The Virginia Association of Museums has announced this year's selections for the 2014 Virginia's Top 10 Endangered Artifacts list. It's a program meant to raise awareness about the importance of preserving historical artifacts in the care of archives and institutes, and the need to fund such preservation efforts.

The association also announced the People's Choice winner, picked by popular vote, which happens to be the Preston Papers, in the collection of the Salem Museum and Historical Society.

According to a press release from the museum, the papers "were collected, primarily, by Charles Isaac Preston, sheriff of Roanoke County in the 1870s, and were discovered in the attic of his house, Preston Place on West Main Street (likely the oldest residence in Salem). The papers deal both with Preston’s official duties as sheriff and with his personal business dealings, and may well be the most significant cache of papers found in the Roanoke Valley in decades."

The official Top 10 list is as follows:

• Handmade mosaic tile by artist Amaza Lee Meredith, Anne Spence House and Garden Museum, Lynchburg

• Virginia's oldest batteau, Archeological Society of Virginia, Charles City

• General store ledger from 1798, Danville Historical Societ

• D-Day landing map, George C. Marshall Foundation, Lexington

• Liberia House Civil War graffiti, Manassas Museum System

• Portrait miniature of Thomas Boyle Campbell (1796-1858), Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, Winchester

• John Schenk's New Testament Bible carried with him on Omaha Beach, June 6, 1944, National D-Day Memorial, Bedford

• Skeleton tank, Ordnance Training and Heritage Center,  Fort Lee

• Chief Paul Miles' regalia, Pamunkey Indian Museum and Cultural Center, King William

• War of 1812 cavalry helmet - Rockbridge Dragoons, Rockbridge Historical Society, Lexington

Click this link for a PDF with much more information about each artifact.

Contact Mike Allen at or 981-3236. Follow him on Twitter: @ArtsnExtras.  


Mike Allen writes the Arts & Extras column for The Roanoke Times. The beat he covers includes visual art, classical music, opera, theater, dance, literature, museums and other arts and cultural nonprofits, and things even more eclectic.

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