Part III: Physical Campus
Part III: Physical Campus100
A built environment — and the paintings, sculptures and photographs that enhance it, and the nomenclature used to name it — has the potential to inform one's experience and contour memory. At Washington and Lee, the physical campus frames a specific historical narrative and conveys clear messages about its values and interests.101 One such message, mentioned by numerous participants in the commission's outreach, is that the university reveres its 19th-century past almost without qualification and is content to offer mostly minor contextualization and little critical analysis. Another message, also mentioned in the outreach, is that the university's 19th-century history exceeds its contemporary history in importance — that its past accomplishments eclipse those of today. In forming the commission, President Dudley specifically noted that "the commission's work will include studying how our physical campus, a significant portion of which is a National Historical Landmark, can be presented in ways that take full advantage of its educational potential and are consistent with our core values." With that charge in mind, this section of the report asks whether the campus — in its physical expression as well as its virtual, online dimension — "takes full advantage" of its potential to educate students and to sustain the university's values as stated in its mission statement.
The changes suggested are not made in the interest of erasing any part of W&L's history, but rather offer dynamic modes of engagement with our complex past that allow us to teach and respond earnestly and responsibly to our specific history.
The commission documented the visual and material culture of the campus and assessed W&L's web presence. Input came from faculty and staff, guests of W&L's various committees, authors who have written about W&L's past, students, and alumni. The inquiry examined portraits (painted and sculptural), memorials, architecture and naming practices. The commission also considered the ways in which W&L disseminates images of the institution and historical personages associated with it.
Lee Chapel plays a unique role in communicating the history of W&L and contouring an individual's campus experience. Significant moments of the academic year are celebrated here, such as first-year orientation, the Honor Book signing, Founders Day Convocation, and the induction ceremonies for Phi Beta Kappa and Omicron Delta Kappa. On those occasions, the university recalls and celebrates its values. At other times, guest speakers deliver lectures, or groups gather for weddings or memorials. The chapel's history gives these events special prominence, and its approximately 600-person capacity makes it the largest venue on campus. The basement contains the Lee family crypt, Robert E. Lee's office as president, and a museum that for 10 years has contained an exhibit on the namesakes as educators.
The chapel dates to 1866, when Lee suggested to the Board of Trustees the building of a chapel, which was expeditiously planned and constructed by 1867.102 In its original conception, the chapel was designed according to a rectilinear plan that would serve as a convening space. For the next three years of Lee's presidency, the chapel functioned as an intentionally unconsecrated space for the campus community to assemble. That use continues today.
Shortly after Lee's death in October 1870, a group convened to create a fund that would support the construction of a monument to memorialize Lee.103 The group, which became known as the Lee Memorial Association, consulted Lee's widow, Mary Custis Lee, about the memorial.104 She recommended Edward V. Valentine, a Richmond sculptor, to create the white marble cenotaph. She worked with Valentine to decide on the form of the sculpture: an image of Lee, dressed in a Confederate military uniform, asleep on a cot, on a battlefield, with his legs crossed. Lee's left hand rests on the shaft of the sword that lies beside him, while his right hand holds his heart. His face is tilted toward the assembly space, as if to meet the countenances of visitors.
This sculpture is a potent and carefully constructed image that taps into a long history of medieval Christian European funerary art, although this lineage of imagery is often eclipsed by more common references to Valentine's interest in the early 19th-century sculpture of Louise of Prussia by artist Christian D. Rauch. While the latter work in Germany served as a point of departure for Valentine, he may have been aware of medieval Christian funerary imagery of knights sculpted in repose. Although asleep, these valiant knights, lying supine and cross-legged, held their swords ready to "struggle with Death on a stony battlefield."105 Lee's sculpture follows this iconography quite closely.
The image worked well to promote the idea of Lee as chivalrous knight, a trope that was used in re-creating the South's post-war image. "Without its own distinctive past upon which to base its nationality, the Confederacy appropriated history and created a mythic past of exiled cavaliers and chivalrous knights."106 During the unveiling of the statue and opening of the mausoleum in 1883, the main speaker remembered Lee as the equivalent of King Arthur and the "flower of knighthood," the leader of a "cause now perished."107 The speaker also called Lee a "priest of his people."108 The South itself was seen as sacred, and "history assumed the function of myth."109
The chapel communicates this "sacralization of Lee."110 The most significant element of the chapel is the apse, which showcases the slightly-larger-than-life, white marble statue of Lee. Traditionally, the apse is reserved for the holiest of images. Accordingly, this marble sculpture functions as more than an indicator that Lee and his family members are interred in the crypt below. The sculpture and its iconography, in combination with sight lines and organization of physical space, create a shrine that vivifies and centralizes the memory of Lee. As W&L art historian Pamela Simpson noted in 2003, "The burial sites of saints and the places where their relics remain often become shrines."111 This is what happened at Lee Chapel.
