Some of the Richmond Region's most renowned historic sites are offering visitors a “passport” to time-travel during a special admission-free weekend this Saturday and Sunday, September 24th and 25th. Come discover fourteen of our local treasures, spanning 400 years of fascinating history and including the homes of several important Virginians.
Each site will offer complimentary admission to visitors who show a Time Travelers Passport, available via download, or from any website of participating attractions. This special offer equates to savings of more than $65 per person! As if that wasn’t already awesome enough, there’s more! The participating organizations are offering a grand prize drawing for a collection of items from each of the participating sites’ gift shops! Anyone who visits one or more sites will be entered to win. The more sites you visit, the greater your chances of winning. That prize pack sounds pretty fantastic, so you should probably just go ahead and plan to squeeze in as many site visits as possible! Besides, they’re all free, and that’s a huge treat to begin with!
The participating historical sites include:
Agecroft Hall - 4305 Sulgrave Road
Agecroft Hall, home to Richmond’s Tudor house, was first built in England in the 1500s, then transported across the ocean and rebuilt in Richmond in the 1920s. Today it is a museum furnished with art and artifacts from 17th century England. Located just west of Carytown, visitors are encouraged to take a guided tour, stroll the manicured gardens overlooking the James River, explore the architectural exhibit, and shop in the museum store. Open Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 12:30 to 5 p.m.
Chimborazo Medical Museum (Richmond National Battlefield Park) - 3215 East Broad Street
Chimborazo became one of the Civil War's largest military hospitals. When completed it contained more than 100 wards, a bakery and even a brewery. Although the hospital no longer exists, a museum on the same grounds contains original medical instruments and personal artifacts. Other displays include a scale model of the hospital and a short film on medical and surgical practices and the caregivers that comforted the sick and wounded. Open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Dabbs House Museum - 3812 Nine Mile Road
The Dabbs House, built in rural eastern Henrico in 1820, gained attention as Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s field headquarters during the summer of 1862. The museum provides a place to learn about the history of the house from its use as a residence for the Dabbs family to its tenure as Henrico’s police headquarters from 1941 to 2005. Visitors can tour the 1862 field headquarters, browse the exhibit galleries, and view a video on the history of the house. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Edgar Allan Poe Museum - 1914 East Main Street
Opened in 1922, Virginia’s only literary museum, the Poe Museum boasts the world's finest collection of Edgar Allan Poe's manuscripts, letters, first editions, memorabilia and personal belongings. The Poe Museum provides a retreat into early nineteenth century Richmond where the author of “The Raven” and “The Tell-Tale Heart” lived and worked. The museum explores Poe’s life and career by documenting his accomplishments with pictures, relics, and verse, and focusing on his many years in Richmond. One of the structures in the museum’s four-building complex is the ca.1754 Old Stone House, the oldest residential structure in the original city limits of Richmond. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
The John Marshall House - 818 East Marshall Street
The John Marshall House, built in 1790 in the fashionable Court End neighborhood of Richmond, was the home of the “Great Chief Justice” for forty-five years. Listed on the National and Virginia historic registers, The John Marshall House has undergone remarkably few changes since Marshall’s lifetime. The property remained in the Marshall family until 1911. It is currently owned and operated by Preservation Virginia. Visitors can enjoy a guided tour of the house, stroll the newly renovated garden, and visit the Museum Shop. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 12 to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site - 600 N. 2nd Street
Businesswoman. Leader. Civil rights activist. Maggie L. Walker was all of these things, and more. A tour of her home highlights her achievements and reminds us of the obstacles she overcame to emerge as an inspirational figure in the early twentieth century. Open on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Sunday.
Maymont - 1700 Hampton Street
Maymont, a 100-acre American estate, was the home of New South business leader James Dooley and his wife Sallie from 1893 through 1925 and an extraordinary gift to the city of Richmond. Marvel at the 21 restored rooms that offer an unusually complete depiction of upstairs-downstairs life in the Gilded Age. The opulent upstairs interiors are adorned with Tiffany stained glass, frescoed ceilings and other sumptuous detailing and filled with original furnishings and artwork. Downstairs service rooms tell the story of household tasks and technology and the challenges of working in domestic service during the Jim Crow era. The surrounding landscape features Italian and Japanese gardens, magnificent trees, and a carriage display, as well as Virginia wildlife exhibits, a Children's Farm and the Robins Nature & Visitor Center. Maymont Mansion will be open 12 to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Grounds are open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Built in 1822 by William Winfree, Magnolia Grange is a handsome Federal-style plantation house named for the circle of magnolia trees that once graced its front lawn. Noted for its distinctive architecture, the mansion contains elaborate ceiling medallions, as well as sophisticated carvings on mantels, doorways and window frames. The house has been carefully restored to its 1820s look and feel.
