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#HomeHistory at the Executive Mansion

As the nation's oldest continuously occupied governor's mansion, the Executive Mansion of Virginia's rich #homehistory dates back hundreds of years and is being made every day. What began in 2022 as a simple hashtag on First Lady Suzanne Youngkin's Instagram account, Home History aims to share the stories of this stately home, its residents, grounds, visitors and more. Read below to discover the #homehistory that makes the Executive Mansion Virginia's home. Want to learn more #homehistory? Check out our 2023 and 2022 post archives!

Painting of Natural Bridge

June 12, 2024

Celebrating Great Outdoors Month: The Beauty of Natural Bridge

Recognized in June, Great Outdoors Month in the Commonwealth celebrates Virginia’s extensive and growing outdoor recreation industry.

Experiencing record attendance levels last year, Virginia is home to 42 beautiful state parks. Among these is Natural Bridge, once referred to by Thomas Jefferson as “the most sublime of nature’s works.” Depicted by Sallie Aubrey Wise in her 1887 painting- recently restored by The Library of Virginia and available to view through the Art Experience- Natural Bridge has remained one of the Commonwealth’s most popular attractions throughout #homehistory and into today.

Plan your visit to the Executive Mansion and learn more in the Art Experience section!

The Upperville Gallop by Sharon Lynn Campbell

June 9, 2024

Virginia’s Upperville Colt & Horse Show: The Art of Sharon Campbell

Beginning in 1853 in Upperville, Virginia, The Upperville Colt & Horse Show is the oldest horse show in our nation’s #homehistory, featuring the country’s top ranked hunters and jumpers. Having competed for numerous years on the Hunter-Jumper circuit along the east coast, artist Sharon Lynn Campbell is no stranger to the equestrian world. Capturing the beauty of the yearly event with stunning familiarity, Campbell’s painting “The Upperville Gallop” hangs in the ballroom of Virginia’s Executive Mansion and depicts last year’s Upperville Jumper Classic winner McLain Ward. The Governor and First Lady were honored to meet Ward following his big win in 2023 and have a profound appreciation for Virginia’s various equine industries. Learn more about Campbell's art in the Art Experience section.

Andrew Small and Ashley Watkins performing at the Executive Mansion

May 19, 2024

Andrew Small, Ashlee Watkins and The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail is a 330 mile driving trail through the mountains of Southwest Virginia highlighting the Commonwealth’s rich musical #homehistory. Connecting nine major venues and over 60 affiliated venues across nineteen counties, four cities and over fifty towns, The Crooked Road has increased national recognition for the region’s cultural impact and is celebrated in the Art Experience at the Executive Mansion. Artist-in-residence for The Crooked Road, Andrew Small captivates audiences with a sound that is undeniably emblematic of the heart of the region alongside partner Ashlee Watkins. In addition to their many accolades as a duo, Andrew and Ashlee recently performed for the Governor, First Lady and former Virginia governors and their partners at the Executive Mansion, enhancing the atmosphere of an already festive evening.

Jamestown by Miwako Nishizawa, which is a part of her series called

May 13, 2024

Celebrating AAPI Heritage Month: Miwako Nishizawa’s “Twelve Views of Virginia”

In her “Twelve Views of Virginia Series” Miwako Nishizawa captures some of our Commonwealth’s most renowned landmarks and regions through techniques that are reflective of her Japanese #homehistory. Three of Nishizawa’s “Twelve Views of Virginia” depicting Jamestown, Skyline Drive, and Cape Henry are currently on display at the Executive Mansion through the Art Experience and in partnership with The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, representing the Commonwealth’s diverse geographies, people and perspectives. Learn more about the work of Nishizawa in the Art Experience section and join us this AAPI Heritage Month as we celebrate the creativity and contributions of Virginia's Asian American and Pacific Islander communities! 

Home History Docents

April 25, 2024

Thank you Executive Mansion Docents!

#homehistory experts and passionate stewards of Virginia’s home, the docent team at Virginia’s Executive Mansion is a cohort of dedicated volunteers who strive to educate and inspire all who visit. We are incredibly grateful for their ardent service this Virginia Volunteer Week and year-round! 
Interested in joining our docent team? Email us at to learn more. 

