric to this day. And, peaking in the 21st Century, Virginia Beach made music history by injecting its unique sounds into American R&B and hip-hop.

2024 will see a return of the VMHC’s History Matters Symposium, a one-day event where historians, practitioners, and members of the public gather to explore our shared past. Featuring panels and presentations that highlight groundbreaking research into Virginia history, tailored gallery tours that celebrate Virginia creations, and a special keynote lecture, the symposium links past with present to inspire future generations.

The VMHC welcomes presentations, panels, and posters from public and academic historians alike that address the theme of “creation” in Virginia history. Presentations can relate to either:

  • making, building, and creating in Virginia history
  • the creation of new archives, initiatives, projects, and partnerships by Virginia historians

Our symposium is an opportunity for historians to share their work in a supportive, public-centric environment that values accessibility and engaging storytelling. The VMHC looks forward to welcoming you to share new perspectives on the unparalleled history of Virginia.

To Submit a Proposal:

  • The deadline for submissions is Friday, April 12, 2024. Decisions will be communicated in May 2024. Please direct any questions to symposium@virginiahistory.org.  
  • For all submissions, please submit a presentation title, a 250-word abstract, and a biographical paragraph or CV (no more than 250 words) in a single PDF/Word document here.  

When reviewing proposals, the VMHC will value the contemporary relevance of the topic and the public speaking experience of the presenters. If you would like to include an example of past public speaking (such as recorded presentations and podcasts), we would welcome them, but they are not a requirement.

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