Historic House Museums in Virginia
We try to keep this list of historic house museums for Virginia current, but it is best to check directly with the museums for their hours and other information. If you know of a historic house museum in Virginia that should be listed here, please use our submission form to let us know about it.
History comes to life through guided tours that interpret 19th-century life in Southwest Virginia. The home's original owners enjoyed status in the emerging middle class: the Fields in the years on the eve of the Civil War, and the Penns in the gilded 1890s.
Open Wed 11-4, Thu-Sat 1-4 • 208 West Main Street • (276) 676-0216
Revolutionary War hero, Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee, father of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, purchased several lots on North Washington Street in Alexandria soon after the War for Independence. He later sold the lot at the corner of Oronoco Street to his cousin Philip Richard Fendall, who built this wood frame house in 1785.
Open Tue-Sat 10-4, Sun 1-4 • 614 Oronoco Street • (703) 548-1789
Built on the edge of the frontier wilderness, Smithfield offered a last vestige of civilization as frontiersman traveled west. The sophistication and generous scale of the architecture recalls many of the plantation homes in Tidewater.
See their web site for hours • On the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute Off 460 Bypass on Road 314 • (540) 231-3947
Site of the first Thanksgiving, and birthplace of President William Harrison and Declaration of Independence signer Benjamin Harrison V.
Open daily 9-5 • 12602 Harrison Landing Road • (804) 829-6018 or (888) 466-6018
Shirley, settled in 1613, is the oldest plantation in Virginia and the oldest family-owned business in North America, dating back to 1638.
Open daily 9-5 • 501 Shirley Plantation Road • 800-232-1613
Monticello is the autobiographical masterpiece of Thomas Jefferson, designed and redesigned and built and rebuilt for more than forty years.
See their web site for hours • 931 Thomas Jefferson Parkway • (434) 984-9800
Evelynton was the site of fierce Civil War skirmishes in 1862, when General George McClellan waged his destructive Peninsula Campaign; J.E.B. Stuart, Stonewall Jackson and John Pelham bravely led the Southern offensive in the Battle of Evelynton Heights. The original house and out-buildings were burned during that conflict, and the current residence was erected two generations later by Edmund Ruffin's great grandson, John Augustine Ruffin, Jr. and his wife Mary Ball Saunders.
Open daily 9-5 • 6701 John Tyler Highway •
Ferry Farm was the principal home of George Washington's formative years. The Washington family moved to Ferry Farm in 1738, when George was six years old. He lived there until he reached young manhood and moved to Mount Vernon.
See their web site for hours • 268 Kings Hwy • (540) 370-0732
Fielding and Betty Washington Lewis, George Washington's sister, built Historic Kenmore, originally part of a plantation of almost 1,300 acres, in the 1770s.
See their web site for hours • 1201 Washington Ave • (540) 373-3381
In 1772, George Washington purchased a house from Michael Robinson in Fredericksburg, Virginia for his mother. Mary Ball Washington spent her last seventeen years in this comfortable home. The white frame house sits on the corner of Charles and Lewis Streets and was in walking distance to Kenmore, home of Mary's daughter Betty Fielding Lewis.
See their web site for hours • 1200 Charles Street • (540) 373-1569
Belle Boyd Cottage has served as a tavern, private residence, military headquarters, apartment building, and store room. At the time of the Civil War, this cottage wa the residence of Belle Boyd's aunt and uncle. Belle Boyd stayed in the cottage using the opportunity to spy on Federal troops occupying the town. The cottage has been restored as a museum depicting Warren County during the Civil War.
Call for Hours • 101 Chester Street • (540) 636-1446
On April 5, 1856, a child who later called himself Booker T. Washington, was born in slavery on this 207-acre tobacco farm.
Open Daily 9-5 • 12130 Booker T. Washington Highway • (540) 721-2094
It was 1804 when George Carter, great grandson of colonial Virginia's renowned Robert "King" Carter, began building his Oatlands estate: the mansion, greenhouse, dairy, smoke house, bank barn and gardens. In the 1820s, he remodeled his federal mansion to its current Greek Revival style. Carter died in 1846, and his widow, Elizabeth Grayson Carter, remained at Oatlands with their two sons and managed the property through the Civil War years.
See their web site for hours • 20850 Oatlands Plantation Lane • (703) 777-3174
The only home that the famous Confederate General Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson ever owned.
