By Rosaland Tyler
New Journal and Guide
The Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia in Richmond will offer an array of exhibits and events during Black History Month.
In its new location in the Leigh Street Armory, the museum will kick off Black History Month on Feb. 3 with an original 37-piece exhibit by the late Murry DePillars, an artist who served as dean of the Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of the Arts from 1976-1995. DePillars’ diverse works span from Africa to contemporary times and will run until June 3. The kick off on Feb. 2 will include a member preview and VIP reception that will be held from 6 to 8 p.m.
Meanwhile, Hollywood will come to life at the museum on Feb. 26, when a female scientist, like those appearing in the highly acclaimed movie Hidden Figures, Dr. Christine Darden, speaks during Black History Month at the museum at 3 p.m. The movie Hidden Figures tells the story of three African-American female mathematicians who worked behind the scenes at NASA and helped to launch astronaut John Glenn into orbit.
While Darden is not one of the main characters in the movie, Hidden Figures, she is a prototype of scores of women of color who worked behind the scenes at NASA. “I was able to stand on the shoulders of those women who came before me, and women who came after me were able to stand on mine,” Darden said in a NASA interview on March 29, 2013.
Darden worked at NASA for nearly 40 years after she earned her bachelor’s degree in 1962 at Hampton Institute. She is a 1967 graduate of Virginia State University. And she earned a doctoral degree in 1983 in mechanical engineering at George Washington University. Darden, who taught at Norcom High School in Portsmouth from 1964 to 1965, after completing her master’s degree, became a data analyst for NASA in 1967 at its Langley Research Center.
Darden will speak on Feb. 26 at 3 p.m. She will be joined by Estelle Amy Smith in a discussion with Richmond Times-Dispatch journalist Michael Paul Williams. The event is free.
The DePillars’ exhibition is part of the “Life, Love & Liberty: Virginia’s Impact on a Nation” series of events taking place at the museum throughout Black History Month. The month will also include conversations about HIV/AIDS and the Black LGBTQ experience.
For a complete events listing and to RSVP for the events, visit http://Blackhistorymuseum.org/.
The Black History and Cultural Center of Virginia is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday and on Sunday by appointment only. Admission costs $10 for adults; $8 for seniors and students with IDs; $6 for children 4-12 years old; and children 2 and under are free. Membership for the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia includes admission and starts at $35 per year.