Smithsonian's Museum on Main

Hanover Museum of History & Culture/Ashland Museum

We will explore the exhibition themes by collaborating with our community partners on these programs, discussions, and activities. Our community will have the opportunity to dig deeper into rural issues. We cannot manage well if we do not build systems to support our rural and urban communities, and understand their commonalities and differences.

Rural Identity – Demonstrate that rural communities are rooted in our history, and although evolving, they continue to be viable

  • An agricultural exhibit at the HMHC – partnership with Mary Washington University and local partners, including the Ashland Museum, Randolph-Macon College McGraw-Page Library, and the Hanover County Historical Society
  • VCU Cinema Program Internship Project – Ongoing video-documentary project that captures the story of Hanover’s farmers and their transition from traditional farming methods to high-tech farming to become leading producers of agri-business at local, Virginia and national levels
  • Feature on The Hanover Tomato, and the Tomato Festival, and the partnership with Hanover County Department of Parks and Recreation. What is it about Hanover soil that makes Hanover tomatoes taste the best?
  • Program with the Virginia Farm Bureau (and Future Farmers of Virginia and/or County Extension Agents) – Hanover County has several Century Farms. Present a look at the history of these farms and how they are helping Gen Zers maintain interest in farming
  • Program with The Hanover County Black Heritage Society about the history of the Black farmer, impact of the Great Migration on the numbers of Black farmers, and Black farmers in today’s rural economy
  • Rural churches – Jamelle S. Wilson, Ed.D, Dean of the University of Richmond School of Professional and Continuing Studies, will moderate a discussion on rural churches and their place in maintaining and sustaining rural communities

Rural Landscapes – Create an understanding and appreciation for our rural areas

  • Conversation with John Budesky, Hanover County Administrator, and Regional Planning and Studies Professor (TBD) for an overview on bridging the rural-urban divide
  • John H. Hodges – for an historical perspective on growth in Hanover – in County administration beginning in 1980 and deputy county administrator for community development 1998-2010; controlled growth, in 1980 just two stop lights in the County
  • Rappahannock Electric Cooperative and Dominion Energy will discuss infrastructure in a rural county. Cable, fiber, and/or satellite companies will look at bringing broadband to a rural county.
  • Trolley Line Trail – preserving and creating green spaces in non-rural areas – program with the Ashland Museum and Nancy Hugo. The regional component of this is the Fall Line Trail – Barbara Jacocks with PlanRVA
  • Public Parks and Sports Tourism – Hanover County and Town of Ashland parks and recreation staff will discuss development of parks in a County that is 80 percent rural and what sport tourism brings to the County. Susan Tucker, administrator for Woodland Cemetery, will talk about the rural cemetery movement and tour of Woodland Cemetery

Rural Conversations – Inspire ongoing conversations about rural communities and use them to inform our perspective as we shape rural areas going forward

  • Virginia Public Media – Creating a podcast to broaden key topic access into our rural areas, to hear their voices, connect with their issues, and celebrate their success, and expand access for everyone – without sacrificing the special attributes that make rural America unique
  • Story Stop Hanover – Working with local award-winning author Kris Spisak, we hold a panel with local historians and agricultural people and workshop her book, to promote and educate our citizens on capturing their stories. Other partners include Hanover Writers Club and James River Writers. Crowd-Sourced workshop story prompts include:

A family story you grew up hearing, and how does it influence you

Moment in your life that shaped your beliefs and/or your actions

  • Online Exhibit: The Story of Two Main Streets. A community-based online exhibit that we lead to tell the story of the roads through Hanover, exploring our beginnings (with the Stage Road) and our present (with Downtown Ashland Association), and where we are headed, to include Mechanicsville, Montpelier


Opening Site
August 28 to October 3, 2021


105 Hanover Avenue
Ashland, Virginia 23005

Jaime Fawcett
Executive Director




James River Cellars

James River Cellars

Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens

Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens

Hanover Tavern


Slash Church

Slash Church

Montpelier Historic District


Iron Horse Restaurant

Smithsonian Crossroads on Main
Virginia Humanities
Virginia is for Museum Lovers
Virginia Association of Museums