Capitol Square Fair a Success!


Virginia Capitol Square Preservation Council was pleased to host the Virginia Capitol Square Fair, a community outreach and education event on Saturday, September 24, 2016. The event was a partnership with non-profit and public educators to offer families and visitors an array of history and conservation learning opportunities and to explore Virginia’s history and the natural environment. This event was free and open to the public and located on the historic grounds of the State Capitol to celebrate the Bicentennial of Capitol Square. Free parking was provided for all visitors.

Partners across the commonwealth highlighted their important work by providing engaging, SOL-based activities for children and families. While this event was focused on the outdoors, the Virginia State Capitol was open for tours and self-guided opportunities. Visitors had the opportunity to talk with Thomas Jefferson on why he designed the Capitol the way he did, hear Patrick Henry’s famous speech, and walk the historic grounds with Maggie Walker. Along with our special guests, visitors participated in a Capitol Police equipment and K9 demonstration, discovered how to maintain a healthy habitat in their own backyard, and searched for artifacts while learning the power of archaeology to uncover our past. We sincerely thank the following organizations for providing exciting activities: The Valentine Museum, National Park Service, Virginia Historical Society, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Department of Historic Resources, Department of Forestry, Children’s Museum of Richmond, John Marshall House, James Monroe Museum, St. John’s, Montpeleier, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Henricus Historical Park, Preservation Virginia, Commonwealth Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, Department of Conservation and Recreation, Wilton House Museum, Fairfield Foundation, Library of Virginia, The Division Capitol Police Commonwealth of Virginia, the Commonwealth of Virginia Executive Mansion.

We also thank all students, teachers, and visitors who came to enjoy the Virginia Capitol Square Fair.
Please contact the Capitol Square Preservation Council Education Coordinator, Maggie Jackson, with any questions by phone at (804) 225-8051 or by email.

The Women’s Monument – Voices from the Garden

Conceptual rendering of the monument ©EISStudio and 1717 Design Group
Conceptual rendering of the monument ©EISStudio and 1717 Design Group

Voices from the Garden will acknowledge the genius and creativity of Virginia women and their presence and contributions to the Commonwealth. The monument is a metaphor for the often unrecognized voices that have been responsible for shaping our culture, country, and state for over 400 years. It is intended to be a thought-provoking and interactive experience that complements the more traditional heroic monuments on Capitol Square. Voices from the Garden is the first monument of its kind in the nation recognizing the full range of women’s achievements. Voices takes the form of an oval shaped garden that encompasses twelve bronze statues of significant women from the state, surrounded by a glass panel, etched with names of other noteworthy Virginia women. The whole monument is meant to be interactive for the visitor, by walking among the statues, each a work of art, or by using a mobile app to learn more about these women’s achievements and to hear their stories, in many cases through their own words.


