ABOUT THIS PHOTO
The Jefferson Theater, 1936. Built in 1901 as the Jefferson National Bank on East Main Street (today’s Downtown Mall), the Jefferson was enlarged and converted into a theater in 1912. Owners completely rebuilt the building just three years later after a tragic fire. A combination silent movie house and vaudeville stage, the Jefferson was host to a number of popular films and performers over the years, including magician Harry Houdini. Other downtown movie theaters followed: the Lafayette (1921), which is now the site of York Place Shops and Apartments; the Paramount (1931); Vinegar Hill (1976); and the University Theater at the Corner (1938-1990). After struggling under various names for many years as a second-run movie theater, the Jefferson was sold to music promoter Coran Capshaw in 2006, who launched a multi-million dollar renovation project and has since reopened the historic venue as a live music hall. The marquee in this photo advertises the 1936 release The Trail of the Lonesome Pine starring Fred MacMurray and Henry Fonda, one of Hollywood’s first successful color films. (courtesy of the Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia).
Learning Was Never More Fun!
In addition to unique, special events at which we host guest speakers, we annually offer two full Speakers Series from September through May. All of these events are free and open to the public. No tickets or reservations are required. Our Speakers Series are intended to thoughtfully engage guests by reflecting on events, issues and personalities from the history of our region. Our speakers are all experienced scholars, historians, journalists, authors, and experts in their fields. All of the speakers typically offer a PowerPoint-styled presentation with archival photos, videos or more. Each talk is followed by a brief question & answer period. Each event typically lasts no more than 90 minutes. A full schedule and the latest updates are available below as well as on our Calendar, on the Blog and on Facebook.
Speakers Series: Now Playing
The <strong><em>Third Fridays</em></strong> Series
At 7pm on the third Friday of each month throughout the academic school year (except December), we host an evening of history. The “Third Fridays” series is held in the event space at CvilleCoffee on McIntire Road in downtown Charlottesville. Like all events in our Speakers Series, these evenings are entirely free and open to all. No tickets or reservations are required. Free parking is available. Coffee, wines, and a selection of food items will be available for purchase from CvilleCoffee. Seating is limited so please arrive early. Check out the schedule listing below for the confirmed 2018-2019 Third Fridays line-up. For the latest updates please check out our Calendar, read the Blog, and follow us on Facebook. The Third Fridays series is sponsored by Ting!
<strong>September 2018</strong> <br>Historic African-American Portraits
September 21, 7pm. University of Virginia scholar, photographer and artist John Mason will explore the captivating turn-of-the-20th century portraits of African-American men, women and children here in Charlottesville by photographer Rufus Holsinger. He will share a number of archival photos and discuss what we can learn from them today.
<strong>October 2018</strong> <br>The Classical Architecture of Jefferson Country
October 19, 7pm. Renowned architectural historian and scholar K. Edward Lay will explore the historic architecture of Albemarle and Charlottesville, with a focus on the Jeffersonian classical properties throughout the region.
<strong>November 2018</strong> <br>The Storied History of Charlottesville's Jews
November 16, 7pm. Historian Phyllis Leffler explores the history of the Jewish community in Charlottesville, from the 18th century to today. She discusses the earliest Jewish families and merchants, including David Isaacs and Nancy West who helped to make Main Street the epicenter of commercial life in the region. She looks at the founding of the Synagogue; the civic and economic roles of Jewish leaders; the coming of Eastern European Jews in the 20th century; and connects the dots between those stories and the events of August 2017 in Charlottesville.
<strong>January 2019</strong> <br>The Founding of the University of Virginia
January 18, 7pm. Author and historian Coy Barefoot offers an engaging and thoughtful look at the founding of the University of Virginia — which was chartered by an act of the General Assembly exactly 200 years ago this month. Barefoot offers the comprehensive “back story” to UVA: from the political intrigue to the financing challenges to the personalities. This is a popular lecture that Barefoot has been asked to give to alumni groups across the country. He shares a number of fascinating items about the history of UVA that most people don’t know.
<strong>February 2019</strong> <br>Living in Cville: From the GI Bill to Public Housing
<strong>March 2019</strong> <br>The Making of the Downtown Mall
<strong>April 2019</strong> <br>Eugenics at the University of Virginia
<strong>May 2019</strong> <br>Education and the American Republic
The <strong><em>Community</em></strong> Series
<strong>September 2018</strong><br>20th Century Charlottesville
October 12, Friday, 630pm at City Space on the Downtown Mall. Best-selling author and historian Coy Barefoot will lecture about various topics in the 20th century history of Charlottesville: including a look at development, the making of the Downtown Mall, and the Civil Rights Movement. He’ll explore the story of “Massive Resistance” in Charlottesville, “urban renewal” and the razing of the Vinegar Hill neighborhood, and connect the dots to today. His presentation will include numerous seldom seen photos and films. (please note that this talk had originally been scheduled for mid September but was moved to October 12 due to inclement weather).
<strong>October 2018</strong><br>The Irish and the Railroad
<strong>November 2018</strong><br> An Evening with Peter Hatch
<strong>January 2019</strong> <br>Thomas Jefferson's Academical Village
<strong>February 2019</strong> <br>The Carr/Greer Home
<strong>March 2019</strong> <br>Zion Hill Baptist Church
<strong>April 2019</strong> <br>The Crozet Story
<strong>May 2019</strong> <br>Rediscovering James Monroe
It's What We Do!
Our current suite of Programs
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At the Historic McIntire Library
On the park in downtown Charlottesville
200 Second Street, NE
Charlottesville, Virginia 22902
Monday-Friday (9-5), Saturday (10-1)