The City of Virginia Beach History Museums include the Thoroughgood House, the Francis Land House, the Lynnhaven House, and the Union Kempsville Museum. They are part of the City’s Department of Aquarium and History Museums, which also operates the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center.
As part of the municipal government of the City of Virginia Beach, the Department of Aquarium and History Museums provides educational services to citizens and visitors; works to conserve the natural environment and preserve our historic treasures; and engages the community in these processes.
Anne E. Miller
History Museums Coordinator
VOLUNTEER WITH HISTORY MUSEUMS
Volunteers are essential to the City of Virginia Beach History Museums. They fill a variety of roles, from leading museum tours to tending the gardens, teaching school groups, researching the collection and participating in special events.
If you have a skill to offer, or simply are interested in the many volunteer opportunities available, please call Kim Schmidtmann at (757) 385-5100. Your help is always welcome!
Historic Houses Foundation
The Historic Houses Foundation is a non-profit corporation that supports the History Museums in the City of Virginia Beach. The mission of the Foundation is to enhance the city owned historic houses and sites by providing funding for historic artifacts and education programs and promoting public awareness of Virginia Beach history. The Foundation Board of trustees are community leaders who volunteer their time and efforts to advance the mission of the history museums in the City of Virginia Beach. With their leadership and your tax-deductible gift, the Virginia Beach Historic Houses Foundation can continue to promote and preserve our community for generations to come. Make your gift today by check to:
Virginia Beach Historic Houses Foundation
717 General Booth Blvd. Suite 2
Virginia Beach, VA 23451
View the Foundation’s Strategic Plan
The Virginia Beach History Museums are proud to welcome people of all abilities to enjoy our exhibits and programs. The History Museums comply with federal regulations, which include a requirement that the Museums provide equal access to exhibits, programs, and services to individuals with disabilities.
The History Museums allow service animals, as defined in Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which are trained to assist guests with disabilities. Service animals must remain under the control of the owner or handler at all times while in the Museums and on Museums grounds. If a service animal is out of control or poses a direct threat to the health or safety of staff, guests, or facilities, we may require the service animal be removed from the premises. In that circumstance, Museums staff will work with all guests with disabilities to provide alternative accommodations. Please note: Museums staff shall not be responsible for the care or maintenance of service animals while on Museums property. Therapy or comfort animals are not permitted in Museums.
The Thoroughgood House Education Center is accessible for guests with mobility impairments. Main pathways between the parking lot and the Thoroughgood House Education Center and between the Education Center and Thoroughgood House, outdoor restrooms, and garden are accessible.
However, to access the historic Thoroughgood House, patrons must ascend stairs without railings. The front door is accessed by climbing four wooden steps. The second floor of the house is accessed by climbing 12 steps to a landing, then climbing six additional steps. There is a railing on the left side of the stairs. Once inside, to assist guests with disabilities, folding chairs may be provided on request.
If a guest is unable to visit the historic house in person, we offer a virtual tour of the Thoroughgood House on a tablet as an equivalent alternative experience. This may be viewed in the classroom of the Education Center.
A brief introductory film is screened in the Thoroughgood House Education Center for all guests . A verbatim script is available upon request free of charge.
The Lynnhaven Colonial Education Center and surrounding boardwalk are accessible for guests with mobility impairments. Please note, however, the boardwalk leads to a crushed shell pathway to the historic house. Additionally, to access the historic Lynnhaven House patrons must ascend stairs with or without railings.
The historic Lynnhaven House is accessed from the west by climbing four wooden steps without a railing or from the east by climbing five wooden steps with railings on both sides. The second floor is accessed by climbing seven steps to a small landing, then climbing nine additional steps. There is a railing on the left side.
Francis Land House
In the modern addition to the Francis Land House, the lobby, orientation room, and a restroom are accessible to guests with mobility impairments. However, to view the basement, patrons must descend six steps with a railing on the right side. Please also note: the lobby and basement floors are brick pavers that may be uneven.
To access the historic Francis Land House from the lobby, patrons must ascend nine steps with railings on both sides. To access the historic house through the front entrance, patrons must climb seven steps with railings on both sides. Once inside, folding chairs may be provided on request.
If a guest is unable to visit the historic portion of the house in person, we offer a virtual tour of the Francis Land House on a tablet as an equivalent alternative experience upon request. This may be viewed in the orientation room or lobby.
The grounds and gardens of the Francis Land House can be observed by following a combination of paved walkways and shell paths. The History Trail across the street from the historic house is a boardwalk 0.125 miles long.
Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum
The Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum is located inside Renaissance Academy, a public middle and high school that is fully accessible. A free, printed copy of the complete exhibition text is available upon request. A wheelchair is available for use in the Museum upon request.