Esther Atkinson Museum

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The MISSION of the Esther Thomas Atkinson Museum is to support the College's mission to form good men and good citizens in an atmosphere of sound learning by collecting, preserving and interpreting objects that enhance the College's educational offerings and promote the history of the College and its role in the history of Virginia and our nation.


The Universe in Color: The Astrophotography of Robert Gendler

The Universe in Color ExhibitOctober 23-December 12
Robert Gendler, a physician, was inspired by photos he saw at New York's Hayden Planetarium as a boy and took up astrophotography as an adult, shooting first from his home in Connecticut and later, via the internet, with a robotic telescope in New Mexico. Rob's mosaic image of the Andromeda galaxy was selected by Astronomy magazine as one of the greatest astronomical photographs of the last thirty years, and his image of IC405, the "Flaming Star" nebula, was issued on a stamp by the Royal Postal Service in 2006. A collection of his work appears in his book A Year in the Life of the Universe, published in 2006.


An American Silence: Walker Evans & Edward Hopper

Jeffrey Allison, art historianNovember 9
Hampden-Sydney College and Central Virginia Arts will co-sponsor, "An American Silence: Walker Evans & Edward Hopper", a lecture by art historian Jeffrey Allison.

This talk will explore the works of photographer Walker Evans and painter Edward Hopper. Allison will expand on the ways in which these American artists tore themselves away from European ideals at the start of the 20th century.    

Jeffrey Allison is the Paul Mellon Collection Educator at Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and a professional photographer. He holds a B.A. in photography and film from Virginia Intermont College and an M.F.A. in photography from VCU. Among others, he is currently involved in programs at the VMFA on Henri Rousseau, Visual Art, Berthe Morisot, and William Blake.   

The program begins at 3:00 PM in the Esther T. Atkinson Museum's Back Gallery, and it has been organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and is supported, in part, by the Paul Mellon Endowment and the Jean Stafford Camp Memorial Fund. Admission is free and open to the public.


Fine Arts Student Exhibition

Student Art ExhibitionMay 1-11
The 2014 Fine Arts Student Exhibition is open May 1-11. Featuring thesis projects by Justin Tisdale: The Bear Essentials and William Henry: Figure/Ground, the exhibit will also display the work of the Photography II and Drawing II classes. The opening reception on May 1 from 4-5:30 PM is free and open to the public.


The Play's the Thing

The Play's the ThingApril 24
Hampden-Sydney Professor Shirley Kagan hosted a talk on the past and future of Hampden-Sydney theatre on April 24. The talk, followed by a one-act play, The Interview, by Anthony Rowe '14, was presented in conjunction with the exhibit Hampden-Sydney Stage, the history of theatre at Hampden-Sydney College, curated by the Student Museum Board. 


Jefferson's Architecture and Dabney Cosby in Southside Virginia

Art Historian Richard G. Wilson at Hampden-Sydney CollegeOn April 17, Hampden-Sydney College hosted nationally-known architectural historian, Dr. Richard Guy Wilson as he presented his lecture: "Jefferson's Architecture and Dabney Cosby in Southside Virginia."

The lecture highlighted Cosby's participation in shaping some of the buildings at Hampden-Sydney College and provided a look at the man who brought a touch of Thomas Jefferson to campus.

Dr. Wilson currently holds the Commonwealth Professor's Chair in Architectural History at the University of Virginia where he specializes in architectural design and art of the 18th to the 21st century. Dr. Wilson has received a number of academic honors including a Guggenheim fellow, prizes for distinguished writing, and in 1986 he was made an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). 

This event was co-sponsored by the Lectures and Programs Committee, the Fine Arts Department, the Architectural Society, and the Esther T. Atkinson Museum.


First Ladies: Hampden-Sydney's Mothers, Matrons, and Favorites

First Ladies of Hampden-SydneyThe Esther Thomas Atkinson Museum's exhibit, First Ladies of Hampden-Sydney, was on display through March 14.

Although the mission of Hampden-Sydney College is to form good men, some of her good citizens have been women who have played an important role in the lives of students. They have been first ladies, faculty, trustees, and even graduates. Mention the names Erlene Bowman, Dottie Fahrner, or Gerry Pettus to any graduate of the last twenty years and you will likely hear stories of the smiles, care, and support these women have provided to their Hampden-Sydney "sons." This support goes back to the 1890s and Ms. Minnie Lacy, daughter of the College physician, who ran a boarding house for students. Read more...



Life and Limb: The Toll of the American Civil War

Civil War Medicine exhibit photo, Civil War heroesNovember 2-December 14
The Esther Thomas Atkinson Museum hosted the traveling exhibit, Life and Limb: The Toll of the American Civil War November 2 through December 14.

The perspectives of surgeons, physicians, and nurses are richly documented in the history of Civil War medicine, which highlights the heroism and brutality of battlefield operations and the challenges of caring for the wounded during wartime. Yet the experiences of injured soldiers during the conflict and in the years afterwards are less well-known.

More than three million soldiers fought in the war from 1861-1865. More than half a million died, and almost as many were wounded but survived.  Hundreds of thousands were permanently disabled by battlefield injuries or surgery, which saved lives by sacrificing limbs.  Life and Limb: The Toll of the Civil War explores the experiences of disabled Civil War veterans who served as a symbol of the fractured nation and a stark reminder of the costs of the conflict.

This exhibition was developed and produced by the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. Regular museum hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 AM to 12 PM and 1 to 5:00 PM.  


Unclassified: the Military Kid Art Show

Unclassified Poster, Atkinson Museum at Hampden-Sydney CollegeSeptember 26-October 26
The exhibit featured works from the transitory life of military children. According to an article on the exhibit: "Military life influences the child, whether it is living in other countries, moving often, or having deployed parents, most military children live different lives than their civilian counterparts. These programs show how different and how to bridge the gap between the two."

Exhibit Reception and Talk
Reception at 4:30 pm followed by curators talk


Historic Home Promotion Weekend

Middlecourt at Hampden-Sydney CollegeOn September 14, 15, the Atkinson Museum of Hampden Sydney College provided walking tours of the old seminary campus, which includes exterior tours of two historic homes featured on the Governor of Virginia's Year of the Virginia Historic Homes website. The two Federal style homes, Middlecourt (1829) and Penshurst (1830), were part of the original Union Theological Seminary and retain a large portion of their original features. 

Special Museum hours during Virginia's Historic Homes Promotional Weekend are 10:00 to 3:00, Saturday, September 14, and 11:00 to 3:00, Sunday, September 15. All tours begin at the Atkinson Museum on the Campus of Hampden-Sydney College, four miles south of Farmville.  The Museum is located on College Road at the intersection of College Road and Via Sacra.