Exhibition and Programs Calendar for Academic Year 2018
Theme: Pathways To Education: 1868 - 2018

*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.

Upcoming Exhibitions

40th Anniversary Conference Association of African American Museums
Till Earth and Heaven Ring: Celebrating the Progress and Sustaining the Promise of African American Museums

August 8 – 11, 2018
Hampton, Virginia

HU Museum Celebrating 150 Years Logo and Association of African American Museums 40th Anniversary Conference Logo

The Hampton University Museum is in the midst of celebrating 150 years as a collecting and exhibiting institution. As the oldest African American Museum in the United States and one of the oldest museums in Virginia we are very proud of our rich heritage and our very bright future.

In conjunction with the Museum celebrating 150 years the Hampton University Museum will serve as the host for the 2018 Conference of the Association of African American Museums. This conference will bring over 400 museum professionals from throughout the United States and the Caribbean to the city of Hampton and to our campus. Like our president, Dr. William R. and Mrs. Norma R. Harvey, the Association will celebrate its 40th Anniversary. Established in the late 1960s under the leadership of Dr. Margaret Burroughs, founder of the DuSable Museum in Chicago, and Dr. Charles H. Wright founder of the Museum of African American History in Detroit the association serves as a voice for the African American Museums Movement. The theme for our joint anniversaries is TILL EARTH AND HEAVEN RING: Celebrating the Progress and Sustaining the Promise of African American Museums.

For Conference Registration information visit, https://blackmuseums.org.

Pathways to Education Flyer


Opening Reception: January 26, 2018
5:30PM - 7:00PM

Remarks on the lives of two extraordinary men — General Samuel C. Armstrong and Dr. William R. Harvey — by special guests including members from Samuel C. Armstrong's family.

Entertainment by Radiance String Quartet

Free and Open to the Public. To RSVP, call 757-727-5308 by January 20, 2018.

Historic Vignette

History of the Museum: The Curiosity Room

Our general plan... is quite unlike that of the ordinary museum...

Cora Mae Folsom, c. 1920

Hampton University Museum has long been a leading educational and cultural resource of America's South. Representing diverse world cultures, the objects have been gathered by faculty, students, and friends of the school who sought understanding of other cultures. As the oldest African American museum in the country and the only museum in the South open to African Americans until at least the 1920s, the collection has had an important significance well beyond the campus in providing a cultural resource otherwise unavailable to many people.

In August 1868 General Samuel C. Armstrong, the school's founder, wrote, "I wish to make my institution excel in whatever it undertakes." With these words, he began soliciting objects for what he initially called the "Curiosity Room." Armstrong planned for these resources to be "very instructive" and integral to his educational philosophy of "teaching by the most practical method." Instruction in geography, cultures, and history was solidified through close hands-on examination of museum objects while student learned the dignity of labor by hands-on training in the school's many workshops and on the school's farms. The collection also served to teach cultural pride, to reinforce self-esteem and to encourage cross-cultural understanding.

In a series of Annual Reports at the beginning of the twentieth century, curator, Cora Mae Folsom noted the specific application of the objects to course work. The Museum, she wrote around 1920, was to "become was not only a place of enclosed exhibits but a living interest that breaks the monotony of classroom routine and makes a more lasting impression upon the mind of the pupil than is possible to the printed or even the carefully chosen word."

In addition to acquiring early African, American Indian, Pacific Islands and Asian collections, Hampton became the first institution to establish a collection of African American art in 1894. Major acquisitions over the past five decades have resulted in the Museum having one of the finest fine arts collections of its kind in the world. The vision of President William R. Harvey to "create an environment on the Hampton University campus where the arts can flourish" has been the driving force in making Hampton continue, "to excel in whatever it undertakes."

Legacy: 1868 – 2018 — Changing Gallery I

At Hampton... we are trying to solve the problems of an education best suited to the needs of the poorer classes of the south, by sending out to them teachers.

Samuel Chapman Armstrong

Samuel Chapman Armstrong

Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute was founded in April 1868 by 27-year-old Union Army Brevet Brigadier General Samuel Chapman Armstrong. Beginning with two teachers, fifteen students and little money, Armstrong set out to build a school that would be second-to-none. Based upon a philosophy of "Education for Life," Armstrong developed a program which sought to train "the head, the hand, and the heart" His vision for Hampton was grand: to attract the most promising students in the south and, through a strong educational program, create the people who would become teachers and leaders of their communities.

To achieve these goals, instruction in agricultural and mechanical skills was combined with a strong academic program. In this way students could earn money to finance their education, supplement their low teachers' pay in later life, and learn and teach the dignity of labor. Hampton's program was a success. From its beginning until the death of the founder twenty-five years later, Hampton grew from a tiny, impoverished southern school for newly freed people into an institution of national renowned and international influence. The school's graduates pursued careers in teaching, trades, law, religion, politics, business and agriculture and carried with them Hampton's emphasis on life-long service to community. Another measure of the Institute's success was that more than two dozen schools across this nation and around the world were founded on Hampton's model.

Select samples of artifacts from the history collection will be on display supplemented by works by photographers, Frances Benjamin Johnston, Leigh Richmond Miner, James Van Der Zee and Reuben V. Burrell. This exhibition will highlight select vignettes in the rich history of the Hampton Normal Industrial and Agricultural Institute (Hampton Institute, Hampton University).