or Donate in honor of another


The twelve women selected to represent over 400 years of Virginia history reflect various spheres of influence and geographic areas of the state:
Anne Burras Laydon (ca. 1594 – after 1625) Jamestown – Arrived as a 14-year-old maid in 1608 aboard the Mary and Margaret. Anne and her mistress were the first two female settlers in the colony. She was a seamstress in the colony, who survived harsh treatment and the “starving time” to marry and raise a family.
Cockacoeske (fl. 1656 – d. 1686) Middle Peninsula – A Pamunkey chief who signed the Treaty of Middle Plantation in 1677, reuniting, under her authority, several tribes, as well as establishing the Pamunkey Reservation. She ruled for 30 years.
Mary Draper Ingles (ca. 1732 – 1815) New River Valley – Moved as a teenager to Virginia as a part of the Scots-Irish migration. In July 1755, Mary was taken captive by Shawnee Indians during the French and Indian War. She escaped, travelling 600 miles back to her home. She established the Ingles Ferry which was vital to her rural community.
Martha Dandridge Custis Washington (1731-1802) Fairfax – While she was not referred to as First Lady, she was the first woman to hold the position, during George Washington’s presidency, and will serve as the representative for the wives of all eight Virginia-born presidents.
Clementina Bird Rind (ca. 1740-1774) Williamsburg -Took over the editorship and management of the Virginia Gazette, after the death of her husband; under her leadership the newspaper remained official printer of the colony.
Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley (1818-1907) Dinwiddie County – A slave who bought her freedom, she became Mary Todd Lincoln’s seamstress and confidant during the White House years. She established the Contraband Relief Association, which provided support for recently freed slaves and wounded soldiers.
Sally Louisa Tompkins (1833-1916) Mathews County – Captain Sally Tompkins established Robertson Hospital in Richmond to treat wounded soldiers when few, if any, women held the top administrative position. Her hospital had the lowest death rate of any during the Civil War due to her skill and standards.
Maggie L. Walker (1864-1934) Richmond – The first African-American woman to charter a bank in the United States, with the founding of the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank in Richmond.
Sarah Garland Boyd Jones (1866-1905) Richmond – The first African-American woman to pass the Virginia Medical Examining Board’s examination. She helped found a medical association for African-American doctors, opening a hospital and nursing school in 1903 which ultimately became Richmond Community Hospital.
Laura Lu Copenhaver (1868-1940) Smyth County/Marion – Expanded southwestern Virginia’s agricultural economy, as director of information for the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, by emphasizing cooperative marketing of farm products to improve the standard of living for farm families. She established Rosemont Industries.
Virginia Estelle Randolph (1875-1958) Henrico County – Virginia developed a nationally-recognized approach to education, creating a successful formula based on practicality, creativity, and involvement from parents and the community.
Adèle Goodman Clark (1882-1983)-Richmond – Active suffragist who became president of the League of Women Voters in 1921. Adele was instrumental in the establishment of the Virginia Art Commission, She is considered to be one of the founders of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

To see more details about the Monument and and other information about the Women’s Commission, please visit the Women’s Monument Commission Website.

You can also Subscribe to receive meeting notifications concerning the Women’s Commission from the General Assembly’s Interim Studies page.

Virginia’s Capitol Receives Updated National Historic Landmark Designation

– National Historic Landmark is highest honor bestowed on a Historic Site –

Virginia’s Capitol Receives Updated National Historic Landmark Designation.
Virginia’s Capitol Receives Updated National Historic Landmark Designation.

The United States National Park Service (NPS) announced that is has approved a revised National Historic Landmark designation for Virginia’s Capitol. To more fully reflect the wide array of resources and their abiding national significance, the name and categorization of the Capitol property has been updated by NPS from “The Capitol of the Confederacy” to the “Virginia State Capitol.”

See the full Virginia General Assembly press release here.

Please read the articles from The Washington Post and Richmond Times-Dispatch written about this new designation.

The nomination for the updated National Historic Landmark designation was prepared and submitted jointly by the Capitol Square Preservation Council and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.

The Women’s Monument Legacy Project

Voices from the Garden offers a very special opportunity to honor important women in our lives.  Mothers, mothers-in-law, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, daughters, friends, and mentors all touch our lives in significant and lasting ways.

Your tribute donation will help tell the complete story in Capitol Square through a monument that will recognize women who have achieved or contributed in a significant manner while living in Virginia.  Voices will be the first in the nation to recognize 400+ years of women’s history. … something that can inspire current and future generations of women to emulate and surpass the achievements of the past.

For each card you purchase, the Virginia Capitol Foundation will hand write your personal message and send a beautiful card to the women you choose to celebrate.

By honoring someone who is/was your inspiration, you are also changing the conversation and impacting how we see ourselves and our position in the community.

You can get more information on the Women’s Monument here.

Order Official Capitol Square Ornaments

The new 2016 Thomas Jefferson ornament
The new 2016 Thomas Jefferson ornament
The official Capitol Square ornaments are a series of annual collectible ornaments, featuring the historic treasures of Capitol Square. Finished in brilliant 24K gold, made entirely in the U.S.A, and presented in a handsome gift box, the ornaments are a perfect gift for colleagues and friends. All proceeds support the Virginia Capitol Foundation’s mission to enhance the educational and cultural potential of Capitol Square’s historic treasures through program development and community engagement.

