Museum Receives Gift from Stewart Jones Trust

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The James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library has received a $4,000 gift from the Stewart Jones Charitable Trust. The donation will be applied to costs associated with the museum’s public programs in 2013, according to museum director Scott Harris. A native of Stafford County, Va., Helen Stewart Jones graduated from Mary Washington in 1936, received a master’s degree in 1950 from George Washington University and a Ph.D. in education from American University in 1970. Throughout her life and career, Jones was dedicated to educating young people at all levels and to preserving historic sites, buildings and history in general. Active in many local historical and preservation organizations, she was a Life Member of the Friends of the James Monroe Museum, a designation for those who rendered outstanding service to the museum through their financial support and acts of service. In 1991, the University of Mary Washington honored Jones with the Distinguished Alumna Award. “The James … [Read more...]

Virginia’s Executive Mansion Unveils James Monroe Museum’s Portrait

Art handlers from Ely, Inc. and staff members from the Executive Mansion and the Library of Virginia installed the portrait in February

Virginia’s Executive Mansion in Richmond has a new addition – an almost 200-year-old painting on loan from the James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library. A portrait of James Monroe will reside in the State Dining Room of the Executive Mansion for two years to commemorate the bicentennial of the building’s construction in 2013. On Thursday, June 21, Gov. Bob McDonnell and First Lady Maureen McDonnell formally unveiled the Rembrandt Peale portrait in a private reception. Members of the James Monroe Museum staff, including Director Scott Harris and Curator Jarod Kearney, were on-hand to help install the portrait in February. “The process of transporting and installing the painting was carried out flawlessly by personnel from our art handlers, Ely, Inc., and staff at the Executive Mansion,” Harris said. “Peale’s portrait of Monroe is at a near life-size scale, and with its frame is quite heavy. Once it was in place, First Lady Maureen McDonnell texted the Governor, who was at the … [Read more...]

James Monroe Museum Celebrates Monroe’s 254th Birthday

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The James Monroe Museum celebrated the 254th anniversary of President James Monroe’s birth on Saturday, April 28 with a free day of food, performances and living history demonstrations for the whole family. The event included birthday cake and punch and a harp and storytelling performance by Eve Watters. The recital, “I Love My Love with an A,” featured authentic sounds from the parlors and hearths of Monroe, Jefferson, Madison and their neighbors. Based on Watters’ original research, the presentation reveals glimpses of historic everyday Virginia from a fresh and fascinating perspective. Watters is an award-winning performer who has enchanted listeners from New England to Australia with her extensive repertoire of songs and stories ranging from Celtic to classical, contemporary and beyond. Actor Jay Harrison, in the character of James Monroe, gave presentations about Monroe’s life and achievements, from his service as a young soldier in the Revolutionary War to his two terms … [Read more...]

James Monroe Museum Receives City Economic Development Grants


The James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library has been awarded two event support grants totaling $3,000 by the Fredericksburg Economic Development Authority (EDA) on April 9.  Both grants were awarded under the EDA’s JumpStart! program, which stimulates economic development by supporting events and projects undertaken by city businesses and nonprofit organizations. One grant, for $1,000, supports performers at two museum events commemorating the birthdays of James Monroe and his wife, Elizabeth Kortright Monroe. The presidential birthday event, on April 28, features the performance “I Love My Love with an ‘A,’” by harpist Eve Watters. This lively presentation of authentic sounds from the parlors and hearths of Monroe, Jefferson, Madison and their neighbors reveals glimpses of historic everyday Virginia from a fresh and fascinating perspective. The day-long event also includes living history presentations by Monroe character interpreter Jay Harrison. The award also supports Mrs. … [Read more...]

James Monroe Museum Acquires Revolutionary War Document


The James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library today announced the acquisition of a significant artifact from the Revolutionary War. The museum has obtained a furlough signed by then-Major James Monroe on February 23, 1778, at Valley Forge. The furlough is believed to be the earliest-known official document bearing Monroe’s signature. Support from the Friends of the James Monroe Museum was instrumental in purchasing the furlough from a nationally recognized documents dealer. The effort involved several weeks of negotiation and fundraising. “Securing such a rare and interesting artifact as this furlough for the museum’s collection would be good news under any circumstances,” said Scott Harris, director of the James Monroe Museum. “To do so with the help of so many supporters is especially gratifying.” The furlough, or military pass, was issued to Second Lieutenant John Wallace, Jr. of the Sixth Pennsylvania Regiment, an infantry unit in the division of Major General William … [Read more...]

James Monroe Museum to Host Holiday Events

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The James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library will host two public holiday events on Saturday, December 3, including a decorating demonstration at the University of Mary Washington and an open house and jazz concert at the museum. “Deck the Halls 2011,” the 31st annual holiday decorating demonstration by noted local floral designer Jan Williams, will take place from 9:30 a.m. to noon in George Washington Hall’s Dodd Auditorium. Tickets are $25. Williams, who helped decorate the White House for Christmas for many years, is the owner of Jan Williams Florals in Fredericksburg. She will demonstrate how to craft unique holiday decorations from native evergreens and plants. Following the workshop, program participants will have the opportunity to take home her creations through a random drawing. The museum, located at 908 Charles St. in downtown Fredericksburg, will host its holiday open house from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The jazz ensemble from the Quantico Marine Corps Band will present a … [Read more...]

UMW Professor Emeritus Receives National DAR Award

John Pearce

John N. Pearce, former director of the James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library and former professor of historic preservation at the University of Mary Washington, has been honored with the prestigious History Award from the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The distinction, given for lifetime contribution to American history, is awarded to only seven Americans each year. Diana Wallace Perrussel, regent of the Overwharton Parish Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, presented the gold medal to Pearce on Saturday, November 12 at the residence of UMW alumna Judy Barton who nominated her former professor. “Who deserves this award more than John Pearce?” said Barton ’93 who spent more than a year pursuing the nomination. She considers herself lucky to have been his student. “He’s so full of knowledge in all subjects,” she said. Pearce was recognized for his leadership of the James Monroe Museum and his long-standing devotion to … [Read more...]