King and Queen Courthouse Tavern Museum Opens Exhibit on West African Art and Artifacts. Kay and Larry Grahl to Speak on October 26th. (October 2008)

Art and Artifacts from the countries of Nigeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Liberia and Senegal in West Africa and its connection to King and Queen County will be the focus of the talk of Kay and Larry Grahl of Mattaponi on Sunday, October 26th, in connection with the opening on the same day of the King and Queen Courthouse Tavern Museum’s exhibition on the Art and Artifacts from West Africa.

Mr. and Mrs. Larry Grahl, long time residents of King and Queen County, served with the Peace Corp in the early 1960s and then as U.S. Department of State envoys to countries in West Africa, leaving there for the last time in 1978. During that time they collected Art and Artifacts from these countries. When they retired to King and Queen County in 1991 they learned through their participation with the King and Queen County Historical Society and its Museum of the interest in West Africa of the residents who are descendents of those who came to Virginia as slaves. Between 1690 and 1770, 100,000 Africans were imported as slaves to Virginia and Maryland. The majority came between 1700 and 1739. About half of the arrivals in this period at the port of what is now Yorktown, Virginia, were from Nigeria. Rev. Fred Holmes has traced his ancestors directly to Nigeria, one of the countries in West Africa whose art will be featured in the exhibit. The exhibition will include masks, money, pottery, divination and ritual ceremonial artifacts, personal use items, musical instruments, thorn carvings, textiles, and contemporary art. The talk will be held at the King and Queen Circuit Courthouse at 3 pm as part of the Historical Society’s regular quarterly meeting.

The exhibit is being designed by Studio Ammons of Petersburg, which has designed the Museum’s other award-winning exhibits. The Museum and the new exhibit will be open on Sunday from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. A reception will follow the lecture in the Museum. The African Art and Artifacts Exhibit will continue throughout 2008 and part of 2009.

The Courthouse Tavern Museum at King and Queen Court House is open each Friday and Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and on Sunday from 1:00 to 5:00 pm. Members and friends of the King and Queen Historical Society and the Museum and visitors are invited to attend.