By continuing to hold rituals and events in Lee Chapel, the university, wittingly or not, sustains the Shrine of the South112 and the memory of Lee as a commander of the Confederate Army.113 The commission heard repeatedly in its outreach that the effect is problematic for many students, faculty, staff and alumni:
- Some students and faculty stated that first-year orientation and the Honor Book signing should not be held in a building that is a shrine to the Confederacy. Honoring the Confederacy is evident through the plaques, photos, memorial book, painted portrait and sculpture.
- The chapel's most visible portraits of Lee memorialize him as commander of the Confederate Army. These include the 1904 painted portrait by Theodore Pine and the 1875 marble sculpture by Valentine. These portraits of Lee as general are at odds with the university's claim to honor Lee the civilian, who reinvigorated the university and inspired education during the Reconstruction era.
- Groups of students, professors and staff are uncomfortable in the chapel and avoid attending events there.
- Some groups will not host speakers at Lee Chapel because of the Confederate imagery and association.
Options: The commission considered several treatments for the Lee Chapel and Museum. Two options were carefully considered:
- Create a permanent physical separation, such as a wall or solid doors, between the apse housing the Lee statue and the assembly space. In this iteration, the chapel would continue to function as a gathering space for events. The apse, however, would no longer be visible from or connected to the assembly area. To visit the apse, one would enter on the ground level, and climb the stairs that connect the apse to the lower level.
- Convert the building into a teaching museum. In this way, the complex retains and maintains its integral design, which is one of the nation's most compelling and successful examples of Lost Cause architecture and statuary. As a University Museum, the complex also would house the majority of the university's art collection.
Option A was problematic for four reasons. By walling off the apse, W&L literally would mask its history rather than engage it. Second, continued use of the chapel, even with a walled-off apse, amounts to validating Lee in his role as a Confederate general. At the very least, it would send a confusing message about whether or not the university is still commemorating Lee in that role.114 Third, continued use of the chapel would put the university in conflict with community members who are alienated by the building, even with a walled-off apse. Fourth, walling off the apse would dramatically alter the 1883 design of the space, created to valorize Lee, and thus eliminate the university's ability to use it for teaching purposes.
The commission preferred Option B, largely in order to take pedagogical advantage of one of the most powerful examples in the nation of architecture reflecting the Lost Cause narrative. The chapel could be used to teach about the specific historical moment of the creation of the sculpture and the apse, and to delve deeply into the effects of that moment on subsequent historical periods. In addition, the chapel could be used to teach about visual literacy, the power of sight lines, the haptic experience of space, and iconography, among other topics for those in disciplines that analyze material culture. Through this change, the university accomplishes several goals at once, and paramount among them is to repurpose what has been an increasingly difficult space into a powerful teaching environment.
Convert Lee Chapel and Museum building into a museum, which would serve as a teaching environment with a well-appointed classroom, offices, and state-of-the-art exhibition space. The University Museum115 would engage academic departments and programs such as University Collections, campus galleries and display spaces, as well as departments and programs that readily use and teach with material culture, such as History, Classics, Art and Art History, Anthropology, Archaeology, Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies. The new University Museum would no longer hold any university functions.
Create a new community-convening space for university events, particularly for occasions like Orientation, Founders Day Convocation (or, as proposed, University Day), induction ceremonies, and other major occasions. The new space should be welcoming to all members of the university.
In converting Lee Chapel into a teaching museum, the W&L community becomes an active agent in shaping and defining the space. As a museum, the chapel becomes a place where students and faculty can critically analyze and discuss the complex issues of history, cultural heritage, museum studies, art history, public history, visual anthropology, and religious studies that are all embedded in this historic site.
