Museums, Plantations, Other Historic Places
How do I get information about museums, plantations, or historic places to visit within or around the County? You may visit the Official Tourism Website of the Commonwealth of Virginia and request for a current Travel Guide. You may request it online by going to http://www.virginia.org/site/brochure.asp?id=TGM
Meadow Farm Museum – Meadow Farm, one of the last remaining 19th-century farms in Henrico County, Virginia, is now an 1860 living history farm focusing on middle-class rural life just before the upheaval of the Civil War. Costumed interpreters provide insights into the lives of Dr. John Mosby Sheppard, the owner of Meadow Farm, and his family. Phone: (804) 501-5520
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts – The museum presents a panorama of world art spanning ancient times to the present. Outstanding features include the Mellon collections of Sporting Art, French Impressionism, Post-Impressionism; the Lewis collections of Art Nouveau, Arts & Crafts, Art Deco and Modern decorative arts, Modern and Contemporary art; Russian imperial Easter eggs by Faberg; the Gans collection of English silver; European and American painting masterpieces; Ancient, Classical and Egyptian art; and one of the world’s leading collections of the art of India, Nepal and Tibet. Phone: (804) 340-1400
Science Museum of Virginia – Touch, observe and explore the impact of science on your life from astronomy to computers, from flight to crystals, from DNA to electricity – all within the elegant grandeur of a historic, renovated railroad station. Enjoy hundreds of permanent and visiting exhibits. Watch a giant-screen film in the museum’s Ethyl Corporation IMAXDOME & Planetarium. Phone: 1-800-659-1727
Children’s Museum of Richmond – Experience one of the East Coast’s most exciting, innovative children’s museums. It’s a museum where you can touch everything! Great family fun for ages toddler to eight. CMOR is also the home of the one and only Legendary Santa and the Genworth Holiday Village during the holiday season. Phone: (804) 474-7000
Virginia Aviation Museum – enjoy unlimited opportunities to view 30 historic aircraft, including airworthy Wright Brothers reproduction aircraft – the 1899 kite, 1900, 1901, 1902 gliders and 1903 Flyer. Stroll past exhibits on pioneer aviation, World War II and the Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame. Enjoy aviation films and lectures in the Benn Theater. See the incomparable SR-71 Blackbird! Phone: (804) 236-3620
Valentine Museum – now called “Valentine Richmond History Center“. Tour the Wickham House, listed as a National Historic Landmark, was built by John Wickham and illustrates the lives of one of Richmond’s most prominent families. The Wickham House was purchased by Mann Valentine Jr. and in 1898 became the first home of the Valentine Museum. The History Center is creating a lively and compelling new center for Richmonders and tourists to discover the diverse stories that come together to tell the history of Richmond. Phone: (804) 649-0711
The Museum and White House of the Confederacy – A private non-profit educational & preservation organization, the Museum is home to the world’s largest collection of artifacts, manuscripts & images associated with the domestic, military & political life during the period of the Confederacy. Exhibits feature the personal effects of Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis and other Confederate figures of the Civil War. Take a guided tour of the White House of the Confederacy, home to Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his family throughout the war. The mansion contains over half the furnishings that were here with the Davis family. Phone: (804) 649-1861
Virginia Historical Society – Offers the most comprehensive collection of Virginiana in the world and features the largest display of Virginia artifacts on permanent view. At its center is “The Story of Virginia, an American Experience,” the state’s only exhibition covering all of Virginia history from prehistoric times to the present. Phone: (804) 358-4901
Black History Museum & Cultural Center of Virginia – Significant facets of African-American life in Virginia from Jamestown in 1619 until today are on display here. Experience the history and culture of Virginia’s African-Americans. Phone: (804) 780-9093 or (804) 780-9107
Virginia Holocaust Museum – Established in May of 1997 to teach tolerance through education to middle and high school students, to combat racism and anti-semitism. It was soon discovered that persons of all ages experience a historic awakening. The time line is Europe from 1933 to W.W.II’s end, 1945, as seen through the experiences of the Ipp family, Holocaust survivors who survived the Kovno Ghetto-Concentration camp by hiding for 9-months under a potato field. Phone: (804) 257-5400
