Museums in Virginia are historical. It represents the history of the American Civil Wars, World War I, World War II, and many other topics. These are among the famous museums in Virginia.
1. Museums In Virginia – 9 Famous Places To Visit
Virginia is full of historical museums with incredible architectural designs. Following is the list of 9 famous museums in Virginia.
1.1. Military Aviation Museum
The Military Aviation Museum is situated at Virginia Beach in Virginia, US. It is packed with collections of warbirds that are in flying condition. These collections are the largest around the world. The popular collections of warbirds include Russia, Germany, the US, France, the UK, and Italy. It belongs to both the world wars – World War I & World War II.
The entire wide collection ranges from the 1910s to the start of the 1950s. However, the work includes the restoration and preservation of the aircraft. Also, it conducts airshows twice a year. Here, you can see the demonstrations of these aircraft.
You will find artifacts along with a reference library for all the collections. It has the entire context of these historic materials and artifacts. Moreover, the library helps you with both, educational purposes. Also, it is for exploring the history of the collections.
Gerald “Jerry” Yagen was the founder of this museum. He founded the museum in the year 2005. However, the hangers of the museum were officially started for the public in 2008. Since the middle of the 1990s, he had been gathering and restoring these warbirds for his broad collections.
Out of so many aircraft, Stearman N2S-3 and Waco YMF-5 are allowed for rides. Visitors are allowed to take a ride in either of them. Both of these are open-cockpit biplanes. It is an aviation museum with more than seventy vintage airplanes. As of 2019, the museum received over 80,000 visitors. Further, the director of the museum is Keegan Chetwynd.
1.2. The Poe Museum
The Poe Museum is situated in Shockoe Bottom, Richmond, Virginia, US. It is also known as Edgar Allan Poe Museum. Also, the museum is primarily dedicated to the Edgar Allan Poe. He was an American writer. However, Poe Allan has never stayed completely in this building. But, this museum is a way to celebrate his remembrance of the time when he lived in Richmond.
The museum has many personal belongings of Edgar Allan. It also showcases the collections of original works. It includes manuscripts, letters, and first editions. The collection is among the largest collections in the world. In addition, it also offers an overview of previous Richmond during the 19th century. Richmond is shown because Poe had lived and worked here.
The museum showcases the career and life of Edgar Allan through various documentation. These documentations include the relics, verse, and his achievements with the pictures. Moreover, it displays all about his life when he lived in Richmond. Jacob Ege built the structure of the museum.
In 1909, a group of the residents of Richmond campaigned. It was to recognize the writers of the city. Then, the citizens of Richmond asked them to create a statue of Edgar Allan Poe on Monument Avenue for the city council. But, they were turned down due to a disreputable character created by him.
Later, the same group of residents moved forward with their campaign to fund the Poe Museum. The Old Stone House was constructed in the year 1750. In 1922, the museum was officially established as the Old Stone House. It is because he never lived here. Later, the name became popular as Edgar Allan Poe Museum or the Poe Museum.
1.3. Virginia Museum of Transportation
The Virginia Museum of Transportation is situated in Downtown Roanoke, Virginia, US. The museum is dedicated to the transportation of artifacts and materials. In 1963, the Virginia Museum was established as Roanoke Transportation Museum. It was situated in Wasena Park, Roanoke, Virginia, US.
At that time, the museum was sheltered in the freight depot of an old Norfolk & Western Railway. The J Class Steam Locomotive No. 611 & a United States Army Jupiter Rocket were the initial artifacts of the museum. Norfolk & Western Railway donated these artifacts to Roanoke City. Most of the engines of Norfolk & Western Railways were manufactured here.
Further, it added an original DC Transit PCC streetcar to broaden its collection. Many other rail equipment pieces were added too. These include a Studebaker wagon, numerous horse-drawn vehicles like a hearse, and a covered wagon. A flood almost collapsed the museum in November 1985. Along with this, many of its collections were also destroyed.
Due to this, the museum had to close down temporarily for refurbishment. Later, the museum re-opened in the same location at the freight station in Roanoke, Virginia. This time it was named the Virginia Museum of Transportation. Further, the General Assembly of Virginia noted this museum as an official transportation museum of the Commonwealth.
Originally, the steam locomotives of No. 1218 and No. 611 were the property of Norfolk & Railway Roanoke city. On April 2, 2012, the ownership was entirely given to the museum on VMT’s 50th Birthday. Moreover, it is a transport museum with three main galleries. These are Aviation Gallery, Automobile Gallery, and Railroad Exhibits.