With help from experts, the university will consider how best to convert the space into a two-floored museum. The commission discussed use of the top floor as a space in which to tell the complex story of Lee, to illustrate the early development of the shrine, and to trace the full history of the chapel over time. The focus could range broadly from the patronage of the United Daughters of the Confederacy to talks given in the chapel by Ralph Ellison, Nikki Giovanni, David McCullough, Oscar Arias, Garry Wills, and Shelby Foote, among others. The bottom floor could provide space for classes to analyze art objects from the University Collections of Art and History (UCAH) and materials from Special Collections. Exhibition space could be available for revolving shows, either visiting or drawn from UCAH. In sum, the University Museum would present strong learning opportunities, incorporating the university's holdings and already existent programming, such as Teaching with UCAH.116
Move the management of Lee Chapel (University Museum) and University Collections from the Office of University Advancement to the Office of the Provost to underscore the academic nature of the new museum.
Incorporate the newly created University Museum into the university's larger network of galleries, exhibition spaces, and archival resources (Watson Pavilion, Reeves Center, Staniar Gallery, Williams Galleries, Special Collections, University Collections, and others), thereby creating an organized and interconnected University Museum System.
Hire a director for the new University Museum System. This person would need to have an advanced degree and/or considerable work experience with curation, preservation and display practices, as well as collection documentation and maintenance. The director would also be responsible for creating a coherent calendar of programming that would link and support all of the display spaces and exhibitions across campus. The new director would oversee docent training, which would be a critical component to a successful museum, and website and social media presence. Finally, this position would interface with campus galleries, University Collections of Art and History, and Special Collections, as well as departments and programs that readily use and teach with material culture, such as History, Classics, Art and Art History, Anthropology, Archaeology, Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies.
The commission recognized that it will take time to complete the changes proposed for Lee Chapel and to create a new community gathering space. If the chapel continues to be used in the interim, the university should make several modifications. The portrait of Lee in military garb in the chapel should be replaced by a portrait of Lee in civilian dress. In addition, the fire doors separating the auditorium from the apse should be closed. The Book of Remembrance and the plaque honoring the Confederate soldiers of the Rockbridge Regiment should be temporarily removed during the interim period; if temporary removal is not feasible, didactics should be put in place that will contextualize the objects. In addition, the university should provide guidelines for programming in the chapel during the interim period, and for managing social media connected to the chapel. Finally, in order to avoid commercializing the university's connection to Lee and the Confederacy, the museum shop should be closed during the interim period.
Convert an existing campus space (such as Evans Hall) into a functional venue that can host first-year orientation and other mandatory events.
At highly visible points on W&L's campus, numerous portraits exist in the form of paintings and sculptures. These images are important. As one scholar explains, portraits are powerful objects freeing many from the bonds of mortality.117 The viewer's gaze brings the historical figure into the present day. Accordingly, the university should be aware of who is made present and why.
Because the university was founded at a time when educators and students alike were almost exclusively white males, it is understandable that the majority of the portraits and sculptures on campus represent those individuals. However, to limit the imagery in this manner is not consistent with the 20th- or 21st-century history or with the mission of the university. The following counts from the University Collection of Art and History illustrate the imbalance of portraits currently displayed: there are 153 portraits on display, only 19 of which are of women. The remainder of the images are of white males in their roles as past presidents, donors, trustees or other positions.118
Most notable are the university's namesakes, with the majority of their portraits displayed in the spaces named for them, specifically Washington Hall and Lee Chapel.119 The university has several portraits, bas-relief images, and sculptures to memorialize George Washington's contributions to the university. Currently, there are 29 portraits of Washington on display in various buildings. There are also two prominent sculptures of Washington — one located at the pinnacle of Washington Hall, and the other in the hub of student life, Elrod Commons.
Lee's image is also pervasive. In addition to the Pine portrait in the chapel and images of him in the chapel museum, Lee's photos, portraits and images are displayed in Lee House, Washington Hall, Wilson Hall, Leyburn Library, Copy Services, and on campus signage. The most prominent image of Lee is the Valentine sculpture. In total, there are 17 portraits of Lee across campus.
Another image worth highlighting is the statue of Cyrus H. McCormick, located on the front lawn. The statue was unveiled in 1931 and depicts McCormick holding his lapel while looking across the eastern part of the campus. It is one of the most visible memorials on campus, and also one of the most mistaken sculptures, as McCormick is often taken to be Lee. As the plaque at the base of the memorial explains, the sculpture commemorates McCormick's invention of the reaper and subsequent gift to Washington College. No mention is made of McCormick's slave, Jo Anderson, who is known to have contributed significantly to the overall design and conception of the mechanical reaper.120
In sum, the portraits currently on display shape the visual landscape of the campus and work well within the narrative the university has, up until now, projected: a limited history focused on the 19th century.