Wilton House Museum – Experience 18th century life at Wilton, Richmond’s own Georgian plantation manor house. Built in 1753 for the family of William Randolph III, Wilton House is home to a rich collection of 18th and early 19th century furnishings, portraits, silver, ceramics, and textiles. Visitors to the house included George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and the Marquis de Lafayette. Phone: 1-877-994-5866
Take the Civil War Trails that follow the campaigns and preserved battlefields through Richmond, Petersburg and finally, on to Appomattox:
The American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar – located on the banks of the James River in Richmond, Virginia, is the gateway to Civil War travel in the region. A National Historic Landmark and one-time heart of Confederate war production, the Center is now home to the main visitor center of the NPS Richmond National Battlefield Park and a new exhibit, “In the Cause of Liberty,” which provides a national overview of the Civil War. The site offers visitors and students an engaging and interactive exploration of the Civil War on both the local and national levels through the perspectives of Union, Confederate, and African American participants. Phone: (804) 780-1865
Pamplin Historical Park & The National Museum of the Civil War Soldier - A National Historic Landmark and one of “Virginia’s Best Places to Visit” according to the Travel Channel, Pamplin Historical Park & The National Museum of the Civil War Soldier is a 422-acre campus offering high-tech museums and hands-on experiences. Called “the new crown jewel of Civil War History destinations in America” by Pulitzer Prize historian James McPherson, the Park has four world-class museums, three antebellum homes and costumed living history daily. The Park is also the site of the Breakthrough Battlefield of April 2, 1865, where Union forces broke through Petersburg’s defense lines, and a new exhibit, “Many Thousands Go: African Americans and the Civil War”. Pamplin Historical Park is the vision of Robert B. Pamplin and his son, Dr. Robert B. Pamplin, Jr., and is recognized as one of America’s finest Civil War attractions. Phone: 1-877-PAM-PLIN
Appomattox Court House and National Historical Park - The Appomattox Court House marks the site of the end of the Civil War, where Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant and our nation reunited on April 9, 1865. Phone: (434) 352-5996
Agecroft Hall – A “transplant” from pre-Elizabethan England, this half-timbered manor house was dismantled and brought to Virginia in 1926 where it was reconstructed near the James River. The great hall, with its original 16th-century oak paneling, rises over two-stories and is surmounted by a minstrel’s gallery. A magnificent mullioned bay window, 10 feet high and 25 feet long, bears the ancient coat of arms of its former owners in stained glass. Its 23 acres of lawns and gardens overlook the river. Phone: (804) 353-4241
Belle Air Plantation – This 17th-century plantation home is a rare architectural monument built circa 1670. It is known for its original massive heartpine timbers, which form not only the structure but also provide the interior decorative trim. The home also includes what is considered to be America’s finest Jacobean stairway. The landscaped grounds overlook extensive rolling farmland. Belle Air has been featured in the magazine “Antiques.”
Phone: (804) 829-2431
Berkeley Plantation - Berkeley is Virginia’s most historic plantation. Visit the site of the first official Thanksgiving (1619). See the birthplace of Benjamin Harrison, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and President William Henry Harrison, our nation’s ninth president, whose grandson Benjamin became the 23rd president. Envision Lincoln reviewing 140,000 Union troops. Hear “Taps” (composed here in 1862). We invite you to experience Berkeley’s famous hospitality, as did the first ten presidents. An architectual gem, the elegant 1726 Georgian mansion is furnished with rare period antiques. Five terraces of restored boxwood and flower gardens overlook farmlands and offer breathtaking vistas of the James River.
Phone: (888) 466-6018
Tuckahoe Plantation - A home and working farm for nearly 300 years, Tuckahoe Plantation was Thomas Jefferson’s boyhood home. Considered by architectural historians to be the finest existing early 18th century plantation in America, Tuckahoe stands today in its virtually undisturbed setting on a bluff overlooking the James River valley. A beautiful example of the early Georginan Period, Tuckahoe still contains the rare outbuildings which were the office and schoolhouse where Thomas Jefferson went to class. The only remaining early Randolph home, it contains outstanding interior paneling and embellishments, and is appropriately beautifully furnished. Phone: (804) 784-5736
Westover Plantation - Built by William Byrd II in 1730, it is the nation’s premier example of a Georgian domestic complex. Its stately air and graceful proportions symbolize the high level of architectural quality attained during the colonial era. Complementing the house are gardens and outbuildings, as well as a unique clairvoyee embellished with stone finials and wrought-iron gates.