April 14, 2024

“The Cut Flower Garden” and National Gardening Day

Happy National Gardening Day, Virginia!

On loan from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, “The Cut Flower Garden” by Nell Blaine is one of several works highlighting the artist’s unique composition of colors and forms, an artistic style which is thought to have been influenced by her severe early childhood condition of crossed eyes. A life-long Richmond resident, Blaine’s life story and #homehistory is one shrouded in passion, resilience, and astounding success.

Learn more about the interesting and inspiring Nell Blaine in the Art Experience section, and plan your trip to the Executive Mansion on Friday, April 26 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. to view the grounds in full bloom on Historic Garden Day!

April 9, 2024

Celebrating Autism Acceptance Month: Artism by Joey

Recognized in April, Autism Acceptance Month celebrates the numerous ways individuals with autism enrich our world. Using his talent and creativity, Joey Frye creates #homehistory making artwork that inspires joy in others through a unique perspective, one he accredits to Asperger’s Syndrome. Hanging in the front hall of Virginia’s Executive Mansion, Joey’s painting “Autumn Light” reflects the beauty of our Commonwealth’s landscapes as well as the beauty that comes from the diversity of its people. To learn more about Artism by Joey, click on the Art Experience header in the website’s navigation bar.

March 29, 2024

Celebrating Women’s History Month: The Art of Lorraine Bolton

On display in the front hall of Virginia’s Executive Mansion, Lorraine Bolton’s soothing watercolors, “Green Harbor” and “Green Trees,” instill tranquility and reflection in those who visit, accompanying the dozens of amazing works by women of the Commonwealth.

Bolton lived in the Hampton community for over 25 years, establishing a successful career as a painter, professor and ultimately the head of the art department at Hampton Institute. In recognition of her contributions to Hampton’s #homehistory, Bolton received a posthumous award in 2016 from the Hampton University Museum during the museum’s “New Power Generation” exhibition opening, an exhibit displaying the works of 24 artists of African American descent.

Learn more about Lorraine Bolton’s life and work in the Art Experience tab or visit the Executive Mansion on Tuesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to take in dozens of paintings by Virginia women.

Queena Stovall's painting, 'Making Apple Butter.'

March 21, 2024

Celebrating Women’s History Month: The Art of Queena Stovall

Folk artist Queena Stovall was born in rural Amherst County, Virginia. After raising eight children, Stovall’s artistic journey did not begin until she was 62. Stovall enrolled in a class at Randolph Macon Woman's College where her instructor, celebrated artist Pierre Daura, encouraged her to drop the class and pursue her unique painting style. She developed techniques to compensate for her lack of formal training, painting nearly 50 canvases that portray life on the farm. As seen in “Making Apple Butter” and “The Basket Weaver,” Stovall’s work is deeply reflective of her community’s #homehistory and is currently on display in the Executive Mansion’s ballroom as part of the Art Experience. 

Catherine Kauffman's painting 'Waiting in the Wings': four young ballerinas waiting back stage for a performance.

March 17, 2024

Celebrating Women’s History Month: “Waiting in the Wings” by Catherine Kauffman

On display at the Executive Mansion as part of the Art Experience, Catherine Kauffman’s painting “Waiting in the Wings” hangs alongside other works reflective of the performing arts and features her granddaughter and other anonymous ballerinas at their very first dance recital.

Catherine Kauffman dove headfirst into her artistic journey at a young age. When she was in high school, Kauffman was selected to study with the artists in residency at the National Gallery of Fine Arts and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. During her time in D.C., Kauffman worked at the Smithsonian, fully immersing herself in the world she knew she would be a part of. Connecting back to her #homehistory, the artist now paints in the same Burgess, Virginia home and studio her mother once worked in.

Visit the Executive Mansion each Tuesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to view “Waiting in the Wings” and over twenty other amazing works by women.

'Not Quite Hidden' by Ruthie Windsor-Mann sits on a wooden easel.

