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9/15/2021


UPDATE: Thoroughgood House tours will operate on an alternate schedule on the following dates:

Thursday, September 16: no evening tours
Saturday, September 18: last tour at 2:30pm
Saturday, September 25: tours start at noon
Saturday, October 2/Sunday, October 3: closed for tours

Scroll to the bottom of this page for the current Thoroughgood House tour schedule. Call 757-385-5100, or email vbhistory@vbgov.com, if you have any questions about upcoming tours and events.

8/17/2021

The Thoroughgood House will open late on Thursday, August 19 due to a school tour in the morning.

The museum will be open to the public from 12pm-4pm and 5:30pm-8:00pm this Thursday for FREE tours. No advanced registration is required and walk-ins are welcome. Visit https://www.museumsvb.org/ for the latest tour and event information.

#vbhistorymuseums

8/17/2021

Do you love history and want to give back to your community? If so, the Virginia Beach History Museums wants you to be a volunteer.

Volunteers are essential to the Virginia Beach History Museums. Volunteers at the museums fill a variety of roles, from leading museum tours to tending the gardens, teaching school groups, researching the collections, and participating in special events.

The Virginia Beach History Museums are specifically seeking volunteers with any of the following skills:

  • Multi-Lingual/Translators
  • Tour Guides
  • Social Media
  • Researchers
  • Educators

Volunteers must be at least 16 years old. The Virginia Beach History Museums include the Francis Land House, Lynnhaven House, Thoroughgood House and Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum, so there will be plenty of opportunities for volunteers to assist in a variety of capacities.

If you are interested in volunteering and/or have a skill you would like to share that isn't listed, please email the Virginia Beach History Museums at VolunteerVBHM@vbgov.com. For more information on the Virginia Beach History Museums, please visit museumsvb.org and follow Virginia Beach History Museums on social media.

ABOUT THE CITY OF VIRGINIA BEACH CULTURAL AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT:
The Cultural Affairs Department engages residents and visitors through meaningful arts, heritage, and cultural experiences to connect and strengthen communities. The Department assists and directs the Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission, coordinates the City's Public Art Program, oversees Virginia Beach History Museums, provides contract management for the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, serves as the liaison with Virginia MOCA and the ViBe Creative District, and serves as a resource to local arts and humanities organizations.

ABOUT THE CITY OF VIRGINIA BEACH HISTORY MUSEUMS:
The City of Virginia Beach History Museums include the Thoroughgood House, the Francis Land House, the Lynnhaven House, and Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum. They are part of the City's Cultural Affairs Department. As part of the municipal government of the City of Virginia Beach, the Cultural Affairs Department engages residents and visitors through meaningful arts, heritage and cultural experiences to connect and strengthen communities. Visit www.museumsvb.org for more information, and follow @VBHistoryMuseums on Facebook and Instagram, and @VBHistMuseums on Twitter, to stay up to date on all the events and news from Virginia Beach History Museums.

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7/28/2021

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (July 27, 2021) –The Virginia Beach History Museums are adding Sunday afternoon tours to the current Thoroughgood House public tour schedule starting on Sunday, August 1.

Sunday tours will run every 45 minutes from 1 p.m.- 5 p.m., with the last tour beginning at 4:15 p.m.

Thursday, Friday and Saturday tours from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. will also now run every 45 minutes, with the last tour beginning at 3:15 p.m. Thursday evening tours will remain as currently scheduled, running every 30 minutes from 5:30 p.m.- 8 p.m. All tours are FREE and open to the public. No advanced registration or admission is required.

In accordance with updated federal, state and local health and safety guidance, visitors who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will no longer have to wear a mask while visiting the Thoroughgood House. Visitors who have yet to be vaccinated, or are only partially vaccinated, will still be required to wear a mask or face covering during their tours.

For up to date information, please visit museumsvb.org. If you have any questions about tours, please call 757-385-5100 or email vbhistory@vbgov.com.

