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

Hampton’s Japanese Connections and Collections, 2nd Floor, Hampton History Gallery

The exhibition, Hampton’s Japanese Connections and Collections is an exhibition of artifacts that shares the school’s historic connection to interest Japan. This connection can be traced to pioneering faculty member Alice Mable Bacon (1858-1918) who taught at Hampton 1870-1871 and 1883-1899. A leader in the education of women, Alice was invited to teach English at the Peeresses’ School for Japanese aristocratic girls in Tokyo from 1888-1889. During this time, Bacon had the distinction of being the first Western woman to live in a Japanese household. In 1900 she was invited back to Tokyo for two years to teach at the Women’s Higher Normal School and to help establish the Women’s Home School of English (today’s Tsuda College), which graduated many of Japan’s most prominent women in the early 20th century. She returned for a final visit to Japan after the conclusion of the Russo-Japanese War in 1905 to gather more information for her writings about Japanese society.

The historical objects as well as photographs of Bacon, her adopted Japanese daughter Mitsu Watanabi, her Japanese colleagues, and Japanese students enrolled at Hampton (Seijiro Saito, Class of 1890 and Jenrichiro Oyabe, Class of 1891) will be featured in the exhibition. The exhibition is curated by former Curator of Collections and Director, Mary Lou Hultgren.

New Power Generation 2016:  A National Juried Exhibition

Upcoming Exhibitions

Acquisitions from the New Millennium will be on display from
April 22 – November 28, 2017
Opening Reception and Artist Talk: Saturday, September 10, 2016, 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

In celebration of the Hampton University Museum’s home in the Huntington Building since 1997 we are pleased to exhibit select new acquisitions acquired between 1997 to the present. We last showed new acquisitions from the collection in the exhibition, Collecting by Gift and Purchase: 1997 -2000.That exhibition included many more African textiles, baskets as well as fine art pieces. We have acquired more works since 2000 - too many to display in this gallery. You will find some of them on display in our permanent galleries located on the second floor, Two Hundred Years of African American Art

Our new acquisitions are acquired in various ways including cultivating long term relationships with donors who know of our reputation. Gifts are often accepted from Hampton alumni and friends that have supported us through the years. Other works are purchased through auction, from individual artists and through our bi-annual exhibition, New Power Generation: A National Juried Exhibition.

Hampton’s reputation for collecting the best is represented in this exhibition and includes a work by Henry O. Tanner and Jules Lion. Additionally artists like Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, Charles White, Sam Gilliam and Benny Andrews are just a few represented. We are very fortunate to have acquired more works by artists like Meta Warrick Fuller, Lois Mailou Jones, Mildred Howard and Howardena Pindell. These women are amazing and their contemporaries are right there with them. Beverly Buchanan, Terri Richardson, Chakaia Booker and Iola Rozell Brown have also been added to Hampton’s collection.

As we prepare to celebrate 150 years as a museum in 2018 we think back to our founder, Samuel Chapman Armstrong, who requested objects instead of money. We also reflect on the dedicated work of the staff responsible for the move into this edifice that allows the University to showcase a collection which is “second to none.” The Hampton University Museum officially opened in the Huntington Building the weekend of April 24 – 26, 1997.

Additional Programmimg

A Day of Celebration, Reflections and Art

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Milestones: The Move to the Huntington Building Continental Breakfast Lecture 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., Education Center


To register please emailVaness Thaxton-Ward or call 757.727.5308.

Join our panel of former and current change makers who will share the details on how the Huntington Library was transformed into the Hampton University Museum. Jeanne Zeidler, the former director along with her team: Mary Lou Hultgren, Jeffrey Bruce, Paulette Molin, Juliette Harris, Donzella Maupin and Vanessa Thaxton-Ward will share this historic event. This panel will be moderated by Associate Curator, Crystal Johnson Horne.

Dedication: The Laurel Tucker Duplessis Gift Shop

3 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Education Center and Museum Store

Free and Open to the Public

Join us in a Champagne Toast as we unveil the Laurel Tucker Duplessis Gift Shop. View drawings by students from the Hampton University Architecture Department under the direction of Assistant Professor Marci Turner. This endowment was established by the Tucker and Duplessis Family and friends.

Co-sponsored by The Hampton Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Exhibition Opening Reception

4 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Changing Gallery and throughout the Museum (pieces on permanent display will be noted)

Enjoy live music by Bob Ransom while you view the art

R.S.V.P. for the event you would like to attend at 757 727.5308

Co-sponsored by The Hampton Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Programs and Activities

Public Programs

Stimulate Your Mind with Creative Hands...

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

Summer Programs at the Hampton University Museum
July 17 - 21, 2017

Summer Tree House. For children 6 - 12 years old. Camp times: 8:15AM - 4:45PM. Tuition Fee: $150. Tree House Movies: Night at the Museum, The Princess and the Frog, and Home.


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.