Display only portraits of Lee that portray him in civilian attire, not as a Confederate general. Acquire and prominently display portraits — in either 2D or 3D media — that feature individuals who represent the university's complete history.
As a starting point for the latter endeavor, the commission suggests consideration of the following:121
- John Chavis: First African-American to receive a college education at W&L and in the United States, in 1795. Bust in Chavis Boardroom, plaster version in Newcomb Hall.
- Pamela H. Simpson: First female faculty member; four decades on the faculty; chaired professor; award-winning art historian.
- Ted DeLaney: First African-American chair of a department at W&L.
- Jorge Estrada: First four-year international graduate of W&L (Colombian).
- Lorena Manríquez: First Latina graduate of W&L (Chilean).
- Steven Hobbs: Professor of law from 1981 to 1997; first African-American to receive tenure from the university.
- William B. Hill: First African-American member of the Board of Trustees; attorney, judge, double-degree holder from W&L.
- Leslie Devan Smith Jr: First African-American to graduate from the School of Law (1969); member of Law Review.
- Sarah Wiant: Member of the first class of women to graduate from the School of Law; long-time law librarian and faculty member.
- Larry Stuart: Beloved member of Public Safety; W&L established the Larry Stuart Memorial Award for a student who exemplifies Stuart's character and commitment to the community.
- Marjorie Poindexter: First African-American administrative assistant to the secretary of the Board of Trustees; served in an unofficial capacity as an advisor to students, including students of underrepresented backgrounds.
- Pamela White: Distinguished attorney; president, Maryland State Bar Association; Baltimore City Circuit Court judge; first alumna to serve on the W&L Board of Trustees.
- Alston Parker Watt : First undergraduate alumna to serve on the Board of Trustees; international and national service.
The W&L constituencies had begun discussing the name of the institution before the commission was formed, and continued to address it over the past academic year. Many participants in the outreach expressed views on whether the name of the university should change or be retained.
The following are among primary reasons offered for retaining the name of the university.
The name of Washington and Lee University should not change at this time because:
- Both namesakes made significant contributions that aided the institution in times of real challenge. Washington gave financial help to a struggling school, and Lee helped the college reinvent itself and begin to thrive after the Civil War.
- The contemporaries of both men found them worthy of being namesakes.
- Changing the name would not change the institution's history or perfect its culture, and runs the risk of denying history rather than learning from it.
- At this time, a significant number of people associated with the university oppose a name change; some of these have proposed alternative ways of improving the school's ability to attract a diverse faculty and student body.
The school's name should change at this time because:
- W&L's affiliation with its namesakes — particularly R.E. Lee — greatly limits the school's ability to attract diverse students, faculty and staff. This is a concern, as the school remains one of the least diverse liberal arts institutions in the nation.
- Other figures in the school's history would be more appropriate namesakes.
- The institution has a tendency to portray Lee as a one-dimensional heroic figure, a simplistic portrayal that is inconsistent with the school's values.
- Retaining the current name of the university suggests that the community is out of touch with the national tenor and climate.
The commission recommends that the university not change its name at this time.
The recommendation to retain the name is not passive. Rather, the commission thought that, at this point, efforts are better spent on concrete recommendations about how best to teach and present the university's history. At this time, the commission believes that W&L can maintain its namesakes while being a relevant, ethical and vibrant 21st-century institution.
The name of the university sports teams, "the Generals," sparked a lengthy and wide-ranging dialogue, and commission members were more divided on this issue than on any other. To capture the range of thinking, even partially, is difficult, but the following points, pro and con, emerged in the discussion.
The following are some of the primary reasons offered for retaining "the Generals."
- The name has longevity, popularity and a unifying effect. The name has been in place for decades and is immediately recognized by many university constituencies.
- While most supporters of the name say that it refers to the two generals who are W&L namesakes, other supporters say that "the Generals" no longer is meant to refer to two specific men but is a generic word for leaders.
- Eliminating "the Generals" from the university's vernacular would lead to its removal from a number of recognizable programs and systems. Examples include Generals Unity (an organization that works to promote equal rights, justice and opportunity for all members of the Washington and Lee University community, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity), Generals Alerts (a system that notifies community members about emergencies), Generals Payment System, Generally Speaking (an alumni newsletter), Women in General (an email newsletter highlighting the achievements of alumnae).