Phone: (804) 784-5736
Monticello - Home of President Thomas Jefferson. No other home in the United States more accurately reflects the personality of its owner than Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s architectural masterpiece and beloved mountaintop home. Guided tours of the house are offered daily throughout the year; outdoor gardens and plantation tours are offered daily April-October.
Information (weekdays 9 am-5 pm): (434) 984-9822
Recorded visitor information: (434) 984-9800
Ash Lawn-Highland - Home of President James Monroe. In 1799, James Monroe and his family moved into their Albemarle “cabin castle,” adjacent to Jefferson’s Monticello. Jefferson had previously urged Monroe to move to the area to create a “society to our taste”. Throughout the year there are many special events such as the Virginia Wine Festival, Ash Lawn Opera Festival, Plantation Days, and Christmas festivities.
Phone: (434) 293-9539
Montpelier - Home of President James Madison. Montpelier is James Madison’s lifelong home, a 2,750-acre estate that includes farmland, race courses, a formal garden, a National Landmark Forest and active archaeological sites.
Phone: (540) 672-2728
Red Hill - Patrick Henry National Memorial . Patrick Henry lived in several homes, but he best loved this plantation on the Staunton River which he fondly called “one of the garden spots of the world.” The “Voice of the Revolution” moved to Red Hill, Henry’s last home and burial place, in 1794 at the age of 57. Visit the reconstructed house and dependencies, original law office.
Phone: (800) 514-7463
Flowerdew Hundred – Flowerdew Hundred is one of the best preserved early seventeenth century English settlements discovered in America. First settled in 1619 by Sir George Yeardley, Flowerdew evolved into one of the most successful settlements in early Virginia. Throughout the 17th, 18th, and 19th century, Flowerdew witnessed the continued expansion of Virginia, and played an integral part in many of Virginia’s most important episodes. While visiting Flowerdew Hundred visitors can enjoy both the historic and natural resources of the 1400 acre working farm. Tours include: Museum, 1820 detached kitchen, Commemorative Windmill, Grant’s Crossing and driving tour, and Walk on the Wildside!.
Main Foundation Office: (804) 541-8897
Museum: (804) 541-6974
Wildlife Resource Office: (804) 541-9096
Henricus Historical Park – Experience what it was like when the first English settlers moved to America by taking a trip to Henricus Historical Park. Established in 1611 by Sir Thomas Dale, Henricus was the second successful English city in the New World. It was built along the James River on land inhabited by the Appomattocks tribe, where Pocahontas grew up. Harsh battles were fought when the English first arrived in America. It was the marriage between Pocahontas and John Rolfe that helped bring a peaceful coexistence between the two warring factions. Daily, visitors enjoy a very interactive experience as costumed interpreters bring early Virginia history to life! Special events and programs are offered throughout the year including Publick Day in September.
Phone: (804) 706-1340
Maggie L. Walker National Historical Site – This is a restored home of the prominent African-American Virginian entrepreneur, editor and leader. It commemorates the life of this famous woman who was a devoted community leader and an early advocate for African American women’s rights. Phone: (804) 771-2017 or (800) 343-7946
Summer Reenactments of Patrick Henry’s “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” Speech – St. John’s Church became famous as a living memorial to American liberty when over 100 Virginia colonial leaders, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Richard Henry Lee, and Patrick Henry met here in the spring of 1775 to avoid the wrath of Royal Governor Lord Dunmore. The Second Virginia Convention opened in March of 1775. Patrick Henry’s famous speech in defense of liberty occurred on March 23, 1775 inside the Church. Henry’s timely resolutions passed by a narrow margin and the American Revolution began the following month when shots were fired at Lexington and Concord. Phone: (804) 648-5015
Colonial Williamsburg – The restored capital of 18th century England’s largest and most important colony in the New World. This vast outdoor living-history museum, with public buildings, private homes, stores, taverns and gardens, is brought to life with tradesmen and historical interpreters in full period costume.
Jamestown – Learn about America’s first permanent English colony, established in 1607, 13 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, Mass. Re-creations of the colonists’ fort, three ships and a Powhatan Indian village depicts life in the early 1600s.
Yorktown – The battlefield is the site of the final, major battle of the American Revolutionary War and symbolic end of Colonial English America. The Yorktown Victory Center is a museum of the American Revolution that chronicles America’s struggle for independence from the beginning of colonial unrest to the emergence of a free nation. Gallery exhibits provide eyewitness accounts of the revolutionary era and tell of “Yorktown’s sunken fleet,” ships lost during the 1781 siege of Yorktown.