Open Mon-Sat 9-5, Sun 1-5 • 8 East Washington Street • (540) 463-2552
The octagonal house of Thomas Jefferson.
Open Wed-Mon 10-4 Apr-Nov • 1548 Bateman Bridge Road • (434) 525-1806
The Hollow, built in 1764 by Thomas Marshall (1730-1802), was the boyhood home of Chief Justice John Marshall during his formative years between ages 10 and 18. The Hollow is one of Fauquier County's earliest existing examples of fine frontier architecture and the earliest existing example of a structure built by Thomas Marshall.
Home of George Mason.
Open Daily 9:30-5 • 10709 Gunston Road • (703) 550-9220
Arlington House was the home of Robert E. Lee and his family for thirty years and is uniquely associated with the Washington and Custis families. George Washington Parke Custis, Lee's father-in-law, built the house between 1802 and 1818 to be his home as well as a memorial to George Washington, his step-grandfather.
Open daily 9:30-4:30 • George Washington Memorial Parkway - Turkey Run Park • (703) 235-1530
Belle Grove is an 18th-century grain and livestock farm, which, in its prime (circa 1815), encompassed about 7500 acres of land. The unique limestone house was completed in 1797 for Major Isaac Hite and his wife Nelly, sister of future President James Madison. The house has remained virtually unchanged through the years, offering visitors an experience of the life and times of the people who lived there in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
See their web site for tour info • 336 Belle Grove Road • (540) 869-2028
Built around 1808 by Robert Carter Burwell.
See their web site for hours • 830 Long Branch Lane • (888) 558-5567
Mount Vernon was the beloved home of George and Martha Washington from the time of their marriage in 1759 until General Washington's death in 1799. He worked tirelessly to expand his plantation from 2,000 acres to 8,000 and the mansion house from six rooms to twenty one.
Open daily, see their web site for hours • 200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway • (703) 780-2000
Built in 1769 by William Harwood, the 'T'- frame Georgian-style house known as Endview has witnessed momentous times in American history including the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 and the Civil War.
Open Mon, Wed - Sat, 10 - 4; Sun, 1 - 5 • 362 Yorktown Road • (757) 887-1862
Lee Hall Mansion is the only large antebellum plantation house remaining on the lower Virginia Peninsula. Completed in 1859, Lee Hall Mansion was home to affluent planter Richard Decauter Lee (of the York County Lee family), his wife Martha, and their children. Only three years after the house's completion, the Lees fled their home as the Peninsula became one of the first battlegrounds of the Civil War.
See their web site for hours • 163 Yorktown Road • (757) 888-3371
At the turn of the 20th century, the J. Thomas Newsome family moved to Newport News. In this industrial city, he established a law practice and prospered as part of the postwar South's new urban, black middle class. Through self-determination and a solid education, Newsome (1869-1942) became a respected attorney, journalist, churchman, and civic leader. His elegant Queen Anne residence served as the hub of the local black community from which he led the fight for social justice within the commonwealth.
See their web site for hours • 2803 Oak Avenue • (757) 247-2360 or 247-2380
The Hunter House Victorian Museum was built in 1894 as the family home for Mr. James Wilson Hunter and his wife Lizzie Ayer Barnes Hunter and their three children James Wilson, Jr., Harriett Cornelia and Eloise Dexter. As none of the three children married, they continued to live their adult lives in their family home. With no heirs, Eloise as the last surviving member of the family, created the Hunter Foundation. According to her will, she required the foundation to operate her "residence at 240 Freemason Street … with the furniture, decorations, paintings and curios … as a museum and example of American Victorian Architecture."
Open Wed-Sat 10:30-3:30, Sun 1:30-3:30 • 240 W. Freemason Street • (757) 623-9814
Federal home of John Sheperd Kerr
See their web site for hours • 69 Market Street • (757) 787-8012
Montpelier is a 2,750-acre estate that includes farmland, racecourses, a terraced two-acre formal garden, a panoramic landscape, a National Landmark Forest, active archaeological sites, and more than 130 buildings, including the main house.
See their web site for tour info • 11407 Constitution Highway • Phone
For hundreds of years, Agecroft Hall was the distinguished home of England's Langley and Dauntesey families. At the end of the 19th century, however, Agecroft fell into disrepair, and in 1925 it was sold at auction. Hearing of this tremendous opportunity, Richmonder Thomas C. Williams, Jr. purchased the structure, and had it dismantled, crated, and shipped across the Atlantic, and then painstakingly reassembled in a Richmond neighborhood known as Windsor Farms.
