September 26, 2006
The exterior grounds of the Robert Russa Moton Museum will soon change thanks to the generosity of the Town of Farmville and Harvey Design Land Architects, a complete site design firm.
“Developing the Site Plan for the Moton Museum has been an extremely rewarding and an eye opening project,” said Principal Landscape Architect Proctor S. Harvey. “Originally, we were asked by the Town to develop a planting plan for the museum, but after discussions with the Museum’s Director Lacy Ward, Jr. regarding the historical significance of the property, it became evident that this project deserved a more in depth plan in order to recreate the history of 1951.”
“Key to the Site Plan development was the creation of a footprint of the tar paper shack locations. We have done this and have worked with engineers to develop a parking plan that will preserve the original bus slot parking of the day. With such meaningful history, we wanted to develop a living design for the grounds of the museum, one that would recreate the look and feel at the time of the student walk-out.”
Located in central Virginia, Harvey Design Land Architects specializes in full site design for municipal, institutional, commercial and health care facilities, for high-end residential property and columbaria.
Farmville Town Councilwoman and former elementary school teacher Sally Thompson, also, has enjoyed her work on the project. She commented, “Children are visual learners. They learn best by living experiences; therefore, at the Moton Museum they will be invited to step back in time as they enter the tar paper shack. They will see the students in the cramped quarters and listen to their voices, as they tell their stories. Then they will move into the museum as they witness, through pictures and voices, the events of 1951.”
“They are there! They become a part of the events and they will not forget! This will be ‘Living History’ at its best!” concluded Thompson.
The site plan is a portion of the comprehensive Moton 2011 project, a permanent exhibit commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Moton School student walkout. Its full implementation requires coordination with other project elements. The newly completed handicap access ramp and repairs of the rear steps are a portion of the project that has been completed. Currently, signage improvements are in the bidding process.
Heart of Virginia Master Gardner Nan Colvin has submitted plans for the landscaping of the museum’s original front (South) entrance. In addition, plans are underway for the Town to complete a bus pull-off and a parking lot.
“We are grateful that the Town of Farmville and Harvey Design Land Architects have donated funds and services to create this living history site plan design,” said Museum Director Lacy Ward. “In our commitment to preserve and interpret Civil Rights in Education, specifically as it relates to Prince Edward County and the role its citizens played in America’s struggle to move from a segregated to an integrated society, it is exciting to know that the museum’s grounds will tell the story as convincingly on the outside as is planned for the inside.