The Nauticus is a museum as well as a science center. It is situated in Norfolk’s waterfront downtown, Virginia, US. However, it is a maritime-themed museum that is also called as National Maritime Center. The National Maritime Center Authority consolidated the Nauticus in February 1988. In the very next month, Rear Admiral Jackson Knowles Parker became the authorizing executive director.
He was the Norfolk Naval Base’s retired commander. The construction was started on the original land of Norfolk’s Banana Pier. It is located on the waterfront in downtown Norfolk. However, the construction was started in February 1922. The Nauticus Museum was officially opened to the public in June 1994.
Further, the Harbor Park, Virginia Zoo, and the Norfolk Scope are a few other visitor attractions. The museum and science center campus comprises Sail Nauticus, USS Wisconsin, and Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center. The Nauticus Foundation developed Sail Nauticus in 2013. It is a non-profit organization. This is a community sailing center that has programs for youth and adults.
On December 7, 2000, a battleship arrived at the museum. It is among the largest battleships. The date is exact because it was the USS Wisconsin’s 57th anniversary. USS Wisconsin was started in the year 1943. On April 16, 2001, it was started for main deck tours.
The Celebration Center and Half Moone Cruise are situated at the Nauticus. On April 7, 2007, the city of Norfolk started this center. It facilitates the Elizabeth River’s views. Also, it serves as a venue for space events. Moving on, it is occupying an area of about 23,000 square feet.
1.5. Stonewall Jackson’s Headquarters Museum
The Stonewall Jackson’s Headquarters Museum is situated at 415 North Braddock Street, Winchester, Virginia. This museum is a historic house. However, the house was built in the Gothic Revival Style in 1854. William McP. Fuller built this historic house. He was a local dentist. He gave a name to this museum Alta Vista.
The name given was based on its beautiful scenic view over the hillsides facing Winchester. In the year 1856, Mr. William sold this house to Lieutenant Colonel Lewis Tilghman Moore. He was the commander of the Thirty-first Virginia Militia. Later, he offered this house to serve as Major General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s headquarters. It was in the Confederate States Army. At that time, he was commanding the Fourth Virginia Infantry.
Jackson was shifted to this house after commanding the Department of Northern Virginia’s Valley District in November 1861. In December 1861, Jackson’s wife, Mary Anna joined him in this house. Later, Jackson with his wife lived in this house until March 1862. Jackson became very friendly with the culture and people of Winchester. So, they referred to this home as their “winter home”.
They wanted to settle here after the Civil War. Later, the home was bought in the 1960s. Afterward, it was converted into a museum. It includes numerous artifacts and possessions that belonged to the Jacksons. Mary Tyler Moore has also invested in the museum’s redevelopment. She was an actress and a descendant of Colonel Moore. In 1967, this house was directed as a National Historic Landmark.
1.6. Virginia Holocaust Museum
The Virginia Holocaust Museum is shortly known as VHM. It’s situated in Richmond, Virginia, US. However, it is a public history museum. While it is devoted to the Holocaust of its victim’s personal stories. In 1997, the museum was initially opened. Jay Ipson, Mark Fetter, AI Rosenbaum, and Devorah Ben David founded this museum.
The museum was sheltered in the original Education building located at the Temple Beth El. So, the museum became a popular attraction for the school field trips. After a few years, the museum maintained to outgrow its space. Additionally, it required more space as the number of visitors and school groups increased.
The American Tobacco Company Warehouse was offered by the Virginia General Assembly. So, the museum can be relocated. After the refurbishment and rearrangements of the building, the museum was expanded. Farther, the museum was devoted to the Holocaust Day of Remembrance, 2003. The day was known as Yom HaShoah.
Since 2003, the museum is constantly growing with its features and earnings. It receives more than 42,000 visitors every year. It still stays a significant spot for field trips to Virginia. However, over a hundred high schools and middle schools visit this museum annually.
The museum was mainly founded to spread awareness of the Holocaust tragedies. It was the primary mission of the museum. However, it is among the famous museums in Virginia. It also showcases the World War II’s atrocities. This mainly exhibits four exhibitions. These include Ipson Saga, Core Exhibition, Nuremberg Courtroom, and German Güterwagen.
1.7. Museum of the Shenandoah Valley
The Shenandoah Valley Museum is at 901 Amherst Street in Winchester, Virginia, US. Also, it is located at the largest plains of Winchester city. This museum conserves and enhances the cultural life and inheritance of the valley. However, it is shortly known as MSV. It is a regional as well as cultural center that includes a museum.
Michael Graves sketched the building of the museum. He was the winner of the Driehaus Prize. Also, he is a famous architect. It has formal gardens in seven acres of area. Also, it has a Glen Burnie House from the eighteenth century. However, the complex of the museum is comprised of 3 primary components. These are the House, Gardens, and Museum.
