Welcome to Super Museum Sunday! It’s a day that museums across the state are celebrating.
Locally, the Rome Area Heritage Museum will be open special hours, Chieftains Museum and sites in Cave Spring are all participating in the special day and it’s a great day for folks to learn more about their own heritage.
Here comes the confession!
I grew up in Northern Virginia, less than half an hour away from Mount Vernon, home to a dude named George Washington.
I’ve never been there.
My father’s side of the family grew up in the shadows of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.
I’ve never been there.
My mother spent the last two decades of her life at the Virginia Baptist Home in Culpeper less than 15 minutes away from Montpelier, the home of James Madison.
Never been there either
I’m completely embarrassed. For real.
There’s no excuse for never having been to any of those three major historic sites.
Ahh, but there is good news. I’ve been to Oak Hill and the Martha Berry Museum. I’ve been to Chieftains/Major Ridge Home and I’ve been to the Rome Area History Museum. Numerous times at all three locations.
And you know what, I’ve been to all three outside of my role as a reporter. I’ve experienced them just like any other tourist and enjoyed digging into the unique history that makes Rome what is today.
That’s important to understand. People, going all the way back to the first natives to the area, settled here for a reason. They didn’t just hop out of a canoe and flop down off a horse for no reason at all. It could have been the confluence of the rivers or the fertile plains along the rivers. Maybe the seven hills that offered a unique way to protect the community from intruders. I’m sure that all played a role in shaping every aspect of our history.
Jump off that handheld device and take a trip today. Experience our community’s history like you may never have before.
The Rome Area History Museum will be open today from noon to 4 p.m. free of charge. It might be a good idea to drop by, soak it all in, and then come back in six months to a year to see the physical changes that are planned now that the museum is being operated by the tourism office.
Those who attended the William Matson and Elder Floyd Clown Crazy Horse lecture — and the room was packed with every chair filled — had a tough time hearing Clown’s story. That will change with a greatly improved sound system.
The Chieftains Major Ridge home, long a jewel in Rome, will offer free admission today from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. It will be a great opportunity for the community to see Frankie Welch’s “Style With Substance: The Designs of Frankie Welch” exhibit which is focused on textile work that connects very specifically to Rome and native history.
The historic Fairview-Brown African-American school in Cave Spring, benefactor of an astounding resurrection over the last two years, will also be open today along with the Old Baptist Church in Rolater Park, the Hearn Academy, the Cherokee Log cabin and other sites in Cave Spring. Visitors can take advantage of free activity in Cave Spring from noon until 4 p.m.
I would be remiss if I didn’t include Oak Hill and the Martha Berry Museum in these notes. The museum, which is not normally open on Sunday, will not be participating in the Super Museum Sunday event this year, but Rachel McLucas said they hope to do so in the future. To talk about history in Rome and Floyd County and not mention Martha Berry would be close to heresy.
The museum always hosts special exhibits by students, alumni and local community artisans in addition to what is essentially a permanent exhibit about the life of college founder Martha Berry. The exhibition showcases personal objects of the college founder. Letters to family members, clothing, rare photographs and items she passed down help visitors gain a better understanding of the vision that Ms. Berry had for the education of mountain children.