ABOUT THE CITY OF VIRGINIA BEACH CULTURAL AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT:

The Cultural Affairs Department engages residents and visitors through meaningful arts, heritage, and cultural experiences to connect and strengthen communities. The Department assists and directs the Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission, coordinates the City's Public Art Program, oversees Virginia Beach History Museums, provides contract management for the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, serves as the liaison with Virginia MOCA and the ViBe Creative District, and serves as a resource to local arts and humanities organizations.

ABOUT THE CITY OF VIRGINIA BEACH HISTORY MUSEUMS:

The City of Virginia Beach History Museums include the Thoroughgood House, the Francis Land House, the Lynnhaven House, and Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum. They are part of the City’s Cultural Affairs Department. As part of the municipal government of the City of Virginia Beach, the Cultural Affairs Department engages residents and visitors through meaningful arts, heritage, and cultural experiences to connect and strengthen communities. Visit www.museumsvb.org for more information, and follow @VBHistoryMuseums on Facebook and Instagram, and @VBHistMuseums on Twitter, to stay up to date on all the events and news from Virginia Beach History Museums.

7/1/2021

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (July 1, 2021) – The Virginia Beach Cultural Affairs Department and Virginia Beach History Museums want your help in planning the future of the Francis Land House, Lynnhaven House and Thoroughgood House!

History Associates Incorporated (HAI) is working with the Virginia Beach History Museums to create a new interpretive plan to help improve visitor experience at the three historic homes. As part of the plan creation and public input process, HAI and the Virginia Beach History Museums seek feedback from the Virginia Beach community via an online public input survey.

Virginia Beach residents can access and complete the survey at https://publicinput.com/H1003. The survey will be open through Sunday, August 1. Please contact the Virginia Beach History Museums at vbhistory@vbgov.com or call 757-385-5100 if you have any questions.

For more information on the Virginia Beach History Museums, please visit museumsvb.org and follow Virginia Beach History Museums on social media.

ABOUT THE CITY OF VIRGINIA BEACH CULTURAL AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT:

The Cultural Affairs Department engages residents and visitors through meaningful arts, heritage, and cultural experiences to connect and strengthen communities. The Department assists and directs the Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission, coordinates the City's Public Art Program, oversees Virginia Beach History Museums, provides contract management for the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, serves as the liaison with Virginia MOCA and the ViBe Creative District, and serves as a resource to local arts and humanities organizations.

ABOUT THE CITY OF VIRGINIA BEACH HISTORY MUSEUMS:

The City of Virginia Beach History Museums include the Thoroughgood House, the Francis Land House, the Lynnhaven House, and Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum. They are part of the City’s Cultural Affairs Department. As part of the municipal government of the City of Virginia Beach, the Cultural Affairs Department engages residents and visitors through meaningful arts, heritage, and cultural experiences to connect and strengthen communities. Visit www.museumsvb.org for more information, and follow @VBHistoryMuseums on Facebook and Instagram, and @VBHistMuseums on Twitter, to stay up to date on all the events and news from Virginia Beach History Museums.

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News Releases: VBgov.com/News

5/26/2021


VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (May 26, 2021) –In addition to Saturdays, the Thoroughgood House will be open for free tours on Thursdays and Fridays starting June 17.

Tours on both Thursdays and Fridays will run every hour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday tours will also run in the evenings every 30 minutes from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Admission remains free, but advanced reservations are no longer required. Tours will be open to the public on a first come, first served basis.

During the first Thursday evening tours on June 17, visitors will also have the opportunity to experience a specially focused program called “The Enslaved Perspective.” In advance of Juneteenth, the celebration of the end of slavery in the United States, this program focuses on the history of the enslaved individuals who lived and worked on the Thoroughgood House property in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Saturday tours will continue but will move to every hour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., instead of every 30 minutes, on July 3. If you have already reserved a Saturday tour slot online, your tour will proceed as scheduled.

In accordance with updated federal, state and local health and safety guidance, visitors who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will no longer have to wear a mask while visiting the Thoroughgood House. Visitors who have yet to be vaccinated, or are only partially vaccinated, will still be required to wear a mask or face covering during their tours.

For up to date information, please visit museumsvb.org. If you have any questions about tours, please call 757-385-5100 or email vbhistory@vbgov.com.

