Danville Museum

of Fine Arts and History

Danville Museum

of Fine Arts and History

Our History

The Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History is a non-profit organization whose mission is to inspire community cohesiveness and facilitate impactful education through the advancement of art and history in the Dan River Region.  Located in Danville, Virginia, the museum offers art and history exhibits, programs, and events, and collaborates with local organizations and educational institutions throughout the year to provide art and culture for residents and visitors.

The Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History’s 18-member board emphasizes diversity and inclusivity in its leadership and programming. The museum’s outreach extends to underserved communities, aiming to make its offerings accessible and relevant to all.

Along with the new exhibits at the museum each year, the Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History currently has four permanent exhibits ⎼ the Camilla Williams Exhibit; Movement, the Danville Civil Rights exhibit; the Behind the Lines Civil War exhibit; and the Danville Hall of Fame.

The museum has an extensive collection of antiques, historic documents, and art by 19th, 20th, and 21st-century artists, including the Camilla Williams Collection, the Kennedy-Revell Collection, and the Stratford College Collection. 

The museum is housed in the Sutherlin Mansion, an Italian Villa-style house built in 1859 for the Sutherlin family. Designed by Richmond architect Frank B. Clopton, the house is recognized as one of the finest examples of Italianate architecture in the State of Virginia and is designated as a Virginia Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The museum promotes local history, especially as it relates to the people and events associated with the Sutherlin Mansion, including the last days of the Civil War when the house served as the “Last Capital of the Confederacy;” and the sit-in held in 1960 in protest of the whites-only policy when the building served as the Danville library.  The Museum is a designated site of the Virginia Civil War Trails and was listed on the United States Civil Rights Trail in 2022 due to its connections to the Civil Rights history in Danville.

The richness of DMFAH’s collections, including paintings, photographs, furniture, historic objects, and documents, combined with the history and setting of the Sutherlin mansion, tell insightful stories about the people and events of the Dan River Region and beyond.

The Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History strives to illuminate the connections between art and history. Since art captures, preserves, and reflects cultural, social, political, and economic experiences and ideals of people and society during specific time periods, all artwork is part of the historic record. Consequently, the two are forever intertwined.

Our People

Sonja Ingram the Executive Director of the Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History

Sonja Ingram

Executive Director

Sonja is the executive director for the Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History, where she is responsible for coordinating and directing all museum operations and programming. Before joining DMFAH, Sonja worked for Preservation Virginia from 2008 to 2023 assisting individuals and organizations across the Commonwealth to preserve important historic places.

During her time at Preservation Virginia, Sonja managed Preservation Virginia’s Most Endangered Historic Places List, the Preservation Academy, Preservation Awards, Preservation Virginia’s Rosenwald Schools Program, and Preservation Virginia’s Tobacco Barns Program.
Before joining Preservation Virginia, Sonja was the Assistant Director for the Archaeological Conservancy’s Eastern Regional Office in Frederick, Maryland. She also worked as a historic preservation planner for Frederick City government, and as a land preservationist for Loudoun County and Frederick County governments. Her archaeological experience also includes working for the National Forestry Service, Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest, and cultural resource management firms in the southern United States, Mid-Atlantic, and Puerto Rico.
Sonja serves on several nonprofit advisory boards including the Southside African American Cemetery Preservation Society, the Pittsylvania Historical Society, Literacy Interactives, Inc., and Friends of the Old West End.

Sara Shorter the Director of Finance, Bookkeeping and Administration smiling at the camera during an event at the museum

Sara Shorter

Director of Finance, Bookkeeping and Administration

Sara is a graduate of UNC Greensboro with a master’s degree in accounting. She is a Certified Public Accountant and worked with a private firm for three years and then with the Department of Taxation with the Commonwealth of Virginia, where she retired in 2014. She joined the Museum on a part-time basis in 2015.

Sara lives on a farm that has been in the family since 1835, along with her husband and two dogs. 

Cathy Eggleston the Gift Shop Manager standing in front of a board saying "Art Gallery / Original Local Artwork for Sale"

Cathy Eggleston

Volunteers and Events Coordinator and Gift Shop Manager

Cathy is the museum’s volunteer and events coordinator. She also runs the museum’s gift shop. Most recently, Cathy helped to open the Art Gallery, a place for local artists to display and sell their original art. As Events Coordinator, Cathy manages the rental of museum spaces for group tours, meetings, weddings, parties and other gatherings. 

Originally from Mechanicsville, Virginia, Cathy moved to Danville in September of 2020. In October of 2022, she began volunteering at the Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History and is now an employee. Cathy loves her job and meeting all the wonderful people who visit. She also enjoys creating her own art, singing, and spending time with her children and grandchildren and her cats, Bison and Laris.

Berkley Pritchett

Collections and Research Specialist

Berkley Pritchett is the museum’s Collections and Research Specialist.  His duties involve assisting museum colleagues with collections management; and performing historical and institutional research for programs and exhibits. Berkley also helps to provide first-rate customer service to museum visitors and members and supports the public-facing aspects of museum operations such as the welcome desk, tours, programs, exhibits, events, and the gift shop. 

Berkley has always had an interest in history and the arts. Working at the Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History allows him to combine both of his interests. His job has also allowed him to learn more about his hometown and the surrounding area. In his free time, he likes to listen to music, watch movies, read, and write fiction.

Jaade Williams

Museum Services Specialist

Jaade Williams joined the museum in 2014 as the part-time Education Coordinator. She is a graduate of Kaplan University with a master’s in Higher Education with a concentration in Student Affairs. She also attended Old Dominion University, where she graduated with a bachelor’s in Human Services with a minor in Psychology. She currently works full-time at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University as an Academic Advisor. 

Since stepping down from her role as Education Coordinator, Jaade has continued to work part-time at the museum in various roles, including being a docent and providing staff coverage for weekend and after-hour events. 

Heidi Varga

Museum Services Specialist

As a museum services specialist, Heidi’s duties involve providing first-rate customer service to museum visitors and members and supporting the public-facing aspects of museum operations such as the welcome desk, tours, programs, exhibits, events, and the gift shop. 

Angela Melton

Registrar / Collections Manager

As the museum’s registrar and collection manager, Angela is responsible for the research, preservation, stewardship, and security of the museum’s history and art collections, as well as creating and maintaining records and documents relating to the museum’s permanent collection and loans. Angela also assists with research, creation, and installation of the museum’s exhibits.