Interactive fun. That's how James Kelly describes the Virginia Historical Society's new exhibit, "175 Years of Collecting: A Virginia History Quiz." The exhibit, which coincides with the society's 175th anniversary, runs from July 1 through December.
"We wanted to showcase objects from the museum and the library here at the Historical Society as well as from our manuscripts collection," explains Kelly, the director of museums. "Rather than simply putting them out, we decided to make the exhibit more participatory and interactive. We decided to make a quiz out of it."
Visitors read a question that relates to the object on display — for example, a Windsor chair made in Richmond in the 1790s — and then flip a card to uncover the answer and an explanation. "It makes [it] more interesting, tests your knowledge," says Kelly. "We tried questions that anyone with some knowledge of Virginia would know."
The exhibit will feature approximately 45 treasures from the museum's collections, many of which are home-related — ceramic pottery from the 1800s, a wooden washing machine made at Richmond Cedar Works in the late 1800s, and the largest known Richmond-made pot, which was used as a water cooler around 1850.
One question that's not on the interactive quiz: What's the most valuable treasure on display? "George Washington's diary from the first year of his presidency," Kelly answers. "You don't get many items more valuable than that."
"175 Years of Collecting: A Virginia History Quiz" runs Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. Ticket prices are $5; $4 for seniors. For more information, call 358-4901 or visit www.vahistorical.org.