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The Esther Thomas Atkinson Museum, named for its founder and first director, strives to promote an awareness and understanding of the history of Hampden-Sydney College as it relates to its role in the history of Virginia and the United States, while serving to support and enhance the College's mission to form good men and good citizens in an atmosphere of sound learning.

Current Exhibits

black and white industrial photograph of wind turbinesBrian Grogan, Documenting the Cultural Landscape: 50 years Behind a Camera

Exhibit runs June 9 through October 10, 2023

For more than thirty years, Brian Grogan '73 has engaged in photographic documentation of historic sites and landscapes independently and for the National Parks Service and has over 10,000 images deposited in the U.S. Library of Congress.


"Aero Obsoleta" written on a black and white cropped image of a crashed war planeAero Obsoleta

Exhibit runs through March 8, 2022

February 23 | 4:30-5:30 pm, Gallery presentation by artist, Allen Jones

This photographic exhibit features the images of Allen Jones which incorporate his interest in WWII and aviation. This series of discarded, obsolete, and warehoused aircraft were captured in various locations across the US exploring the consistent theme of the artist – an exploration of how our culture’s changing technology and values impact the landscape around us.


a photo collage of General Sam Wilson as a young and older manAn Officer and a Gentleman: The Life and Times of L ieutenant General Samuel Vaughan Wilson

April - November, 2021
10-12 & 1-5pm weekdays and special event Saturdays
Highlights from the Wilson Archives Collection

“During the weeks after (beginning his presidency at Hampden-Sydney College), I began to realize that almost everything I had ever done in my life was coming together in this job – serving as an instructor in a number of military schools, especially developing and teaching courses in leadership, language, and area studies; acting as a consultant to various foreign governments: diplomatic postings; running clandestine intelligence operations, as well as an intelligence analyst; briefing Presidents and their cabinets on intelligence issues; assignments in economic development in Third World nations; studies at the War College level; senior military command assignments and heading up major government agencies as well and, in the process, becoming well-versed in planning, programming, and budgeting.  All of these things and more seemed to point the trail to Hampden-Sydney.  Not any of the experience has been wasted in the job.”

Past Exhibits

image drawing of Moby Dick the whale The Look of Mortality-Leonard Baskin's Prints from Moby Dick

August 27-October 12, 2019
On loan to the Atkinson Museum from Lynchburg College, the prints of Leonard Baskin are filled with images of the harshness and vulnerability of the whalers as they follow Captain Ahab to his doom. FREE and open to the public


Culinary History of H-SC image collageA Culinary History of Hampden-Sydney College

April 1-June 8, 2019
From Chocolate Punch to Pig-Nuts providing food for students has always been a challenge. Explore the providers and recipes that were mandated to be "any light diet agreeable to the students." FREE and open to the public


1918 Influenza epidemic posterVirginia and the 1918 Influenza

October 22- November 30, 2018
Opening Reception, Saturday, October 20, 10 AM - 2 PM
presented in conjunction with the Honors Program at H-SC
FREE and open to the public


Echoes from the Past: Letters, Manuscripts, and Images From the H-SC Archives

January 24 - March 14, 2018
Unique historical documents gathered from the first 150 years of the College's history from the archives of the Bortz Library

How European Refugees Lifted 19th Century American Pop Art

February 5, 2018
The marvelous world of American lithography reached its apex through the wave of Europeans who immigrated after the Revolution of 1848 and brought advances in technique and art to the United States.

Take a Seat: A Brief History of Chairs

March 23 - May 14, 2017
Curated by students in the American Domestic Architecture class

Finding Old College

September 26, 2017
Lecture: Charles Pearson and Brian Haley:  Finding Old College: A Geophysical Search for the Original Hampden Sydney College Buildings 


Make a Museum Gift

Help support our programs. Check out the Sponsorship and donor levels.

Making a Gift

Historical Research

Submit your questions to the Atkinson Museum. Angie Way, Curator will respond.

Historical Research Request

Esther Atkinson Museum

Hampden-Sydney College
P.O. Box 745
Hampden-Sydney, VA 23943

Angela Way, Director-Curator
Phone (434) 223-6134 | Fax (434) 223-6344

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