Enhanced professional development for VMFA staff and funds for the upkeep and maintenance of VMFA’s gardens and grounds are the beneficiaries of the newly established Lizzie Edmunds Boyd Fund. The funds have come to the museum as the result of the sale of The Oaks, the former residence for museum directors. The net $1,044,959 million proceeds will establish and support these two areas that are currently underfunded. The unusual 18th century plantation house in Richmond’s Windsor Farms neighborhood was given to the museum by Miss Lizzie Boyd and was used as the director’s residence until 2014.
“The staff is VMFA’s most precious asset, in addition to the collection,” Director Alex Nyerges said. “We are eager to assure they can share their expertise with their peers and also learn best practices in our profession so that our museum continues to be a leader in arts and education. Likewise, the grounds enhance many visits to the museum, from picnics to yoga to surfing the ‘net in the garden using the museum’s free wifi. Maintaining this beautiful and historic setting for our museum and the public is something Miss Boyd would appreciate,” Nyerges said.
At her death in December 1975, Miss Boyd bequeathed her home and surrounding property to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, which was transferred to the newly established VMFA Foundation in 1976. In her will she states,
“…I would also approve its use as a residence for the Museum’s curator or for application to similar uses in the aid of the Museum’s cultural and educational programs…such property shall be subject to the exclusive control of the Board of Trustees of the Museum.”
Miss Boyd was an active gardener and volunteered at the Crippled Children’s Hospital, the Salvation Army, and the Volunteers of America. In the 1930s she started a free soup kitchen in the Oregon Hill neighborhood and was a member of the Society of Founders and the Community Foundation.
She was a member of All Saints Episcopal Church, Colonial Dames in Virginia, Garden Club of Virginia, The Woman’s Club, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. She travelled widely and donated her extensive book collection on gardening and travel to the VMFA Library.
About the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
VMFA’s permanent collection encompasses more than 33,000 works of art spanning 5,000 years of world history. Its collections of Art Nouveau and Art Deco, English silver, Fabergé, and the art of South Asia are among the finest in the nation. With acclaimed holdings in American, British Sporting, Impressionist and Post-Impressionist, and Modern and Contemporary art – and additional strengths in African, Ancient, East Asian, and European – VMFA ranks as one of the top comprehensive art museums in the United States. Programs include educational activities and studio classes for all ages, plus lively after-hours events. VMFA’s Statewide Partnership program includes traveling exhibitions, artist and teacher workshops, and lectures across the Commonwealth. VMFA, a certified Virginia Green attraction, is open 365 days a year and general admission is always free. For additional information, telephone 804-340-1400 or visit www.vmfa.museum.
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