March 14, 2024

Celebrating Women’s History Month: The Art of Ruthie Windsor-Mann

In honor of Women’s History Month, the Art Experience at the Executive Mansion is showcasing the work of Washington, Virginia resident Ruthie Windsor-Mann. Inspired by the nature surrounding her studio in the middle of a hayfield in Rappahannock County, Ruthie’s paintings “The Blank Canvas” and “Not Quite Hidden” represent her internal and external environments. Ruthie has been a professional painter since 1970, making #homehistory with work in many public and private collections in the United States and abroad. To learn more about this limited time exhibition or start planning your visit, head to the Art Experience section

A coffee table with three bud vases with flowers sitting and a candle sitting on top of a stack of books. A coral chair with a decorative pillow is in the background.

March 2, 2024

The Ladies’ Parlor

The Ladies’ Parlor at the Executive Mansion has been a destination of waiting, mingling, visiting and #homehistory for centuries. Today, the space exists as an homage to the beauty and complexities of womanhood, showcasing antique artifacts alongside contemporary art painted by, of, or for the women of the Commonwealth. Join us this Women’s History Month as we use #homehistory to highlight the amazing women involved in the Art Experience at the Executive Mansion and keep an eye out for more news on this month’s featured artist: Ruthie Windsor-Mann!

A black and white photo of Winston Edmunds, courtesy of the Library of Virginia.

February 28, 2024

Celebrating Black History Month: Winston Edmunds and the Executive Mansion

Legendary butler Winston Edmunds served twelve Virginia governors at the Executive Mansion over 47 years. Between 1886 to 1933, Edmunds not only witnessed #homehistory but instilled within Virginia’s home a legacy of his own by leading the first recorded guided tours of the Mansion in the 1930s, marrying his wife in one of the home’s rare wedding ceremonies and much more. Serving Virginia's first families in multiple capacities for 40 years, Tutti Townes continues the tradition of long-standing service and stewardship alongside his son and deputy, Martin.

Left to right: Unknown, John Grisham, Governor Glenn Youngkin, First Lady Suzanne S. Youngkin, Charles Seillheimer, Unknown.

February 25, 2024

Author, Philanthropist and Outstanding Virginian John Grisham

As outlined in Senate Resolution No. 50, critically acclaimed and best-selling author John Grisham was recently honored with this year’s Outstanding Virginian Award. The First Lady and Governor were honored to host the #homehistory making author for lunch at the Executive Mansion following the Senate’s presentation of the award. As a resident of the Commonwealth for the past 30 years, Grisham has contributed to his local community around Charlottesville through his philanthropic efforts and invaluable literary achievements. The Commonwealth thanks you, John, for your creativity and leadership!

General Colin L. Powell sitting on top of a vintage Volvo.

February 19, 2024

Celebrating Black History Month: The Life and Legacy of General Colin L. Powell

Retired United States Army Officer, four-star General, and the first African American in #homehistory to serve as the U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Colin L. Powell’s story is a testament to unrelenting service, bravery and excellence. Colin L. Powell, a resident of Virginia, passed away in October 2021 and was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery alongside hundreds of thousands of our nation’s heroes. On loan to the Executive Mansion by the Powell family, these photographs serve as a reminder of his legacy as a remarkable Virginian and are available to view in the Old Governor’s Office as part of the current ‘Art Experience’.

A black and white photograph taken by Robert McNeill of a young girl and her grandmother sitting on their porch.

February 12, 2024

Celebrating Black History Month: The Photography of Robert McNeill

Photographer Robert H. McNeill traveled throughout Virginia, capturing #homehistory for the books “The Virginia Guide” and “The Negro in Virginia,” both published in 1940. Four of McNeill’s photographs, taken in Richmond, are available to view at the Executive Mansion in partnership with The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts as part of the Art Experience. Recognize any of these places or faces? Email to share your story!

First Lady Suzanne S. Youngkin and artist Stanley Rayfield pose to the right of Stanley's painting, Church Hat No. 32, featuring a woman in a turquoise church hat gazing up and to the right in front of an orange background.