New Exhibition at Thoroughgood House

New Virginians: 1619-2019 and Beyond, an exhibition from the Library of Virginia in partnership with Virginia Humanities and supported by 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution, will be on display at the Thoroughgood House Education Center from June 14 to July 24. The exhibition explores the historical and continuous journey toward the ideals of America and intends to foster an honest and serious discussion about diversity and the challenges of blended cultures.

New Virginians highlights the changing demographics of the Commonwealth through a series of edited interviews with first-generation immigrants and refugees who arrived in Virginia post-1976. Common themes that run through the interviews are family, service, opportunity, and faith.

At this time, the Francis Land House and Lynnhaven House remain closed for restoration. The Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum is located in the Virginia Beach City Public Schools’ Renaissance Academy, which is currently only open to students and faculty. Visit museumsvb.org and follow Virginia Beach History Museums on social media for the latest updates.

ABOUT THE CITY OF VIRGINIA BEACH CULTURAL AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT:

The Cultural Affairs Department engages residents and visitors through meaningful arts, heritage, and cultural experiences to connect and strengthen communities. The Department assists and directs the Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission, coordinates the City's Public Art Program, oversees Virginia Beach History Museums, provides contract management for the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, serves as the liaison with Virginia MOCA and the ViBe Creative District, and serves as a resource to local arts and humanities organizations.

4/9/2021

Thoroughgood House to Re-Open for Public Tours May 1

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (Apr. 12, 2021) – The Virginia Beach Cultural Affairs Department and Virginia Beach History Museums are excited to announce that the historic Thoroughgood House will re-open for public tours on May 1!

Admission is free. Tours will run every 30 minutes from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays, initially, with more days and times to be announced starting this summer. To book your reservation, visit museumsvb.org/admission, scroll to the bottom of the page, select the date and time you wish to attend and follow the instructions to reserve your admission. You will receive an email confirmation containing a copy of your responses.

Tickets must be reserved online in advance of each tour, and, to comply with COVID-19 safety protocols, tours will be limited to 10 guests per 30-minute tour session. If you have any questions about reserving tickets online, please call 757-385-5100, or email vbhistory@vbgov.com.

“Our museum staff have missed all of our community members and stakeholders,” said Annmarie Reiley-Kay, Virginia Beach History Museums Director. “We are delighted to bring back guests to the historic Thoroughgood House on May 1, keeping the health and safety of our guests and staff as our highest priority. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to our community members, stakeholders, staff, and volunteers for their support during these especially challenging times.”

In addition to timed ticketing and small tours, the Virginia Beach History Museums have implemented the following COVID-19 safety measures:

  • Face coverings are required for all guests and staff.
  • COVID-19 safety signage is displayed on site.
  • Reception desk has a plexiglass barrier to protect both guests and staff upon check in.
  • Surfaces and high traffic areas will be regularly cleaned and disinfected. Guests are asked to kindly not touch any items in the Thoroughgood House or Thoroughgood House exhibit.

The Thoroughgood House, built circa 1719, is one of the oldest surviving colonial homes in Virginia Beach and is a National Historic Landmark.

At this time, the Francis Land House and Lynnhaven House remain closed for restoration. The Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum is located in the Virginia Beach City Public Schools’ Renaissance Academy and is closed to the public while the school is closed. Visit museumsvb.org and follow Virginia Beach History Museums on social media for the latest updates.

ABOUT THE CITY OF VIRGINIA BEACH CULTURAL AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT:

The Cultural Affairs Department engages residents and visitors through meaningful arts, heritage, and cultural experiences to connect and strengthen communities. The Department assists and directs the Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission, coordinates the City's Public Art Program, oversees Virginia Beach History Museums, provides contract management for the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, serves as the liaison with Virginia MOCA and the ViBe Creative District, and serves as a resource to local arts and humanities organizations.

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News Releases: VBgov.com/News

2/11/2021

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (Feb. 11, 2021) – In celebration of Black History Month, the Virginia Beach History Museums, Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Alumni and Friends Association (PACTS/UKHS) and Norfolk State University (NSU) are hosting “Lift Me On Up: The Power and Influence of the Black Family,” a FREE virtual panel discussion on February 24 from noon-1:30pm.

