Augusta County Historical Society presents program on Matthew Fontaine Maury

What: Augusta County Historical Society Stuart Speaker Series, “Matthew Fontaine Maury: Pathfinder of the Seas,” program by Keith Gibson, historian and director of the Virginia Military Institute’s museum system.
When: Thursday, Feb. 21, 7 p.m.
Where: R.R. Smith Center for History & Art, 20 S. New Street, Staunton. Second floor lecture room
Cost: Free to ACHS members; $5 for non-members; $1 for students
For more information: Contact the ACHS office at,, or 540-248-4151

To some he was known as the “Pathfinder of the Seas” while others came to think of him as the father of the modern national weather service. Few people know the full story of Matthew Fontaine Maury, who finished his career as a distinguished scientist and professor at Virginia Military Institute (VMI) in Lexington.

The story of Maury’s fascinating career will be told as part of the continuing Stuart Speaker Series sponsored by the Augusta County Historical Society on Thursday, February 21 at 7 p.m. at the R.R. Smith Center for History and Art. Colonel Keith Gibson, director of the VMI museum system, has put together a fascinating program that explores Maury’s life and career.

Gibson will focus on some of Maury’s scientific achievements such as charting the ocean currents, his efforts to create a national weather bureau, and his work in developing a catalog system for the stars. Maury’s oceanographic data was adopted by navies and merchant marines around the world. During the Civil War, Maury, a Virginian, resigned from the U.S. Navy as commander and joined forces with the Confederacy. He traveled in the South and abroad until after the war when he accepted a teaching position at VMI. Maury died at his home on the VMI campus in 1873. The North River that runs through the city of Lexington was renamed the Maury River in his honor.

As director of the VMI museum system, Gibson also serves as the architectural preservation officer for the Virginia Military Institute and is responsible for the operation and development of the VMI Museum and the Stonewall Jackson House in Lexington as well as the New Market Battlefield State Historical Park in New Market. He has authored several books and has served as a consultant on numerous historical documentaries.

The Augusta County Historical Society program will be held in the second floor lecture room of the R.R. Smith Center for History and Art. The program is open to the public. There is no charge for historical society members; non-members pay $5, and students pay $1.

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