Museum Leaders in Training

2016-17: Archival Documentation:

The 2016-17 Museum Leaders in Training (M.LiT) program participants examined the exhibition files and records of artist Willie Anne Wright between 1964 and 2003.   From October 2016 to January 2017, students surveyed four boxes of archived materials donated by the artist to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.  The boxes contained exhibition reviews, press releases, publications, installation photographs, professional correspondence and personal letters relating to her work.  The images displayed in the timeline above were selected by the students from the artist’s archive, along with works held in the museum’s permanent collection.  Additionally, students collected first-hand recorded interviews from the artist’s peers and colleagues as well as archivists from Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Richmond.


Museum Leaders in Training participants explore museum careers and serve as advisers in the development of other teen programs at VMFA. With the help of guest lecturers and VMFA staff, teens learn team building, research, and other skills that prepare them for future employment. They also network with peers, mentors, and museum professionals. The 2017 M.LiT program ended with a Presentation Day event on January 27, 2017.  During this time students presented on the creation of a personal archives as well as reflections on the construction of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Willie Anne Wright Artist Archive.  The Willie Anne Wright Artist Archive is the first collection acquired for the VMFA’s newly launched Virginia Artists Archive initiative.


Willie Anne Wright, a native and current resident of Richmond, Virginia, has a BS in Psychology from The College of William and Mary and a MFA in Painting from Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA. She also studied photography at Maine Photographic Workshops, Rockport, Maine; Visual Studies Workshops, Rochester, New York; and VCU.

Wright’s paintings, serigraphys, and drawings were exhibited in juried and invitational shows until 1972 when her focus shifted to pinhole photography as her primary creative medium. Since then her pinhole photographs have been exhibited internationally and are in private and public collections. Wright’s work has been recognized in many books and periodicals.

Among the institutions that have acquired her pinhole work are the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia; The Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, Virginia; The Mariners’ Museum, Newport News, Virginia; the Southeast Museum of Photography, Daytona Beach, Florida; the High Museum, Atlanta Georgia; New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, Louisiana; Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, Alabama; Longwood University, Farmville, Virginia; University of Maine, Bangor, Maine; The University of New Hampshire, Dublin, New Hampshire; George Eastman House, Rochester, New York; The Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, Georgia; and the New Mexico History Museum/Palace of the Governors, Santa Fe, New Mexico.


The Margaret R. and Robert M. Freeman Library is open to the public Monday – Friday, noon – 5 pm, except for state holidays. The Reading Room offers tables and chairs for research, and four public computers, which can access the Internet, all of the Library’s subscription electronic resources, and the museum’s collections database. The Reading Room is also equipped with outlets and wireless Internet for patrons wishing to bring a laptop.

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Special Collections and Archives

The Margaret R. and Robert M. Freeman Library provides access to a wealth of rare and unique primary source materials for scholars, researchers, and the public. The Archives’ collections consist of over 2,000 linear feet of diverse and growing permanent materials, covering museum history from its beginnings in the 1930s until today. The Archives includes institutional records from over 25 museum departments, thousands of artist and subject files, as well as donated collections related to the museum and the history of art in Virginia. The Archives also recently launched the Virginia Artists Archives, a collecting initiative that aims to create a rich, diverse, and unprecedented collection of Virginia artists’ papers to increase awareness about the contributions of Virginia artists, both past and present.

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