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Season’s endings

The Historic Fourth Ward School
Museum & Archives Newsletter

September 2021

We Are Open Daily from May 1st until October 31st

 We are amazed that September is already here, and we have little over one month to go before the end of the season, October 31st.  It has been a productive season for sure, piloting many successful events and guests visiting from all over the United States despite the COVID pandemic and the devastating fires.We’re thrilled that we’re getting more digital outreach as we see more interest from our social media audience regarding the museum.Please enjoy the highlights from our events, and if you missed out, we have a  few more coming as the season is not over yet; please mark the dates for the upcoming events. Please enjoy the most memorable highlights of the summer, and we couldn’t do it without your support and love for the “Last One Standing.” Please spread the word and sponsor our programs!

YouTube Channel 

In the past months, we have produced a YouTube channel to allow us to reach all audiences. We aim to assist teachers with Nevada Curriculum Standards for 4th and 7th-grade lessons about Nevada and Comstock history/science with this authentic online resource. Covid has shown the importance of bringing the option of digital teaching into the classroom or remote learning environments; even after schools are fully functional, we see the value of digital, easily accessible and share-able content. We will continue developing lesson plans in the winter months that incorporate history with art lessons and tools that can support teachers and students with the help of former and active teachers.This summer, with the collaboration of Virginia City’s Community Chest, we reached our next step onto our digital program platform by inviting local students to learn digital storytelling and filmed our first project, the short film “The Note of Sutro”.  This project teaches students to recontextualize the unique collections of the FWSM’s exhibits that provide the authentic preservation of Comstock history. The participating students had to create a digital film project that interpreted facts from the Museum’s exhibits — in this case they were fascinated by the existence of a tunnel over 1600 feet deep, and excited by our museum’s hologram warning children to stay out of abandoned mines.  The digital storytelling process included teaching students a combination of digital media art such as storyboard, recorded voice-over, acting, directing, and editing; the final cut of their collective work “The Note of Sutro” will be uploaded to the FWSM’s YouTube Channel.  

In addition, the participants’ museum research emphasized the history of Adolf Sutro and the Sutro Tunnel, the old-style typewriters, the myth of the Tommyknocker, and understanding their Comstock cultural environment and mining, as well as the importance of how serious it is to stay away from Nevada’s abandoned mines by adapting the Nevada Division of Minerals slogan “Stay Out and Stay Alive” funding by the Nevada Commission on Mineral Resource, Nevada Division Minerals.Students got to explore many hidden places of the schoolhouse that aren’t for public audiences, for example filming finding the old treasure map using the secret hatch in the museum’s basement, and thanks to the Ponderosa Saloon & Mine we got to go film in a genuine mine environment that was very engaging and exciting.  Overall, the students and the staff had lots of fun teaching, learning, and creating this film project by connecting the students and audience to the relevance and importance of the Comstock story. It wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for the members’ private donations and the 2021 John and Grace Nauman Foundation grant that we received. The funding allowed us to purchase the digital equipment. The best way for people to know about the museum’s projects is to visit our social media platforms and share and spread the word to support us.  We will love to have sponsor support for our lessons and films, as stories and imagination is what really keeps history alive, and is a key element to those of us living in the Comstock.
Stay tuned for the next project on our digital platform, The Comstock Oral History Sessions.

New digital equipment thanks to John and Grace Nauman Foundation Grant. 


We were pleased to host Western legend Stanley Paher, an author and publisher of 16 Nevada books. His first book, the seminal “Nevada Ghost Towns & Mining Camps” published in 1970 has many unpublished pictures of Virginia City and Gold Hill. In all it contains 710 pictures in all of mining camps in their heyday and is a must-have for the collection of any Nevada explorer.
The Sept 17 presentation covered northern Nevada ghost towns, historic sites and mining camps as they appeared when the towns were in their peak of activity. Lucky attendees were privy to lots of rare photos which Stanley has both collected and taken during his “ghost-towning” adventures over the years, and the precious information behind them.  


On October 15 we had historian, archaeologist, and award-winning author Carolyn Grattan Eichin give a presentation on her book “From San Francisco Eastward: Victorian Theater in the American West.”  When moving into an old Victorian house in Virginia City that was owned by Henry Piper, Carolyn’s life of studies of the American West drove her to research one more unique cultural aspect of our past, the theater scene of the 19th century West. It was an incredible and highly researched dive into the cultural past of the old West, whose legacy shaped our media scene of today.



Halloween Ball Saturday, October 30th All Hallows Eve Ball — Halloween is a perfect time to bring to light this magnificent old building’s unique place in modern culture. This building is the aesthetic model of the Haunted Mansion of Disneyland Paris, the “Phantom Manor”, and the Comstock story is the inspiration for wealth in the wild west of “Frontierland”, so in other words we’re a perfect fit for a spooky Victorian Halloween Ball!    We will open our E.L Weigand Grand Hall doors for a 21+ event to enjoy a scavenger hunt by flashlight, tarot readings, spirits, snacks, music and dancing, and a costume contest.
Members: $15
General admission:$30 
7-10 pm RSVP (Facebook event page)
Eventbrite Tickets:

——HALLOWEEN (Museum Closing Day) DUAL EVENT ———-

Sunday, October 31st – A combined event with Brenda Findley’s book launch about accidental time travelers “A Portal in Time at the Chollar Mine”,  and Halloween Trick-Or-Treat for all ages. Dress up and bring your little ones for a day of spooky fun Trick-Or-Treat Scavenger Hunt and meet the authors Brenda Findley and her grandson and co-author Carter Chasson and wave goodbye as the FWSM will close its doors for the season. Free admission!
Please save the dates and we cannot wait to celebrate with you all!

