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News Releases

Richard S. Reynolds Foundation Grant Supports Acquisition of 1730s Portrait of Ayuba Suleiman Diallo, Once Enslaved in American Colonies

WILLIAMSBURG, Va., February 19, 2015 – The Richard S. Reynolds Foundation of Richmond has awarded a grant of $150,000 in support of the recent acquisition of a rare 1730s portrait of Ayuba Suleiman Diallo for exhibit at the future American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, replacing the Yorktown Victory Center.  The portrait is one of two known paintings of Diallo made in England by William Hoare, the earliest known portraits done from life of an African who had been enslaved in the British colonies that became the United States of America.

A.S. Diallo, by William Hoare, Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation On temporary exhibit at the Yorktown Victory Center last summer before undergoing conservation, the Diallo portrait will be placed in a section of the new museum’s galleries, to open by late 2016, that examines life in the 13 British colonies prior to the Revolutionary War.  Diallo, the member of a prominent family of Muslim clerics in Senegal, was captured during a trade mission on the Gambia River in 1731 and transported to the colony of Maryland, where he was enslaved on a tobacco plantation.  He was rescued and sailed to England in 1733, where he was befriended by prominent intellectuals and ultimately became a figure embraced by the global abolitionist movement.

“As one of the two earliest known paintings in the world done from life of an individual who had been enslaved in one of the British colonies that became part of the United States, we thought this was an extremely important acquisition for both the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown and the state of Virginia,” said Richard S. Reynolds III, president of the board of the Richard S. Reynolds Foundation.  “We were delighted to be able to provide some assistance in the acquisition of this unique painting.”

The Diallo portrait was secured in 2014 with an initial gift from Fred D. Thompson, Jr., a member of the Board of Trustees of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, the Virginia state agency that operates the Yorktown Victory Center and Jamestown Settlement, and undesignated private gifts to the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Inc.

“Diallo’s portrait offers an important opportunity for the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown’s visitors and school students to learn about the diverse cultures in our history and the significant accomplishments Africans made during the Revolutionary period,” said H. Benson Dendy III, chairman of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation Board of Trustees.  “I have the deepest gratitude for the Richard S. Reynolds Foundation, whose generous gifts over the years have helped to transform both of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation’s museums.  I am pleased to have their support of this portrait for the future American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.”

Previous grants from the Reynolds Foundation funded acquisition of African artifacts and technology for Jamestown Settlement’s permanent galleries, opened in 2006, that explore the convergence of Powhatan Indian, European and African cultures in 17th-century Virginia.  The Reynolds Foundation also supported renovations and enhancements made to the Yorktown Victory Center in the 1990s.

The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown is envisioned to provide a renewed perspective on the meaning and impact of the Revolution and to strengthen the national tourism appeal of the Jamestown-Williamsburg-Yorktown Historic Triangle.  Permanent exhibition galleries in a new 80,000-square-foot building will engage visitors through period artifacts, immersive environments, dioramas, interactive exhibits and short films.  The building also will house a special exhibition gallery, a theater for showing an introductory film, and classrooms to support educational programming.  The museum’s outdoor interpretive areas – a re-created Continental Army encampment and Revolution-period farm – will be restructured and enhanced, linking to gallery themes.

Private donations to the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Inc., are supporting elements of gallery and outdoor exhibits and educational resources.

The Yorktown Victory Center continues in daily operation as a museum of the American Revolution throughout construction, which is occurring in phases and includes a move from the existing museum building to the new facility in late winter 2015.

For more information about supporting the new museum, visit www.historyisfun.org or call (757) 253-4139.

Four Elected to Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Inc., Board

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. February 12, 2015 – T.J. Cardwell of Williamsburg and Terry E. Hall, Brian K. Skinner and Alexis Swann of Yorktown have been elected to the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Inc., Board of Directors. The Foundation, Inc., is a not-for-profit entity that coordinates fundraising to benefit programs of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, a Virginia state agency that administers Jamestow

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African-American Folk Tales and Songs Take Center Stage at Jamestown Settlement Weekend of February 14 and 15

WILLIAMSBURG, Va., February 2, 2015 – “African-American Musical Imprint Weekend,” February 14 and 15 at Jamestown Settlement, will showcase performances by “The Storyteller” Dylan Pritchett, the Northern Neck Chantey Singers and Legacy of Weyanoke. The music and storytelling weekend is a highlight of “From Africa to Virginia” month at the state-operated living-history museum, with gallery exhib

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New Museum Building, Maritime Exhibition, Varied Special Programs Hallmarks of 2015

WILLIAMSBURG, Va., February 2, 2015 – A new museum building at the Yorktown Victory Center and a maritime special exhibition at Jamestown Settlement provide the backdrop for an array of special public programs throughout 2015. The two state-operated living-history museums tell the story of America’s beginnings through indoor films and exhibits and outdoor re-created settings: Powhatan Indian villa

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Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center Experience Slight Visitation, Revenue Declines in 2014

WILLIAMSBURG, Va., January 13, 2015 – Paid visitation at Jamestown Settlement and the Yorktown Victory Center, living-history museums operated by the state’s Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, totaled 546,671 in 2014, a decrease of 2.4 percent from 2013. Admissions revenue amounted to $5,026,279 in 2014, down 2.5 percent. Paid attendance was 393,697 at Jamestown Settlement, 1.9 percent less than in

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‘From Africa to Virginia’ Theme Shapes February Programming at Jamestown Settlement, Yorktown Victory Center

‘African-American Musical Imprint Weekend’ February 14-15 at Jamestown Settlement WILLIAMSBURG, Va., January 12, 2015 – February is “From Africa to Virginia” month at Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center history museums. Gallery exhibits and daily interpretive programs highlight the culture of the first recorded Africans in Virginia and the experience of people of African descent in

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Garland and Agnes Taylor Gray Foundation Grant Benefits American Revolution Museum at Yorktown

WILLIAMSBURG, Va., January 6, 2015 – The Garland and Agnes Taylor Gray Foundation, a supporting organization of The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia, has provided a grant of $150,000 in support of the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, planned to replace the Yorktown Victory Center in late 2016. In recent years the Gray Foundation has awarded grants totaling $259,000

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