Special Programs

Special Events

Return to Prestwould

Last semester, the Commonwealth Society enjoyed an illuminating and beautiful afternoon at Prestwould near Clarksville, one of Virginia’s most handsome and evocative 18th century plantations. Our focus was on the interior spaces and furniture of the stone mansion. On Friday, April 13 we will return and focus especially on the expansive grounds with its distinctive stone walls and unrestored gardens as well as the well-preserved slave village and other outbuildings. The Prestwould collection also includes rare 18th century books dealing with horticulture that we will examine. For those who have never been inside the house, it will be open.

We will visit and dine at the architecturally spectacular Berry Hill, now a hotel that was once the plantation house of one of the nation’s largest estates — at 6,000 acres. Today 650 acres comprise the grounds of this National Historic Landmark. Located in South Boston, the spectacular Greek Revival house was built by the Bruce family in 1839 (its design was inspired by the Bank of Philadelphia). The double staircase in the entrance hall and Italian marble mantels in many rooms are among the interior features. In 1957 the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts declared the house one of Virginia’s 12 best buildings. It is a hidden treasure with tremendous romantic associations that are enhanced by its rural location.

We will travel by charter motor coach. $110

The Commonwealth Society Book Group

All members are invited to be a part of The Commonwealth Society book group. Meeting most months on the fourth Friday at 10 am, the discussions are always interesting and enlightening. While many members have attended these discussions for many years, new participants are enthusiastically welcomed to the group! The selections for 2017-2018 include:

March 23 – Madame Picasso by Anne Girard
April 27 – Manhattan Beach: A Novel by Jennifer Egan
May 25 – The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
June 22 – Code Girls by Liza Mundy
July 27 – Lullaby Road: A Novel by James Anderson
September 28 – The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

Lecture Series

3/23/18 at 12:00p.m.: Age of Aquarius: 1960s Fashion
The 1960s was a decade of youthful exuberance as fashion reflected politics, music and the voice of a new generation that became too loud to ignore. This lecture will explore fashion from Carnaby Street to the Race to Space and everything in between including Yves Saint Laurent’s ode to feminism – Le Smoking. This will be held in the Dean’s conference room in the Pollak building.

Instructor: Jackie Mullins, a VCUarts alum and former Collections Manager at the Valentine Museum, currently teaches in the VCUarts Fashion department and is a member of the Costume Society of America.

4/27/18 at 12:00p.m.: Brain Fitness for Adults: Strategies To Help Keep Us Sharp
This talk will highlight four simple strategies to help adults 50 years and older to maintain and strengthen their mental abilities, overall mood and general health. The talk will discuss the benefits of exercise, social engagement, learning new skills, and living in the moment. This will be held in the Dean’s conference room in the Pollak building.

Instructor: Tim Donahue is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at VCU where he teaches courses in psychology and conducts laboratory research on medications used in the treatment of depression and schizophrenia. Tim has earned the following degrees from VCU: a PhD in Biopsychology, Master of Science: Psychology and, Master of Education. He also holds a Master of Arts: Humanities from the University of Richmond, and a Bachelor of Arts: Humanities & Behavioral Studies from St. Mary’s Seminary University (Maryland). He recently completed a Certificate in Aging Studies from the Gerontology Department (VCU) School of Allied Health. He has a particular interest in the growth and development of the mind throughout the life-span and the underlying neurological and physiological mechanisms that affect changes in cognition, mood and social interactions.

5/4/18 at 12:00p.m.: Advertising Explained: FREE!
Join us for a behind-the-scenes look into advertising — the persuasion business. See how it influences the car you drive, the food you eat, the medicine you take, and the vote you cast.This will be held in the Dean’s conference room in the Pollak building.

Instructor: Scott Sherman
Designing a message, engaging the audience, and hopefully creating change. These are things that Scott enjoys about teaching and about advertising. And that’s why he really enjoys teaching advertising. Scott is an Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Advertising Sequence in VCU’s top-rated undergraduate advertising program. He was selected by the Richmond Ad Club as the 2017 Ad Person of the Year.

These lectures are free and open to members of The Commonwealth Society.