New Waynesboro Museum Preserves Russell Legacy

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The Russell Museum features a replica of the 30-foot Christ of the Blue Ridge statue that stood in the garden of Swannanoa until 1998. Photo: Clover Carroll.

The new Russell Museum at 518 W. Main St. in downtown Waynesboro held a festive grand opening on November 1, followed by a Homecoming Conference titled “The Power of Mind in Action.” 170 local dignitaries, residents, and University of Science and Philosophy members gathered for speeches, gallery tours, live music including bagpipe, harp, and violin, wine from Barren Ridge Vineyard, hors-d’oeuvres by Franklin’s Catering, and a fundraising auction of Russell memorabilia such as signed books, miniatures, art replicas, and a recorded lecture series from the 1950s.

“I do this in the spirit of raising consciousness, which this planet so desperately needs,” said chairman of the board and president emeritus Michael P. Hudak before cutting the ribbon to officially open the new museum. “Our mission is to contribute to the uplift of humanity as a whole,” added current USP president Matthew Presti. “As Nature expresses God to Man, so Man expresses God through Art.” 

The 32,000-square-foot facility—which features multiple galleries, the Science room, the Mark Twain meeting room, the Travelling Art room, the Music and Poetry Room, and a book and gift shop—displays a vast collection of Russell’s paintings, sculptures, furniture, awards, archival documents, wardrobe pieces, and other memorabilia. It will also serve as the headquarters of the University of Science and Philosophy Russell founded in 1950 with his wife, Lao. The USP will host classes, guest speakers, conferences, and a travelling art exhibit—currently featuring the local artwork of Nathan Davis and Buddy James Dougherty. The museum is open Wednesday–Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.  Admission is $10 for adults and $8 for seniors, military, and fire/safety personnel, with children aged 7 and under free. 

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