June’s Calligraphy Lessons We would like to know your thoughts about continuing incorporating lessons in “Learning Calligraphy like a Victorian”. We have a wonderful donation of art supplies for learning calligraphy and we would like to give classes throughout the year. We are providing a questionnaire regarding if it is motivating to learn calligraphy, what days and time of the week will be beneficial for the audiences to come and join the class.

Please email us these answers at events@fourthwardschool.org
What dates are your most convenient to attend class?  (choose multiple) M  T  W TH  F  S
What time will be convenient to attend class?  A)11 am -1pm, B) 12 pm– 2 pm.  C) 3pm – 5 pm, D) 6 pm – 8 pm
Do Calligraphy classes interest you?

Thank you!

  Summer Highlights
On July 4th we had a sold-out event as we Celebrated Independence Day from the FWSM balconies. Our guests enjoyed appetizers, drinks and music from World Guinness Record Pianist Squeek. The view of the fireworks were surreal from the balconies.  Next year we will certainly celebrate the 4th of July – be sure to reserve your tickets in advance due to limited seating.We can’t say enough about the success of the Educational Children’s Fair.We want to thank all the participants: Nevada Division of Minerals, Community Chest, St. Mary’s Art Center, Comstock Pottery and Tile, Cub Scout Pack 360, VC Silver Circuits, UNR Ext., W.M Keck Museum, Children’s Book Author/ Artist Greg Melton and Stop Motion Artist Annie Saunders. Kids of all ages and adults enjoyed learning arts and sciences with interactive activities, moreover the audiences were captivated on how rich our Comstock community is.  We will see you next year, as it is set to be an annual event.Our biggest event was the Annual Fundraiser — Steppin’ Back in Time “Hipsters on the Comstock” as we put our groove on celebrating the Comstock 1960s era. We had  amazing support from the Comstock community by sponsoring the event and donating marvelous items for the silent auction. Additionally, great support from artists that donated splendid art work and their time to mural desk-tops for the auction. We had informative digital installations of the 1960s Comstock era from Greg Melton’s photographs of the Sutro’s counterculture and Chris Bayer short video introducing the importance of Honky Tonk music in the 60s that had existed on the Comstock since the silver and gold. We had the pleasure to have Mary Covington as our guest speaker and sharing her documentary The Life and Times of the Red Dog Saloon. The live music of Nick Eng gave a 1960s atmosphere listening to the familiar songs of the era. Special thanks to the Café del Rio for catering the event with their delicious food. It was a memorable event and we will hope to see you next year.  List :Special thanks to Sponsors:  Donations, and Artists, Staff and volunteers.

RestorationsWe are continuing the restorations of the West Side elevation of the building with the grant funding from the Nevada State, Commission for Cultural Centers and Historic Preservation, Storey County’s Program Support Grant, and the contributions of our devoted donors in making these renovation and restoration projects possible. We have finished restoring the West side North and South elevation as well as the bell tower entry below the bell tower mansard roof.  Enjoy the results and don’t forget we’re under construction until the end of the October restoring the West Side Elevation of the Museum! 

Become a Member

Community Engagement 

It is our honor to open our doors to the community as we welcome local students in the FWSM.  This summer we had the pleasure to host Squeek’s piano recital and have the local youth pianists recite their talents on an original FWS Piano.  It was really wonderful for the schoolhouse to have the nostalgic feel of students playing music again.     School Tours were sporadic through the summer, but we enjoyed having the youngsters learn the history of the Comstock by scavenger hunt activities, and leaving the museum with happy smiles from creating cards while learning printmaking.

Did you know?
The Phantom Manor in Disneyland Paris took heavy inspiration from the Fourth Ward School!
Don’t miss the Halloween party, Sat Oct 30 @ 7pm

     From all of us at the Museum, we wish you a Safe, Healthy, and Happy Season!

We’d like to say Goodbye and Thank you to Steve Danskin, who’s cared for the museum for 16 years. Don’t know how we’ll manage without you!

Website: http://fourthwardschool.org/
Donate: http://http://fourthwardschool.org/support/

The Historic Fourth Ward School Foundation is a tax exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization formed and operated in the State of Nevada and registered with the Nevada Secretary of State. Our purpose and mission is to connect people to the relevance and importance of the Comstock story through its authentic preservation, interpretive exhibits and programs, and archival resources. Your donation may be tax deductible pursuant to the provisions of section 170(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, 26 U.S.C. §170(c).

Historic Fourth Ward School Museum & Archives
537 South C Street, P.O. Box 4, Virginia City, NV 89440
(775) 847-0975

Copyright © 2020 Historic Fourth Ward School Museum, All rights reserved.

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Historic Fourth Ward School Museum · 537 South C Street · P.O. Box 4 · Virginia City, NV 89440 · USA