Open Tue-Sat, 10-4, Sun 12:30-5 • 4305 Sulgrave Road • (804) 353-4241
Cole Digges, a Revolutionary War hero, built his house in Richmond in 1805. Renovated in 1995, the building now houses the statewide offices of the APVA, including a library and archives which are open by appointment.
Open by appointment • 204 West Franklin Street • (804) 648-1889
ohn Marshall built his home from 1788 to 1790 and lived there until his death in 1835. On the National and Virginia historic registers, it is a temple-front, four-room plan house with an Adamesque interior. The house has undergone remarkably few changes since Marshall's ownership. It reflects much of its original appearance, combining Federal characteristics such as Flemish-bond brickwork, a Roman temple pediment, and Neo-classical motifs along with Georgian elements such as rubbed brick lintels, an English-bond brick water table, and paneled interior walls and wainscoting.
Open Tue-Sat 10-4:30, Sun 12-5 • 818 East Marshall Street • (804) 648-7998
In 1886, James and Sallie Dooley acquired farmland on the banks of the James River, where they planned to build a new home. Their architect, Edgerton Stewart Rogers (1860-1901), born and educated in Rome, combined the Romanesque Revival style with the picturesque Queen Anne for the Dooley residence. By 1893, the Dooleys were living in their 12,000 square-foot, 33-room home, which they named "May Mont," a name which combines Mrs. Dooley's maiden name and the Italian word for hill.
See their web site for hours • 1700 Hampton Street • (804) 358-7166
Reputedly the oldest residential dwelling in Richmond, this modest house is now surrounded by the Shockoe Valley commercial district. Dendrochronology (tree ring dating) suggests that the house was built in 1754. The earliest records of the house date to 1783 in a city land tax book. Samuel Ege lived in the house and was a flour inspector.
Open year round. Call for hours. • 1914 East Main St. • (804) 648-5523
Situated on a bluff overlooking the James River, Wilton is an impressive example of Colonial American architecture and is a superb essay in Georgian design.
See their web site for hours • end of South Wilton Road • phone
Thomas Lee (1690-1750) was a founder of the Ohio Company, a member of the governing Council of the colony, and acting Governor of Virginia. In 1717, he purchased the land for Stratford Hall Plantation and, during the period of 1730-1738, built the brick Georgian Great House. Robert E. Lee, the future General of the Confederate Army, was born at Stratford in 1807.
See their web site for hours • 485 Great House Road • (804) 493-8038
This most impressive structure on Main Street in Suffolk features striking architectural details. The five frieze band windows across the front of the house are rarely seen in eastern Virginia. The front of the mansion is bricked in Flemish bond, and double chimneys rise from both ends of the stately historic landmark. Slender columns of the Greek Revival period frame the main entrance. The interior showcases intricately carved moldings and elaborate ceiling medallions throughout the house.
Open Wed-Fri 10-5, Sat 10-4, Sun 1-5 • 510 North Main Street • (757) 934-1390
With its cruciform shape, triple chimneys and curvilinear gables, Bacon's Castle is a rare surviving example of Jacobean architecture in America. Built in 1665, the house was home to a prosperous planter, Arthur Allen.
See their web site for hours • Route 617 in Surry County, just north of the intersection of Route 617 and Route 10. • (757) 357-5976
Francis Thelaball II built his house with its massive chimneys in 1725. Typical of early colonial planters' homes, the Lynnhaven House features a hall-parlor plan with molded ceiling joists and a closed string Jacobean-type stair. Furnishings reflect the early eighteenth century.
See their web site for hours • 4405 Wishart Road • (757) 460-1688
During the 140 years that the Hallers and their descendants, the Gibboneys and Campbells lived in the home, they responded to the needs of their community by using their home as an infirmary and school during the Civil War years and as a boarding house when Wytheville became a popular summer resort. As a Registered Historical Landmark, the home now serves as a museum containing over 1400 original artifacts and period furnishings.
Open Mon-Fri 10-4, 3rd Sat of each month 10-4 • 205 E. Tazewell Street • (276) 223-3331
Victorian Preservation Association - P.O. Box 586 - San Jose, CA 95106-0586 - Email:firstname.lastname@example.org