Fun Fact Friday – Museum Building

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original location of museum

After our charter was put into place in June of 1930, a lot of exciting plans were made for our property.  As cultivation began on the park, lake, and dam (Lion’s Bridge), plans were also being drawn up for the proposed museum building.

The above image (dated February 27, 1931) shows the spot where the founders had originally intended for the main museum building to placed.  It was a spot on Lake Maury overlooking Lion’s Bridge and the James River.  Several plans and sketches were drawn up showing an impressive, rectangular building.   Read more

Way Back Wednesday

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Aug 14, 1934 Lopez Mezquita, came to the Museum to paint a few portraits, was a member of the Hispanic Society, which AM Huntington founded

Our first picture this month shows artist Lopez Mezquita in August of 1934.  He was a member of the Hispanic Society, which was founded by Archer Milton Huntington, who also founded our museum.  Mezquita was asked to come to the museum to paint portraits of some of the staff, including resident painter Thomas Skinner (a picture of that is to come later).

This next image shows Admiral E.W. Sylvester and a ship’s officer with lifering from USS Wisconsin.  Not sure what exactly is happening in the photo, but it looks as if the guy on the left cracked a joke that the guy on the right didn’t appreciate.  Wisconsin is now resting in Norfolk where people can explore her decks.   Read more

Way Back Wednesdays

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One thing the museum has recently started doing on Facebook is #Way Back Wednesdays, showcasing photographs from way back when (we’ve been around for 80+ years after all).  We would have done the usual #Throw Back Thursdays, but we were worried that would conflict with our Thursday events, of which we have many (First Thursdays, Thursdays by the Lake, etc.)

These first two pictures never cease to make me laugh.  The one on the left shows our Gondola (ca 1850) being transported to the museum in 1950.  Guess they didn’t have a truck big enough!!  Our gondola, besides being incredibly beautiful, is one of the oldest known to exist, if not the oldest.  It is currently on display in our Small Craft Center.  The picture on the right is an English Naval Cannon (ca 1756-1781) that was raised from the bottom of the York River during diving operations in 1934 getting painted.  We joke about it because the gentleman doing the painting looks as though he could be a male model with his abs and beautiful, flowing hair.  They couldn’t have done that photo better if they had planned it that way.  Hah!   Read more

Enjoying the Beautiful Outdoors

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Lion's Bridge
Lion’s Bridge

With the arrival of Spring and sunny, warm weather, I am reminded of all the fun things the museum has to offer outside of the building (especially as my office is rather chilly). It seems as though a lot of people don’t already know this, but the museum owns 550 acres of property, including the Noland Trail and Lake Maury. Part of the vision of our founder, Archer Huntington, was to create an outside space for the public to be able to enjoy along with the museum. Lake Maury was created by constructing a dam (the Lion’s Bridge) near the James River.

Many people in our community are very familiar with Lion’s Bridge as it is a frequently visited area. I mean, what’s not to love? There are a few places to sit down and enjoy beautiful weather while also getting great views of the James River and Lake Maury while the majestic lions stand guard. Every November festive wreaths are placed around the necks of the lions to help bring in the Holidays, which has become a popular event in the community. As for the history of the lions, they were sculpted by the museum’s founder’s wife, Anna Hyatt Huntington (click HERE to learn more about her), ca 1932.   Read more