Coming Back Together: History Now’s Fall Revival

Nov 9, 2021

Author: Leigh Ann Craig, Ph.D.

We’re so pleased to be back! History Now has been a vital way to forge connections within the history department’s undergraduate student community. See what they’ve been up to recently.

history now students on a tour of hollywood cemetery
History Now students touring Hollywood Cemetery

The 2020-21 academic year was challenging and unusual in many ways. Our students faced the larger medical and economic difficulties of COVID, but they also, along with the faculty, had to adapt to wholly new modes of learning. Together, the VCU History community struggled, learned and grew, and some excellent educational experiences came out of those challenges. However, there are also ways in which our community thrives best in face-to-face contact, and we all missed that contact very much.

One of the facets of life in this learning community that was altogether suspended was the activity of one of our student clubs, History Now. At the start of the pandemic, the group had a ten-year history of convivial activities, taking advantage of central Virginia’s rich history infrastructure. Over the years, History Now has visited historical sites, museums, houses of worship, battlegrounds, and cemeteries; they have attended lectures, films, and tours; and they have held convivial meetings featuring trivia games, historic games, and student research presentations. But given the risks of face-to-face operations and the temporary closures or attendance limits needed in so many museums, the club’s leadership chose to suspend activity for the year.

Our return to campus this fall, however, has included and enthusiastic return to business for History Now! While all our prior membership had graduated or departed Richmond, a wonderful new group of students responded with great energy when we put out a call for interested parties. We met outside initially, as we sorted out our risks and options, but now the group is meeting twice a month. We now find ourselves with several activities already under our belts. There has been a “bad history movie night” featuring the film Shakespeare in Love, and a round of trivia in the department conference room, an excursion to the Poe Museum, and a tour of Hollywood Cemetery featuring the expertise of our own Professor Ryan Smith. Many more activities are in the works.

We’re so pleased to be back! History Now has been a vital way to forge connections within the History student community, and to make connections between what we learn in our classrooms and what we can experience in our larger Richmond community. We hope to build a basis from which these activities can continue for many years to come!