Roots with Wings Part of Virginia Foundation for the Humanities Grant


From left: Dr. Melinda Wagner, RU Roots with Wings Director, with Kathleen Ingoldsby, Grant Project Director at the Old Church Gallery, and Carolyn Cades, Assistant Director, Grants and Community Programs, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, at the 2017 VFH Grant Directors Meeting July 7.

Note: a story based on the following press release from the Floyd Story Center was printed on page A5 in the July 13 edition of the Floyd Press.

The Old Church Gallery, Ltd., recently received a $5000 matching grant from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities for their ongoing project, “From the Front Porch to the Front Lines: Rural Virginia on a Threshold of Change,” a multi-faceted effort to promote and facilitate public access to a trove of oral history interviews and primary documents.  

The Virginia Foundation for the Humanities grant will fund the production of DVD sets with selections of oral history films for community distribution and library holdings, and for a public presentation at the Jessie Peterman Memorial Library in Floyd, as well as introductory presentations at each of the three other Montgomery Floyd Regional Library branches: Christiansburg, Shawsville, and Blacksburg.

The forty-two short films created from twenty-eight interviews included in the grant are the result of a nine-year effort to collect the stories of Floyd County residents who came of age during the Great Depression and World War II.

Since 1998, the Old Church Gallery’s Floyd Story Center has preserved the recorded oral history of the community through programs such as the “Roots with Wings,” Place-based Education Project.  The “Roots with Wings” project, 2007-2017, brings Radford University mentors, high school staff, and community non-profit volunteers together during the school semester to teach the discipline of oral history collection to Floyd County High School students.  

The Roots With Wings oral history interviews from 2007-2015 focused on Floyd County residents’ WWII experiences, while the project’s 2016-17 interview series explored a new  “Community and Neighborhood” theme.  Visit the project blog to see each semester’s progress illustrated in capsule entries: .

The 2017 Virginia Foundation for the Humanities Grants will support twelve projects across Virginia, connecting people and ideas to explore history, experience, and to inspire cultural engagement.  VFH reaches audiences across the Commonwealth and beyond through Community Programs, Digital Initiatives, Scholarship, and the Virginia Center for the Book.  For more information, visit

Jul 14, 2017
Dr. Melinda Wagner