An independent panel of collections and conservation experts selected the artifacts as part of a program sponsored by the Virginia Association of Museums. It was designed to create awareness of the importance of preserving artifacts.
More than 120,000 votes were cast for the "People's Choice Awards," which included a colonial waistcoat worn by former Lt. Gov. Alexander Spotswood from the Wilton House Museum.
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Virginia Association of Museums PRESS RELEASE
VIRGINIA ASSOCIATION OF MUSEUMS ANNOUNCES THE 2012 TOP 10 ENDANGERED ARTIFACTS IN VIRGINIA
Richmond, Va. – The Virginia Association of Museums (vamuseums.org) announced today the honorees of 2012 Virginia's Top 10 Endangered Artifacts, a program designed to create awareness of the importance of preserving artifacts in the care of museums, libraries and archives throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia and District of Columbia.
2012 VIRGINIA'S TOP 10 ENDANGERED ARTIFACTS HONOREES:
Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society (Charlottesville/Central Virginia) "Turn the Rascals Out!" Campaign Rally Sign; c. 1870s-1880s
Alleghany Historical Society (Covington/Shenandoah Valley) "Merry Widow," Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Locomotive 701; c. 1911 Fairfield Foundation (Gloucester/Hampton Roads) Ware Neck Store Sales Receipts; c. 1870s-1930s
Historic Crab Orchard Museum and Pioneer Park (Tazewell/Heart of Appalachia) Horse-Drawn Rock Wagon; c. 1880-1910
Jean Outland Chrysler Library at the Chrysler Museum of Art (Norfolk/Hampton Roads) Moses Myers Family Bible; c. 1798
Library of Virginia (Richmond/Central Virginia) Act for Establishing Religious Freedom (Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom); c. 1786
The Mariners' Museum (Newport News/Hampton Roads) Second National Confederate Naval Flag of the CSS Alabama; c. 1860s
Portsmouth Community Library & Black History Museum (Portsmouth/Hampton Roads) Ledger from African-American Lodge, Love and Charity; c. 1870-1880
Salem Museum (Salem/Shenandoah Valley) Records of African-American Midwife Georgianna Saunders; c. 1916-1940
Virginia Museum of Transportation (Roanoke/Shenandoah Valley) "The Lake Pearl," Southern Railway Pullman Sleeper Car; c. 1923
PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARDS:
Alleghany Historical Society (Covington/Shenandoah Valley) "Merry Widow," Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Locomotive 701; c. 1911
Wilton House Museum (Richmond/Central Virginia) Waistcoat of Lieutenant Governor Alexander Spotswood; c. 18th century
Response to the competition was overwhelming, with over 120,000 public votes cast for 21 diverse nominees that showcase Virginia's unique history, heritage and culture. While voting was a factor in the final decision, the list of final "Top 10" honorees was selected by an independent review panel of collections and conservation experts. The "People's Choice Award" reflects the two nominations that garnered the most significant number of public votes.
Slated as an annual competition, Virginia's Top 10 Endangered Artifacts project creates increased awareness and support for maintaining our nation's artifacts, especially as funding for preservation continues to decrease. Nationwide, the need for conservation and care of items in the collective trust is at an all-time high. A report titled A Public Trust at Risk: The Heritage Health Index Report on the State of America's Collections revealed that our nation's artifacts, documents and digital materials are not only essential to America's cultural health, but are also imperiled and in need of swift protective action.
"We are so happy that the public once again got fully behind this important project and turned out the vote," said Margo Carlock, executive director of the Virginia Association of Museums. "Last year's Top 10 project brought not only much-needed awareness to the needs and costs of conservation, but translated into very real support in the form of donations and grants that were utilized by collecting institutions to care for their honored items."
"This program has already been a vehicle for change for many of the collecting institutions that have participated," explains project manager Christina E. Newton. "For example, the Virginia Museum of Transportation, after receiving a People's Choice Award in 2011, won a $10,000 grant allowing them to restore their ‘Norfolk & Western SD45 Diesel Locomotive #1776.' And due to press attention during this second year, the Salem Museum has already been able to record oral histories from no fewer than seven individuals who were delivered by the midwife Georgianna Saunders, whose records were nominated. Capturing these stories for posterity and preserving the artifacts that help tell those stories is simply invaluable."
Virginia's Top 10 Endangered Artifacts is a project of the Virginia Association of Museums and is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services. The IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas.
New to the program this year is a 12-minute video featuring the 2011 participating institutions, including interviews and background. The video may be utilized as content for news websites: http://youtu.be/bGEfZqojZa8