The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) recently announced the election of Lynette L. Allston to the role of president of the museum’s board of trustees. In the 86-year history of the institution, Allston is the first Native American to hold this position and, according to a press release, the first Native American board chair of a top 10 U.S. comprehensive art museum.
Allston serves as the current Chief and Chair Emeritus of the Tribal Council of the Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia, “one of 11 tribes officially recognized by the Commonwealth.”
“We are tremendously delighted to have Lynette serving as our president of the board of trustees,” said Alex Nyerges, VMFA’s director and CEO. “Through her many accolades in Virginia’s diverse Native American community, Lynette will be not only a great leader, but will help ensure that the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is a museum that embraces all visitors.”
The release also noted that Allston has served on the VMFA board of trustees since 2017 as a member of several committees, and in 2021 she advised the external affairs committee to develop VMFA’s land acknowledgement, installed in November of that year.
“I am excited and honored to be elected as the president of the board of trustees,” said Allston, who graduated from Duke University with a degree in history and certification in secondary education. “The [VMFA] tells the story of people and their cultures through art, and it is my hope to continue to offer guidance about Virginia’s and the country’s rich cultural heritage.”
Per the bio information: Allston spent her formative years on her family’s farm in Drewryville, Va. After two decades of business ownership and civic engagement in Columbia, SC., she retired to her family farm. Allston also is a co-author of the book, “DoTraTung,” about the history and culture of the Nottoway Indians, in addition to serving a the president of the board of Rawls Museum Arts in Courtland, Va., one of VMFA’s 24 art museum partners across the state.