- In its outreach, the commission did not hear a widespread opinion that the name of the teams be changed, and some thought that such a recommendation would require community input focused solely on that issue.
- Concern was expressed that recommending disposal of "the Generals" would divert attention from the commission's other proposed initiatives.
In sum, supporters as a whole see the name as a longstanding tradition that is not meant to be exclusionary and is regarded positively by the W&L constituencies.
The following are some of the primary responses to the aforementioned points and rationales for replacing "the Generals."
- The team name is a vestige of a past era that accepted its association with the Civil War and celebrated its Confederate-cause identity.
- The name invokes the namesakes of the university not as educators but as warriors, an image that the commission has tried to minimize in numerous contexts yet not here. Moreover, "the Generals" honors the namesakes as generals, even though in both instances they stopped being generals and became civilians before the start of their relationship to the university.
- That student groups employ the General mascot and "the Generals" name demonstrates how uncritically the name has been re-used over time. The inheritance and continued use of the name, though not intended to harm, does in fact perpetuate outdated and problematic conventions.
- Though the name was not a concern discussed widely among students, alumni or staff, the name was a concern among faculty and among some law students.
- Recommending changing the name of "the Generals" is consonant with the other important initiatives suggested in this report. Moreover, W&L is not the only university who has had to take measures to create less-offensive mascot names: Elon, Amherst, Carthage and Dartmouth are among those that have progressively responded to name changes of their sports teams.122 W&L is not in a unique position.123
In sum, the opponents of retaining "the Generals" believe that it perpetuates a misleading and harmful nostalgia that has long outlived any positive role.
The commission recommends that the university not change the name of W&L teams, "the Generals," at this time.
The commission suggests that the College be named for Professor Pamela Hemenway Simpson, who died in 2012 after four decades on the W&L faculty. Professor Simpson was the Ernest Williams II Professor of Art and Art History. She was twice chair of the Art and Art History Department, and served as assistant dean and then associate dean of the College. She chaired the Co-education Steering Committee, which implemented the university's decision to admit women. She received an Outstanding Faculty Award from the Virginia State Council on Higher Education, and the Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Southeast College Art Conference. She was co-author of The Architecture of Historic Lexington, and wrote numerous other works. She was a role model for the teacher-scholars of W&L, and her impact on the university was exceptional.
The names of W&L's buildings and places speak to its long history, values and mission. Many colleges and universities have initiated processes of reviewing the names of campus spaces.124 Consistent with its examination of history and community in this report, the commission has no purpose to mask history or to obscure difficult discussions. Rather it urges the university to recognize that names reflect values, and that the institution itself speaks whenever it names (or re-names) a particular space. The commission's sense is that W&L should develop a prudent, in-depth approach to questions of naming, and that it should recognize that change of this kind does not amount to erasure.125 Change represents a dynamic and forward-thinking institution that is invested in creating an inclusive environment.
To name buildings after individuals is a powerful memorializing practice that demonstrates the history and people W&L values and honors. Several of the buildings on campus are named after W&L presidents in honor of their service, while others are named for those who made generous donations. While these contributions are important, it is noticeable that currently only four buildings (Evans, DuPont, Chavis [a residence hall], and Watson) are named for women and/or people of color.
Robinson Hall is named for John Robinson, whose gift to the university included enslaved persons. The building itself was financed through the sale of some of those persons.
Re-name Robinson Hall immediately. The hall's association with slavery at Washington College - i.e., that the Robinson bequest included enslaved persons who labored at the institution until the institution sold them to others - gives special urgency to this proposal.
Appoint members of the W&L community to a standing committee to review and recommend the retention, deletion or alteration of the names of campus buildings, programs, departments and other similar entities. The naming committee would establish specific evaluation criteria for the naming or renaming of buildings and spaces. Considerations may include the following principles:
- Renaming should be an exceptional event and warranted only if the name is indisputably in conflict with the university's values.
- Examination of the standards of the namesake's time and place is relevant.
- The building or place should play a substantial role in the life of the W&L community.
- Removing the name should not have the effect of erasing history.
- Retaining the name should not have the effect of distorting history.
The review process should include:
- Historical inquiry and research of the person or space under consideration.
- Community engagement to ensure that students, faculty, staff and alumni have opportunities to participate in the process.
- Discussion and deliberation by the committee to synthesize research and outreach.
- Presentation of recommendations to the university president.
