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Evening with the Murals

HGAC will honor the late Virginia Jacobs McLaughlin, the artist who created the lovely murals that grace the walls at the G.A.R. hall, with a special “Evening with the Murals” program on Friday, Nov. 3 at the hall, located on 53 E. Middle Street in Gettysburg.

Come spend some time viewing the murals up close, and meet members of McLaughlin’s family, including son Saylor, who will speak about his mother’s life as an artist. Doors open at 6 p.m. to view the murals and the speaker presentation will begin at 7 p.m.

Tickets for this event are free, but limited, due to the seating at the G.A.R. Hall. You can reserve tickets beginning on October 9  – only two per order – by emailing HGAC at Please give your name and phone number for a follow-up confirmation.


Virginia Jacobs McLaughlin identified herself as an “itinerant painter” – those folk artists who historically traveled the countryside creating paintings and other works of art, not for monarchs and nobility, but for everyday people. The book of her collected works is entitled “Itinerant Painter, Virginia Jacobs McLaughlin: A Lifelong Brush With History,” and chronicles her 30-plus year career. When it was published in 2017, McLaughlin was nearing 95 years old and estimated she had painted about 116 murals.

As a special guest on Friday, Nov.3, Jeanne Blackburn, the author of “Itinerant Painter,” will be joining the presentation about McLaughlin’s life. 

McLaughlin was born in Columbia, Missouri and studied art at Stephens College and the University of Missouri, before moving to Washington D.C. and enrolling in the Abbott School for Commercial Art. She met her husband, Don, in Washington, and traveled with him on assignments to Europe and the Far East, before they settled in Fairfield, in Adams County.

Don McLaughlin joined HGAC and eventually became the organization’s president, and it was at his urging that Virginia undertook the mural project at the G.A.R. Hall. The cycle of murals reflects the inspiration of other artists, notably American itinerant painter Rufus Porter and the French wallpaper designer Jean Zuber. Her artwork can be found in many area structures, ranging from private homes to government buildings to the Potomac Room of Mount Vernon Inn.

Come help us celebrate the life and legacy of this “itinerant painter” who left Adams County a lasting gift on the walls of the G.A.R. hall.

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