The Chesterfield Museum is a reproduction of the colonial courthouse of 1750. Its collections tell the history of Chesterfield County from prehistoric times through the 20th century. Exhibits include early Indian culture, artifacts from the first iron and coal mines in America, which were in Chesterfield County, early household and farming tools and a country store of the late 19th century. The Old Jail, built in 1892, houses historical exhibits from the county’s police department that are displayed downstairs. Upstairs, visitors may view cells as they were when they housed their last prisoners in 1962. Magnolia Grange, the County Museum and Historic Jail will be open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and 12 to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Magnolia Grange is located at 10020 Iron Bridge Road; the County Museum and Jail are located nearby at 6813 Mimms Loop in Chesterfield.
Meadow Farm Museum at Crump Park - 3400 Mountain Road
Meadow Farm, one of the last remaining 19th century farms in Henrico County, is an 1860 living historical farm focusing on rural Virginia 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, his family and those who were enslaved at the farm. Daily and seasonal activities are portrayed in the farmhouse, barn, doctor’s office, blacksmith’s forge, kitchen, fields and pastures. The Museum also offers a schedule of special events, living history programs, and volunteer opportunities throughout the year. Open 12 to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Grounds are open from dawn to dusk.
The Valentine First Freedom Center - Corner of South 14th & Cary Streets
The Valentine First Freedom Center houses 2,200 square feet of exhibits that delve into America’s experience of religious liberty from its European antecedents through today. It is located on the site where Thomas Jefferson’s Statute for Religious Freedom was enacted into law by the Virginia General Assembly in 1786. Outside, a 27-foot spire, a limestone wall etched with the enacting paragraph of the Statute, and a 34-foot banner of a seminal Jefferson quote imprint the importance of the “first freedom” on all who come upon that busy corner. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Parking is available on the street or in public pay lots.
White House of the Confederacy - 1201 East Clay Street
This house was home to Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, and his family from August 1861 until the evacuation of Richmond on April 2, 1865. It served as the political and social epicenter of wartime Richmond. The White House currently holds a large number of furnishings and artifacts that were in the house with the Davis family. All of the remaining items are original to the period, except for the textiles which are reproductions based on original fabrics or period patterns. All tours are guided. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Please note: Time Travelers Passport Holders will only receive free admission to the White House of the Confederacy house tour. The American Civil War Museum’s entrance fee is $10 and will not be free for the promotional weekend.
The Valentine & The 1812 Wickham House - 1015 East Clay Street
The Wickham House, built in 1812, is a spectacular example of 19th-century Federal architecture and displays some of the country’s finest examples of interior decorative painting. Listed as a National Historic Landmark, the Wickham House, built by John and Elizabeth Wickham, 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. It is managed and operated by the Valentine. All tours are guided. The Valentine and the 1812 Wickham House will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 12 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The Valentine’s current exhibitions, Valentine Garden, Edward V. Valentine Sculpture Studio and the Valentine Store will be open as well.
Wilton House Museum - 215 S. Wilton Road
Experience the centuries-long history of Wilton House through the contemporary ceramic artwork of Michelle Erickson in the current featured exhibition, You & i are. . .Earth. Displayed throughout the historic interiors of Wilton, Erickson’s works both complicate and complement the varied history of the site while commenting on the concerns of today. Long recognized for the quality of its mid-eighteenth century paneling, collection of Southern-made furniture, and inspired story of historic preservation, Wilton House Museum’s current contemporary art exhibition is the perfect opportunity to return or enjoy a first time visit to this historic landmark. Open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
With so many historic sites to choose from, you might have a tough time narrowing down which ones you can fit into the weekend! Don't forget to download your Time Travelers Passport before you head out on your adventures! Have fun visiting new, interesting places and learning about Richmond's history!