BLACKSBURG – Rhonda Morgan, in what she calls a “partial retirement,” will soon end her nearly nine-year tenure as executive director of the Blacksburg Museum and Cultural Foundation.
“I’m really, really proud of the work we’ve done here over the past nine years,” said Morgan, who would reach his nine-year mark in February. “I feel like we’ve really created a wonderful museum for this community.
“I am really excited to see what the new director will do and I will support him.”
Morgan said she was leaving so she could spend more time helping her family.
The Blacksburg Museum and Cultural Foundation is based in the historic Alexander Black House, a nearly 10,000 square foot Victorian-era building on Draper Road that houses a variety of documents relating to local culture and history.
In addition to the Alexander Black House, the foundation oversees the equally historic St. Luke and Odd Fellows Hall and offers tours of the 16 Blacksburg Squares.
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St. Luke and Odd Fellows Hall is the only remaining structure of New Town’s former African-American community. The 16 Squares are the blocks that made up the original town of Blacksburg.
The Alexander Black House is named after the great-great-nephew of Blacksburg founder William Black, whose descendant built the structure in the late 1890s and resided there until his death in 1935.
Additionally, Alexander Black was a prominent businessman and the son of the first rector of the Visitors’ Council of what is now Virginia Tech.
The Black property then functioned as a funeral home for six decades before the city bought it.
Originally located on Main Street, the house was moved to its current location in 2008 to make way for the Kent Square office, retail and parking complex.
Morgan’s time as executive director of the Blacksburg Museum and Cultural Foundation included significant periods for the Alexander Black House.
In 2014, a restoration was completed and allowed the property to open as the city’s cultural center. The project focused on the exterior and the first floor of the house.
Then about five years later and just a few months before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, a $ 500,000 renovation was completed on the other half of the property. This project redeveloped the second floor to expand the museum space and provide a number of designated rooms for visitors and various community groups.
Morgan’s successor has already been selected, but that person’s name is expected to be announced in the near future, she said.
Morgan said she would help with the transition and the installation of the new executive director.