The museum was established in the year 2005. Further, the museum consists of four primary galleries. These are:
- Lee Taylor Miniatures Gallery
- Changing Exhibitions Gallery
- Shenandoah Valley Gallery
- Founders Gallery
The R. Lee Taylor Miniatures Gallery is famous for showcasing classic furnished miniature houses’ collections. The rooms and houses are by R. Lee Taylor from 1924 to 2000. From the 1950s, he lived at the house of Glen Burnie until his death. He built the fourteen entirely rearranged rooms and houses.
In the Changing Exhibitions Gallery, many temporary exhibitions are held throughout the entire year.
The history and the pre-history of the wide sweep of the valley can better be explored in the Shenandoah Valley Gallery. The exhibitions here are based on various techniques used for exhibiting.
Founders Gallery presents the changing exhibitions. These relate to the MSV’s benefactor’s private collection, Julian Wood Glass Jr.
1.8. American Civil War Museum
The American Civil War Museum is situated in central Virginia’s Greater Richmond Region. It is a multi-site museum devoted to the history of the American Civil War. This museum executes the 3 sites, namely:
- American Civil War Museum at Historic Tredegar (Richmond)
- The White House of the Confederacy (Richmond)
- American Civil War Museum (Appomattox)
The museum offers broad collections. It includes manuscripts, photographs, artifacts, and Confederate books & pamphlets. Moreover, the American Civil War Center at Tredegar and the Museum of the Confederacy merged in November 2013. It created an American Civil War Museum after merging. The recent name was announced in January 2014.
The historic Tredegar was a shelter for the American Civil War Museum. Dating back to 1836, Tredegar Iron Works was founded by Francis B. Deane. Later, Francis was hired as a commercial sales agent by Joseph Reid Anderson in 1841. Under the ownership of Anderson, Tredegar created many items. These items include ships, locomotives, naval hardware, brass items, spikes, train wheels, iron machinery, etc.
Moreover, the museum has accomplished the latest broad building in 2019 on the Tredegar Iron Works site in Richmond.
The White House of the Confederacy is a great mansion. John Brockenbrough constructed this building in the year 1818. He was the Bank of Virginia’s president. Brockenbrough’s residence was constructed in the early 19th century. However, Robert Mills designed this residence.
The Museum of Confederacy – Appomattox is situated in Appomattox, Virginia, US. It was opened to the public in the year 2012. It displays the Civil War’s closing days. Also, it represents the journey of the US toward reunion.
1.9. National Museum of the Marine Corps
The National Museum of the Marine Corps is a historical museum. This represents the history of the United States Marine Corps. It is situated in the Triangle, Virginia, closer to the MCB Quantico. Moving on the museum was officially established on November 10, 2006. Also, it is among the top tourist attractions in Virginia.
In conclusion, it is one of the most famous museums in Virginia. It lures over half a million people yearly. However, it announced its major expansion in July 2013. Later, it planned to add more sections related to the latest Marine Corps. Moreover, it includes a Global War on Terrorism Gallery. It is a 1983 Beirut barracks bombing and a combat art gallery.
Both of the Marine Corps Historical Centers were replaced by the museum in the Washington Navy Yard. On July 1, 2005, it got closed. Also, on November 15, 2002, the Marine Corps Air-Ground Museum got closed. It was located in Quantico, Virginia, US. Further, it is a public-private venture.
It is jointly managed by the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation and the United States Marine Corps. The operations of the museum are executed by the foundation. Meanwhile, the building of the museum will be donated to the Marine Corps.
Curtis W. Fentress designed the building of the museum. He was an architect of the Fentress Architects.
Following are the permanent exhibits of the museum:
- Vietnam War
- Leatherneck Gallery
- Korean War
- Legacy Walk
- World War II
- Making Marines
Museums in Virginia are so many. However, these are among the famous museums in Virginia. These museums have a rich history. History from the early 18th and 19th centuries. The museums mentioned here are from the 18th century to the 20th century. Each museum represents a different kind of topic from history.
As mentioned above, a transportation museum presents transportation artifacts. The other one shows the space artifacts. Moving on, a museum is based on the violence of Virginia City. It also facilitates brief context about the history. The history of the materials and artifacts. So, these are kept in the museum.
These museums help in exploring the knowledge of many individuals. Also, it is for educational purposes. The students can get visual knowledge related to their own city’s history. Moreover, talking about architecture is also based on the popular styles of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. The most trending style at that was the Gothic Revival Style.
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