Where is the ESVA? Not on Official Virginia History Ornament


By Carol Vaughn —

Some Eastern Shore residents expressed concern this week after the peninsula once again was omitted from a Virginia map.
The map is a stylized depiction on the Virginia Museum of History and Culture’s 2021 Official Virginia History Christmas ornament.
Eastern Shore Public Library Director Cara Burton noticed the Eastern Shore was omitted from the ornament. It is being offered for pre-order by the museum, which is in Richmond and is owned and operated by the Virginia Historical Society.
“Neglecting to include the Eastern Shore on a map of Virginia emphasizes the need to support the Shore’s history organizations,” Burton said Monday.
“It is why our library trustees, foundation, and Friends volunteers have pushed hard for the new ESVA Heritage Center at the new regional library in Parksley. We need to keep our historical records in the Shore as we know their value. If we repeatedly have to point out to other Virginians that there are two counties here, how might we also be excluded in the history books, not to mention the funding of our historical resources?” Burton said.
Del. Rob Bloxom, who represents the Eastern Shore in the Virginia General Assembly, called the Shore’s omission from the ornament “disappointing.”
Tracy Schneider, vice president for marketing and communications at the VMHC, in an email Wednesday said, “We were sorry to hear that the design of our 2021 ornament upset some residents of the Eastern Shore. Because it is a decoration, the design is not able to mirror the details of a topographical map but is intended to be a creative way to celebrate the holidays across our state. The trees on the right-side jut out farther than the angle of the shoreline to represent the areas of the Chesapeake Bay and Eastern Shore. We are excited to feature this region in our upcoming signature exhibition, Our Commonwealth, opening Spring 2022, to ensure visitors know about the special history and culture of the Eastern Shore.”
The description of the 2021 ornament on the museum website says, in part: “This year’s ornament gathers the various regions of the Commonwealth of Virginia (Southwest, Northern, Central, Tidewater, and the Shenandoah Valley) together under a beautiful forest of evergreens, lavishly decorated for the holidays.”
The ornament is priced at $22.95.
It is the fourth in a series of collectible ornaments the museum has offered featuring the history and culture of Virginia, according to a press release about the 2020 ornament.
No press release about this year’s ornament was found on the museum website.
Last year’s ornament depicted a landscape painting of the Blue Ridge Mountains by John Ross Key, from the museum’s collection.
The regions will be part of a new exhibition coming to the museum in spring 2022 as part of renovations that are underway, according to the description.
The 5,000-square-foot installation will be entitled Our Commonwealth and will feature a regional exploration of the history and culture of Virginia.
The Virginia Historical Society is a private, nonprofit organization established in 1831, according to the 2020 press release, which said it is “the oldest cultural organization in Virginia and one of the oldest and most distinguished history organizations in the nation,” with a collection of nearly nine million items.

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