Christiansburg Institute Museum and Archives opens to the public
CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - The Christiansburg Institute has been a part of Montgomery County’s history for more than 150 years. The first ever High School of its kind in southwest Virginia, opened its doors in 1866 to provide education to former slaves. After 100 years, it closed in 1966 as American schools became desegregated.
“All right here in Montgomery County. Educating Black students from across Virginia and beyond for a century,” said Executive Director, Chris Sanchez.
Another first in CI’s long history occurred on Saturday, as the Christiansburg Institute Museum and Archives welcomed the public to its new space. The majority of the items on display were also provided by former alumni of CI.
Even though the museum is full of displays, Sanchez said it’s only 15% of the artifacts they have in their possession.
”We’re really proud to kind of fit into that kind of space where we’re bringing more recognition to CI’s history, as it relates to Montgomery County and southwest Virginia, but also Black history more broadly across the commonwealth.”
Sanchez said they aren’t stopping with the museum though, they are hoping to continue shining a spotlight on Black history across Virginia.
“We know that there are almost a million sites listed on the national register of historic places, only 2% represent that of Black people and we know that there’s 98%, some of that is here in Montgomery County. So we want to continue to challenge those narratives and really share the story more broadly.”
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