February 6, 2024

Celebrating Black History Month: The Art of Stanley Rayfield

This Black History Month the Executive Mansion will be highlighting the work of Stanley Rayfield, nationally renowned artist and member of the Citizens’ Advisory Council on Furnishing and Interpreting the Executive Mansion. Rayfield made #homehistory in 2022 when he painted Governor Ralph Northam’s official portrait, becoming the first African American artist to paint a gubernatorial portrait in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Visit the Executive Mansion for a tour this February to view Rayfield's paintings “Church Hat No. 32” and “King of the Sea" alongside other pieces by talented Black artists or head to the Art Experience section to learn more about Stanley and the inspiration behind his work. Join us in celebrating Black stories and #homehistory this month, and all year round!

Holocaust survivor Halina Zimm uses a candle to light a menorah.

January 27, 2024

The Courage and Resilience of Halina Zimm

Marking the 79th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz- Birkenau, today is recognized as International Holocaust Remembrance Day, an opportunity to honor the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of others who suffered oppression and persecution at the hands of Nazis. Holocaust survivor Halina Zimm remembers a pleasant life in Lodz, Poland before the Nazis invaded her country. After years of anguish, loneliness, fear and finally liberation, Halina met her future husband Alan Zimm and immigrated to the United States, where she now makes #homehistory in Virginia and across the nation sharing her stories and inspiring all those who listen.

Benjamin Edlavitch standing with his LEGO model of the Executive Mansion.

January 17, 2024

The LEGO Executive Mansion

As a third-year architecture student at UVA and contestant on Fox’s LEGO Masters, Benjamin Edlavitch is no stranger to creative challenges. Capturing #homehistory in an unprecedented way, Ben designed and built this LEGO model of the Executive Mansion in just under a month. Thank you, Ben, for your one-of-a-kind contribution to the Art Experience at the Executive Mansion!

A portrait of Oliver Hill, Sr.

January 15, 2024

Honoring Virginia’s Heroes on Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Oliver Hill, Sr.

As we reflect on the courage of Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders, we would be remiss if we did not recognize the vital activism of Richmonder Oliver Hill, Sr. Through his position as Virginia’s NAACP attorney, Hill achieved significant legal victories as one of the lead lawyers in Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward, one of the five suits that were consolidated into the revolutionary U.S. Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education. By advancing the rights of African Americans, serving as the first African American member of the Richmond City Council and championing civil rights, Hill made #homehistory in multitudinous ways. Painted by Elaine Bankston, Oliver Hill Sr. is honored through portraiture in the Old Governor’s Office of Virginia’s Executive Mansion.

From left to right: Don Park, Charlie McConnell, Suzanne S. Youngkin (holding a guitar), Dick Hickman.

January 10, 2024

Artist and Musician Charlie McConnell

Vietnam veteran, community leader, bluegrass musician and artist Charlie McConnell has always found time to pursue his artistic talents, exemplifying what it means to ‘Do What You Love in Virginia.’ Moved by the #homehistory he witnessed in Coeburn, Virginia, Charlie’s work depicts the bluegrass music scene at the Lays Hardware Center for the Arts and on the Crooked Road, known as Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. The First Lady and Governor were honored to have Charlie and the Out of Time Folk duo perform at the Executive Mansion last month in celebration of the Art Experience.

The First Lady poses for a selfie in front of the Executive Mansion

January 8, 2024

Visiting Virginia’s Executive Mansion

From first-time visitors to #homehistory buffs, the Executive Mansion welcomed thousands of guests in 2023! Start planning your visit to Virginia’s home today. Tour the Executive Mansion on Tuesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Governor and First Lady pose in the Executive Mansion with a high school choral group.

January 4, 2024

Music at the Mansion

This past December the Executive Mansion welcoming a multitude of musicians representing a medley of ages, geographies and genres. Virginia’s governors have long valued entertainment, a tradition that remains a part of the #homehistory of this stately home. Thank you Mason, Bob, Jamie, Sarah, Bruce, Malik, Barry, Rich, Tiffany, Hannah, Amalya, Luke, Charlie, Don, Dick, Caleb, Carter and the Eastern View High School Choir for sharing your talents with us!