Legend: 40 Years of Service, Dr. William R. and Mrs. Norma B. Harvey — Changing Gallery II

Dreaming No Small Dreams

William R. Harvey, President, HU, 1990

As the President of Hampton University since 1978, Dr. William R. Harvey has introduced innovations which have solidified Hampton's stellar position among the nation's colleges and universities. His innovative leadership is reflected in the growth and quality of the University's student population, academic programs, physical facilities, and financial base. Dr. Harvey is married to the former Norma Baker of Martinsville, Virginia. Together they have served Hampton for 40 years. This exhibition will highlight in with photographs and objects select accomplishments during the Harvey administration.

On March 24, 1979, Dr. Harvey was inaugurated as the twelfth president of Hampton Institute. A native of Brewton, Alabama, he is a graduate of Southern Normal High School, Talladega College and Virginia State University. After graduating from Talladega College, Dr. Harvey served three years on active duty with the United States Army. During that time, he saw duty in Europe and in the United States. He is currently a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserve. Dr. Harvey earned his doctorate in College Administration from Harvard University in 1972. Prior to assuming his current position, he served as Assistant for Governmental Affairs to the Dean of the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University; Administrative Assistant to the President at Fisk University; and as Administrative Vice President at Tuskegee University.

His commitment to expansion and innovation in academic programs has resulted in 76 new academic programs being implemented under his watch. Some of these new thrusts include undergraduate programs in Computer Science, Marine Science, Entrepreneurship, Chemical, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Airway Science, Emergency Medical Assistance Management; graduate programs in Business Administration (MBA), Applied Mathematics; and doctoral degrees in Physics, Pharmacy, Atmospheric and Planetary Science, Nursing, Physical Therapy, Educational Management, and Business Administration.

In sum, Dr. Harvey has transformed Hampton University from a small black college to a world-class leader in the field of higher education. Today, the University boasts a number of distinctions that set it apart from other mid-sized institutions in the nation. Students are afforded the unique opportunities to engage in an equestrian program and/or to join the sailing team. Faculty are poised at the leading edge of discovery with patents on such items as a breast cancer detection device and prosthesis for artificial limbs. Hampton University was one of only four institutions in the nation to compete for and win the distinction of serving as a National Physics Frontier Center. In 2003, the University secured a $92 million dollar grant to launch weather satellites into orbit—making it the first HBCU to be solely responsible for a major NASA mission. Also, in 2003, a $12 million contract was won by the University to provided 4.5 million textbooks and supplemental materials to African countries. 2010 the University became the world's largest, free-standing proton therapy institute led by Dr. Harvey "Dreaming No Small Dream." Hampton University is a world-class institution because of the vision of its chief executive officer with the support of his wife, Norma B. Harvey and their three children, Kelly Renee, William Christopher and Leslie Denise. The Harvey's also have three grandchildren.

2018 Public Programs

For more information about the Hampton University Museum's public programs please contact Dr. Vanessa Thaxton-Ward, Museum Director, at vanessa.thaxton-ward@hamptonu.edu or Crystal Johnson, Associate Curator and Director of Educational Programs, at crystalc.johnson@hamptonu.edu

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Tree House Presents...
I Am A Dreamer: Two Generations - Story Time & Creative Hands Art Workshop

Saturday, Januray 20, 2018
1:00PM - 2:30PM

Must RSVP to Attend: Refreshments provided by The Hampton Chapter of NHAA, Inc. Contact Crystal Johnson for more information: 757.727.5980 or crystalc.johnson@hamptonu.edu.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Opening Reception - Pathways to Education: 1868-2018 — 5:30PM - 7:00PM

Location: Hampton University Museum

This exhibit will explore through objects and photographs the 150 year history of Hampton University, beginning with its founding through present times. The history of the Hampton University Museum founded in 1868, will also be showcased. A public platform featuring two individuals with unique connections to Hampton University will share personal and family insights on the lives of two extraordinary men and their roles at Hampton University on opening night of the exhibit. The Conversations will be free and open to the public, and offer a cordial atmosphere allowing the audience to engage with featured guests and ask questions.

With musical performance by Radiance String Ensemble.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

The Director's Tea - Pathways to Education: 1868 - 2018 — 12:30PM - 3:30PM

Historic Vignette focusing on the 150th Anniversary of the Hampton University Museum. Cost for The Director's Tea is $40 per person and is open to the public.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Tree-rific Thursday Tree House Movie Time — 10:00AM - 12:00PM

Location: Hampton University Museum - Education Center

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Tree-rific Thursday Tree House Movie Time — 10:00AM - 12:00PM

Location: Hampton University Museum - Education Center

July 16 - 20, 2018

Tree House Summer Camp 2018 — ART + STEM CAMP

Come join us as we bring ART and STEM together to form STEAM as we continue to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Hampton University Museum! This one week fun filled camp will feature HUM’s own artist & educator, Crystal Johnson and special guest artist and educators! Through this unique experience learn and create your own works of art! Spaces are limited so register NOW!

Ages: Children must be 5 – 12 years old
Tuition Fee: $150
Camp Times: 8:15AM - 4:45PM


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 visitmuseum.hamptonu.edu for information.