During its outreach, the commission received opinions that the number of campus sites named for Robert E. Lee should be examined on the grounds that the multiple uses of his name are unnecessary and overshadow the names of other individuals who played important roles at the university.
The newly formed naming committee consider renaming three campus buildings named for Lee (Lee House, Lee Chapel, and Lee-Jackson House).
W&L's University Store occupies a central place in Elrod Commons. It draws customers from across the campus and steady streams of campus visitors. It serves as a distribution point for academic materials. As an integral part of the campus, does it have any effect on how the institution's history is taught or presented?
In asking that question, the commission's interest was not to suggest materials that should or should not be sold in the store. Instead, the commission's concern was whether the store has over-emphasized the 19th-century aspects of the school's story, at the expense of its 20th- and 21st-century stories. A newcomer or visitor could conclude from the current front layout of merchandise that the institution is more strongly focused on its namesakes and the Civil War than it actually is. As the face of the institution in Elrod Commons, the store could find ways of more proportionate merchandising of its materials.
Evaluate whether the store should be more balanced and proportionate in merchandising its 19th-century-related products.
The history of Washington and Lee University and its community members is compelling but too little known. University graduates have served in every military conflict in the history of the country. Alumni have included Rhodes Scholars, senators, federal judges, and civic leaders. The campus has hosted renowned speeches, was the childhood playground of singer Patsy Cline, and was the site of a former vice president's sudden death. Stories abound from every era, but there are few if any accessible mechanisms to tell them. Students, faculty, staff and visitors spend a day, a month, or even years on the campus without gaining more than a cursory knowledge of its history. From the Liberty Hall Ruins to Robinson Hall to the Ruscio Center for Global Learning, the university is uniquely positioned to provide a narrative that reflects the development of the university and the nation itself.
Construct a guided History Walk to enable all visitors and the university community to learn about the institution's history by moving around the campus and encountering markers and other sources of information about Washington and Lee, not limited to pre-war and Civil War history, but including 20th- and 21st-century information as well.
The History Walk could make use of a smart phone application (app) that allows visitors to access text, images and video. In a sense, this app would serve as a virtual museum for the university — a place where the school could share and claim ownership of its historical narrative in totality. Using GPS technology, the app could offer a virtual map that would guide individuals around campus. As they moved, the app would display content based upon location. The app could have various levels of information at each location, allowing individuals to delve more deeply into areas of personal interest. Individuals off campus could also use the app. They would open the app, find a map of W&L, click on buildings and locations, and access the same information that would be presented to individuals doing the History Walk on campus.
The History Walk ideally would offer a complete narrative of the university's history, from the 18th to the 21st centuries, and include information about namesakes, alumni, university programs, university collections, and university traditions, including the Honor System, the Speaking Tradition, and student self-governance. The university has much to be proud of, and the History Walk should celebrate that.
The History Walk would also engage difficult parts of W&L's story that have received little recognition in the past. For example, as recounted in Appendix C, the university owned a significant number of enslaved humans; our football team walked off the field rather than play against a team with a black player; and the Board of Trustees did not allow Martin Luther King Jr. to speak in Lee Chapel. These and other narratives are part of our story and could be incorporated into the app. As an institution of higher education dedicated to academic integrity, we have a responsibility to tell this history in its entirety.
The History Walk gives W&L the opportunity to share a fact-based history of the university and a tool to disseminate that information to visitors, students, faculty, staff and anyone who wants to take the time to learn.
If fully realized, the History Walk could be the museum of Washington and Lee. Rather than a physical space, the museum of Washington and Lee would be an interactive experience that uses our campus to tell our story.
We hope that new students, staff and faculty would be given the time and encouraged to spend a few hours using the History Walk. We heard from faculty and staff that there is limited opportunity to learn about the institution, and that it took years on campus to learn about W&L We hope that the History Walk could accelerate that process, and give faculty and staff a fuller and better understanding of the history of their employer.
Likewise, new students would be encouraged to utilize the History Walk during their first year and beyond, providing future generations of students with a more complete and complex understanding of their university.
The strength of a virtual University Museum is not only its accessible and interactive nature but also its dynamism. As new content is generated or elements of our history are uncovered, the app could be constantly updated and improved. The app would be designed by professionals; however, students, faculty and staff could have the opportunity to contribute to the content of the app. For example, student projects creating videos about elements of W&L history could be entered into a competition to be featured on the app. Our hope is that the app would be a critical examination of our shortcomings and a celebration of our triumphs.