Exhibition and Programs Calendar for Academic Year 2015 - 2016

*All Programs are Subject to Change

Historic Vignette: Civil War, Emancipation and Education:
Samuel Chapman Armstrong and the Pen of Liberty

On Permanent Display, Second Floor Rotunda

Hampton University Museum will display the Pen of Liberty and the Military Frock Coat worn by Union Army Brevet Brigadier General Samuel Chapman Armstrong the founder of Hampton Normal Industrial and Agricultural Institute. General Armstrong was working in Hampton with the Freedman's Bureau at the close of the Civil War. A commander of African American troops during the war and the son of an educator, he developed a strong interest in African American education. He proposed the purchase of a 120-acre farm called "Little Scotland," located on the Hampton River near the area where Mary Peake had taught. In 1868, General Armstrong became the first principal of Hampton Normal and Agricultural School and he guided it for the school's first twenty-five years until his death in 1893.

Emancipation did not happen at once everywhere in the United States and its territories. It came to different regions at different times. Hampton University successfully acquired one of three pens of identical construction which President Abraham Lincoln used in 1862 and 1863 to sign the three proclamations which emancipated enslaved African Americans. The Pen of Liberty although very simple in construction is a symbol of the strength and tenacity not only of the founder of Hampton but for the generations of graduates from this university and the members of the surrounding community.

Historic Vignette

One Shot: A Selection of Photographs By Reuben V. Burrell, (February 27, 1919 – February 3, 2015)

May 2015 – November 2015, Hampton History Gallery

A treasured campus figure for several decades, Reuben V. Burrell captured on film the spirit of Hampton University – the essence of its students, faculty, alumni and staff, and the heart of the campus which he loved.

As Hampton's Griot, there was hardly a face that he did not recognize. From alumni from the 1970s and 80s to faculty in the 2000s, "Mr. B," as he was affectionately known, knew their names-and often the names of their parents or siblings who also may have attended Hampton. A modest, humble and generous man, Mr. Burrell, was known to photograph alumni weddings, mentor aspiring photography students and profess the power of black and white photography.

Born in Washington, D. C., Mr. Burrell was "a child of the depression," He was accepted into Hampton Institute in 1938k, and he was one of the first members of the new camera club that sprang up among students at Hampton Institute in the early 1940s. Completing his course requirements in auto mechanics in 1940, Mr. Burrell was sent by Hampton to Hemphill Diesel School in New York. He returned to Hampton and taught, as a civilian, in a Naval program on campus until he was drafted into the Navy. Upon his discharge, Burrell resumed his studies at Hampton Institute and earned a B. S. in industrial arts in 1947. After earning an M. A. in industrial arts education from New York University in 1949, Burrell returned to Hampton to teach but found that the Diesel Engines course and some of the other Trade School courses had been dissolved. Burrell became Hampton Institute's full-time photographer in the 1960s under President Jerome Holland's administration.

Elizabeth Catlett

Elizabeth Catlett

Elizabeth Catlett: A Celebration of 100 Years and Elizabeth Catlett and the Hampton Art Tradition
January 30, 2015 - November 14, 2015

Main Changing Gallery and Blue Gallery

In celebration of Elizabeth Catlett's one hundredth birthday, the Hampton University Museum will highlight works on paper from our extensive Catlett collection. Noted for having the largest collection of Elizabeth Catlett works on paper Hampton is pleased to show some of our favorites that have been shown at Hampton or loaned to institutions throughout the United States along with twenty-five pieces that have never been shown at Hampton. Twenty-five works pulled from art storage were framed for this special year long commemoration of Ms. Catlett's life and work. The corresponding exhibition that will be held in the adjoining gallery, Elizabeth Catlett and the Hampton Art Tradition will include rarely seen works by Charles White, John Biggers, Samella Lewis, Persis Jennings and Annabelle Baker.

One of the most influential artists of the 20th century, known primarily as a printmaker and sculptor, Catlett is acclaimed both for her technical brilliance and the emotional impact of her work. Proud of her African American heritage Catlett made compassionate, heroic images of ordinary people. Catlett's work, expresses the themes of injustice, black women as figures of strength, and the mother and child bond. Her work also reflects her shared pride, grief, joy and outrage of the human condition for both African Americans and Mexicans. Catlett stated, "I stress simultaneous identification with Mexican and African American concerns."

The opening reception for this exhibition is sponsored in part by Hampton Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

The Curator's Tea
Saturday, April 25, 2015, 12:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

With special guest, Francisco Mora Catlett

View/Download the Invite »

Click images to enlarge.

Public Programs

Stimulate Your Mind with Creative Hands...

What Time Is It? It's Tree House Time!

  • Saturday, April 18, 2015, 1pm - 3pm(In Conjunction with the International Children's Festival in downtown Hampton)
  • Saturday, May 16, 2015, 1pm - 3pm

RSVP to Crystal Johnson Horne at 727.5980 or crystalc.johnson@hamptonu.edu


The Curiosity Room at the Hampton University Museum
The Curiosity Room is located on the 2nd floor of the Hampton University Museum. It is a place donated and manned by the Greater Williamsburg Women's Association, where children can learn to appreciate and explore the many facets of art. The room is designed for pre-school through first grade children. In addition to structured activities in the room, children receive guided tours designed for their age level. The room is open on Thursday's from 10 a.m. - 12 noon by appointment only.

We are interested in serving local Head start, pre-school and kindergarten programs. For reservations please contact Vanessa Thaxton-Ward at 757.727.5508. Maximum class size is ten and the minimum class size is three. The room is sponsored by GWWA (The Greater Williamsburg Women's Association).

Hampton University Museum

Founded in 1868, the Hampton University Museum is the nation's oldest African American museum. With galleries dedicated to African American, African, American Indian and Asian and Pacific art and artifacts, the museum contains more than 9,000 objects representing cultures and people from around the world. Within its fine arts collection is the largest existing collection of works in any museum by the artists John Biggers, Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence and Samella Lewis.

The Hampton University Museum is located in the newly restored Huntington Building (the former library) on the grounds of historic Hampton University campus. From Interstate 64, take exit 267/Hampton University and follow the signs to the museum. The museum is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 12 noon to 4 p.m.; closed on Sundays and major holidays. Admission is free. Call 757.727.5308 or visit museum.hamptonu.edu for information.