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Reynolds Homestead Gains Help to Improve Care of Its Collections

James Chapin oil painting, part of the permanent R.J. Reynolds Collection at the Homestead, was used in 1940s advertising.

by Andrea Brunais

Virginia Tech’s Reynolds Homestead has been chosen to receive a site visit from experts designed to improve the care of its holdings, which include furniture, art, glassware, and the R.J. Reynolds Collection of tobacco paintings from the 1930s and 1940s.

A needs-assessment team of museum and library professionals will spend a half-day touring the historic property in Critz. Following the visit, they will offer ideas to improve collections care over the next two years, with suggested resources to help accomplish the recommendations.

The Circuit Riders project is a statewide effort aimed to help Virginia’s museums, libraries, and archives. Sponsors are the Virginia Association of Museums, the Library of Virginia, and the Department of Historic Resources with underwriting from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services.

An article in Outreach NOW magazine shows the historic home, constructed in 1843; a period dress; and pages from the Reynolds family photo album.

Many of the oil paintings, used in marketing, were done by prominent artists and illustrators of the time, including James Ormsbee Chapin, Clarence Holbrook Carter, Georges Schreiber, and John Philip Falter.

Julie Walters Steele, director of the Reynolds Homestead, said, “It is imperative we ensure these facilities and collections are meticulously maintained to continue to provide opportunities for the public to experience the rich cultural heritage of the region for many generations to come.”

The Reynolds Homestead is the site of the original home of tobacco manufacturer R.J. Reynolds. The home is open for public touring. For more information about the collections, contact Lisa Martin, Senior Program Manager, (276) 694-7181, ext. 22.

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