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Artifact Donations

The Burch Collection


A Suitable Home

Written by Neleh Barcarse

While serving at Clark Air Base in Luzon during the early 1970's, Charles Burch and his family enjoyed learning about the Philippines and its people. During their stay there, they acquired a wide variety of artifacts, including woodcarvings, baskets, backpacks, a warrior's shield, and paintings.

What do you do with such "special things" which you bring back after living in a foreign country? Most souvenirs are generally discarded after a few years; some are sold; only a few are kept. For the Burchs, none of these options were acceptable.

For years after returning to the U.S., the Philippine artifacts were part of the furnishings in the Burch's Newport News home. But then their lives changed when Linda, the wife and mother, passed away in 1995. Shella, her daughter, went off to college, and Marc, Linda's stepson, remained in Kansas after attending college there.

As a result, a new "home" for their Philippine "treasures" had to be found. They wanted to put them in a facility where they would be properly preserved, used, and most importantly, appreciated.

A solution became apparent when Charley, a retired Air Force Officer, read in a local newspaper about the new Filipino American Student Cultural Center at ODU. As a result, numerous items were donated to the Center in Linda's memory.

On September 7, 1999 a reception for the Burch family was hosted at the Center. The event was attended by Karen Gould, Dean of the College of Arts and Letters, faculty members, and Filipino community leaders led by Dr. Juan Montero. Dr. Steve Carpenter and Ron Papa were the artists in charge of arranging the donated items. It is the family's hope that these items will be useful to the students and the University, and that others will make similar contributions in the future.

The George Francis Gadbois Collection


In Memory of George Francis Gadbois

George (also known as Fran or Gobby) spent time in the Philippines as a young man stationed at CLark Air Force Base. George traveled the world for work and for pleasure throughout his life. Although he did not return to the Philippines, he trasured the encounters he had with Filipinos and the chance to speak a little tagalog.

During George's years in the Philippines, he collected artifacts and later proudly displayed them in his home. it would give him great pleasure to know tjhat his collection is in a place wherer it will be appreciated

Artifacts were donated by Ron and Ruth Gadbois.