Time-Travel through Virginia History Seven Richmond Sites Partner for Free Weekend to Support “Year of the Virginia Historic Home”
To celebrate the Executive Mansion’s 200th anniversary, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and First Lady Maureen McDonnell declared 2013 the Commonwealth’s “Year of the Virginia Historic Home.” In honor of this monumental occasion, Richmond’s most renowned historic homes and museums will come together in a collaborative effort to open their doors admission-free to the public.
Exclusively during the weekend of September 14 and 15, 2013, Virginians, Richmonders, and tourists alike can join the city’s prominent historical properties in supporting the Governor and First Lady’s efforts.
Seven participating sites—Agecroft Hall, the John Marshall House, the Edgar Allan Poe Museum, Maymont, Wickham House, Wilton House Museum and the Virginia’s Executive Mansion—will offer complimentary admission to visitors who have a printed Time Traveler Passport* from the Year of the Virginia Historic Home website. This special offer equates to savings of more than $55 per person.
“My husband and I were excited to announce 2013 as the Year of the Virginia Historical Home to coincide with the bicentennial of the Executive Mansion,” said First Lady Maureen McDonnell. “Promoting this initiative through the collaboration of historical homes during the weekend of September 14 is a perfect way to celebrate Richmond’s rich history. We encourage you to print your passport and visit some of the city’s greatest treasures that once housed such prominent Americans as John Marshall, Jefferson Davis, and John Wickham.”
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 at 4305 Sulgrave Road, 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. Agecroft Hall is open 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. on Saturdays and 12:30-5:00 p.m. on Sundays. Reservations for tours are recommended. Please call (804)353-4241. For general information, visit www.agecrofthall.com.
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 garden, and visit the Museum Shop on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday 12:00 to 5:00 p.m. The John Marshall House is located at 818 East Marshall Street. For more information call (804) 648-7998 or visit www.preservationvirginia.org.
Opened in 1922, Virginia’s only literary museum, the Poe Museum in Richmond, 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. The Poe Museum will be open Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and is located at 1914 East Main Street. For more information, call (804) 648-5523 or visit www.poemuseum.org.
Maymont, a 100-acre American estate, was the home of New South business leader James Dooley and his wife Sallie from 1893 through the 1920s. The Maymont Mansion with 21 restored rooms offers 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. Located in the heart of Richmond, Virginia, at 1700 Hampton Street, the Maymont Mansion will be open Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 to 5:00 p.m. For more information, call 804-358-7166, ext. 310 or visit www.maymont.org.
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 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. The house is located at 1015 East Clay Street and operated by the Valentine Richmond History Center. It is open Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from 12:00 to 5:00 p.m. For more information, call (804) 649-0711 or visit www.richmondhistorycenter.com.
Overlooking a placid stretch of the James River, Wilton House has been welcoming guests since constructed in the 1750s as the centerpiece of a sprawling tobacco plantation by the prominent Randolph Family of Virginia. Here, friends, relations, and weary travelers such as Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and the Marquise de Lafayette were welcomed. An impressive example of 18th-century Georgian Style architecture Wilton House boasts its original and richly detailed paneling and an exquisite collection of fine and decorative arts from the Colonial and early Federal eras. When development threatened Wilton House in the 1930s, The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the Commonwealth of Virginia purchased and restored the property. Wilton House Museum will be open Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and is located at 215 South Wilton Road. For more information, call (804) 282-5936 or visit www.wiltonhousemuseum.org.
Virginia’s Executive Mansion was conceived during the Revolutionary War and built in the midst of the War of 1812. In 1813, Governor James Barbour became the first governor to live in the Executive Mansion, which has now has been the home to over 50 governors and their families. Governor Barbour’s office was located on the first floor, and visitors were allowed to walk in and have a seat in the hall while they waited to meet with him. It was common for General Assembly members and Virginia citizens alike to drop in and make themselves at home, whether they had official business with the governor or just wanted to help themselves to punch that was always available in the dining room. A house that has been through one war, two fires, two threats of mob action, one instance of looting, four additions, and countless renovations while serving 54 families has certainly earned its place on the National Historic Register. The Mansion will be open on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and on Sunday from 11:00 to 2:00 p.m. and is located in downtown Richmond at the intersection of 9th and Grace Streets in Capitol Square. For more information call (804) 371-2642 x 2460 or visit www.executivemansion.virginia.gov.