The First Annual Ornament, introduced in 2012, features the Jefferson-designed Capitol. The Second Annual Virginia Capitol Ornament, introduced in 2013, features the historic Bell Tower. The Third Annual Ornament introduced in 2014, features true historic Executive Mansion. The fourth Annual Ornament introduced in 2015, features the George Washington Equestrian Monument. The newest in the series of ornaments for 2016 is a commemorative tribute to Thomas Jefferson, “Architect of Liberty”.

The Thomas Jefferson statue in the Capitol extension serves as a focal point for visitors and greets tour groups every day.
The Thomas Jefferson statue in the Capitol extension serves as a focal point for visitors and greets tour groups every day.

Download the 2016 Ornament Order form.

See all prior years’ ornaments available for purchase.

Order the ornament online at Virginia Capitol Foundation’s
Secure giving site..

If you have any questions or concerns regarding ornament orders or other donation opporunities, please contact us.

New Capitol Exhibit

churchill_exhibit_300_200The Virginia General Assembly, in partnership with the Capitol Square Preservation Council, presents an exhibit in the east exhibit gallery of the Virginia State Capitol entitled, A Stand for Peace: Winston Churchill and the Call for Unity. Opening on the 70th anniversary of Churchill’s historic March 8, 1946, address to a joint session of the General Assembly in the House Chamber, this exhibit uses photographs and the words of participants and observers to look at the events of that significant day at the dawn of the Cold War era.

Download a brochure for the event with directions.


Capitol Virtual Tour Website

The General Assembly has released a state of the art virtual tours website that brings Virginia’s State Capitol to the citizens of Virginia. The website provides online tours of both the Capitol Grounds and the Capitol Building. Visitors to this interactive website will have the ability to explore areas on their own or view video presentations.

Please note the virtual tours website requires the Adobe Flash Player. You can download the Flash Player at the Adobe website at no charge. If you do not have the Flash Player plug-in installed, you will be prompted to install it before any content is shown.

For visitors with special needs: An accessible segment of this website has been created for those visitors who use technology other than standard web browsers to view web content.


Keepers of the Flame available on YouTube

Capitol visitors can learn more about Virginia’s central role in American history, thanks to a film, Keepers of the Flame, produced by the Virginia Capitol Foundation with assistance from actor, filmmaker, and Virginia native Tim Reid. The 20-minute visually-interactive film is available in the Virginia Capitol Visitor Extension for viewing seven days a week during regular tour hours. For visitors that can not view the film at the Capitol, it is also presented below via YouTube.

Keepers of the Flame Activity BookA new Keepers of the Flame student activity book has been developed and is available for download. The film and Student Activity Book correlate with the 2008 History and Social Science Standards of Learning for Virginia Studies. The activity book was created by Tanya Siwik, a Fairfax County Public Schools teacher, in collaboration with Betsy Barton, Specialist for History and Social Science for the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Department of Education.

Download the new Activity Book here


Capitol Square is part of the Richmond Garden Trail

Among the oldest in the nation, this 12-acre park is home to the National Historic Landmark Virginia State Capitol designed by Thomas Jefferson, the oldest purpose-built U.S executive mansion still serving as a governor’s residence, and many monuments and memorials. Walk winding paths in a landscape that has both seen and shaped American history.


Garden secret: This park has an empty crypt. The George Washington Equestrian Monument was to be the President’s final resting place, but he remains buried at his Mount Vernon home.

Learn more about the Richmond Garden Trail

Jefferson’s State Capitol and Poplar Forest Named as Sites On “U.S. Tentative World Heritage List”

The Virginia State Capitol, recently restored, and Poplar Forest, Jefferson’s rural retreat in Bedford County, are among 14 sites in the U.S. selected for inclusion on a new U.S. World Heritage Tentative List, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced earlier this year. Inclusion on the U.S. list is “the necessary first step” toward being considered for inscription on the United Nations World Heritage List, “the most prestigious international recognition accorded to properties of global importance,” Kempthorne said in his announcement.

Heritage List Press Release