Tasha Chambers, 35 

Museum Director, Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia

click to enlarge feat42_tasha_chambers.jpg

Scott Elmquist

When Tasha Chambers took a new job as director for the Black History Museum, it came at a crucial time.

The museum was moving to its new building at the Leigh Street Armory, and the job was a big step up for Chambers, whose experience mainly was as a public relations manager for ChildFund International. Then she found out she was pregnant.

Looking ahead, she likely had no idea that she would wind up doing interviews with The Richmond Times-Dispatch while she was 40 hours into labor.

“It was insane. I would never, ever, ever do that again in life,” she says, laughing. “But that should tell you just how much this project meant to me.”

Organizers with the museum also recognized Chambers’ multitasking skills and passion for her own culture early on.

“My grandfather used to drive me around as a little girl. He showed me Evergreen Cemetery, the Armory, all the Richmond gems,” she recalls. “He just instilled in me how important it was to know who you are, where you’re from, on whose shoulders you stand, so you can appreciate where you are today.”

She also credits a former sixth-grade teacher, Pamela Parker, now an administrator at Elk Grove Middle School, who added a black history component to her class. “Now my son goes to her school,” she says, “which is amazing.”

After wanting to go into theater, Chambers started her career with ChildFund International and worked during the Ebola crisis in West Africa to get stories in major media outlets. “Just seeing people who would risk their lives to save children was incredible,” she recalls. She’s also proud of getting the organization involved with Richmond’s 2015 UCI Road World Championships, which brought her international work home — alerting Richmonders to its mission.

Along her journey, she worked with the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority — re-branding its website and creating strategies for how to empathize with people who may be displaced.

But she truly found her calling with Richmond’s only black history museum — which reopened this year. “I felt like that representation was heavily on my shoulders,” she says of the recent reopening. “There was just no way I could fail.”

Now she’s ready to work on programming.

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