Incorporating the 2021 Black History Month theme, “The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity,” this 90-minute panel discussion will focus on the history, politics, and social factors affecting African Americans from a family perspective, and opportunities for positive change. Panelists include:

  • Dr. Colita Fairfax, Professor of Social Work and Honors College Senior Faculty Fellow, Norfolk State University
  • Dr. Robert Perkins, Professor of Sociology, Norfolk State University
  • Mrs. Margie Wilson Coefield, Community Leader and graduate of Union Kempsville High School
  • Mrs. Edna Hawkins-Hendrix, Community Leader and graduate of Union Kempsville High School
  • Ms. Barbara Morgan Robinson, Community Leader, graduate of Princess Anne County Training School and former teacher at Union Kempsville High School
  • Mrs. Joyce Davis Williams, Community Leader
  • Dr. Admon Alexander, Community Relations, Virginia Beach City Public Schools

“This crucial conversation will highlight key themes of identity, representation and diversity,” said Emily Labows, Director of the Virginia Beach Cultural Affairs Department. “Through this panel discussion, we look forward to bringing together a diverse array of community leaders, historians and advocates to share and explore these important stories.”

The panel, to be moderated by Dr. Cassandra Newby-Alexander, Dean of the NSU College of Liberal Arts, will cover a broad base of discussion points pertaining to the history and culture of the African American community. Panelists will give historical context, tracing the history of the African American family through the pre- and post-Reconstruction era, segregation, the Civil Rights movement and up until modern times.

“Lift Me on Up: The Power and Influence of the Black Family” seeks to begin an important dialogue about the City of Virginia Beach’s African American communities,” said Dr. Newby-Alexander. “These communities were a bulwark against the most egregious municipal policies that marginalized communities, deprived them of public funds and resources, and limited their political voices. Yet, the power and resilience of the Black family was at the heart of how these communities thrived as centers of businesses and educational excellence.”

Lift Me On Up: The Power and Influence of the Black Family” will stream via Zoom on Wednesday, February 24 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. The panel will be an open discussion format and will allow for public questions or contributions with assistance from the moderator. Visit NSU’s website for more details and to register for the event.

If you have any questions about the panel discussion, please email Hillary Plate, Cultural Programming and Grants Coordinator for the Virginia Beach Cultural Affairs Department, at hplate@vbgov.com.

ABOUT THE CITY OF VIRGINIA BEACH CULTURAL AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT:

The Cultural Affairs Department engages residents and visitors through meaningful arts, heritage, and cultural experiences to connect and strengthen communities. The Department assists and directs the Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission, coordinates the City's Public Art Program, oversees Virginia Beach History Museums, provides contract management for the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, serves as the liaison with Virginia MOCA and the ViBe Creative District, and serves as a resource to local arts and humanities organizations.

ABOUT NORFOLK STATE UNIVERSITY:

Norfolk State University (NSU) is a comprehensive urban public university committed to offering rigorous academic programs, and a supportive culturally diverse learning environment. As one of the most affordable four-year public institutions of higher education in Virginia, NSU provides opportunity and access to a globally competitive education, preparing students to compete in the 21st century workforce. Our nationally, and internationally, recognized faculty utilize a student-centered teaching philosophy that correlates to student success in unique areas of study such as Cybersecurity, CyberPsychology, Entrepreneurship and a nationally acclaimed Theatre/Drama program.

2/2/2021

Dear Museums Friends,

I’m excited to be joining the team as the new History Museums Director! My husband and I just relocated from outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, where I worked as the Executive Director at Historic Latta Plantation. I’ve always had a passion for early American history and historic houses, so joining the Cultural Affairs Department compliments both my passion for preserving history and helping to tell local community stories. I am amazed at the incredible work the Virginia Beach History Museums team has been undertaking to help preserve Virginia Beach’s history, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to get to know you — our donors, volunteers, partners and neighbors.

I appreciate your continued support of the Virginia Beach History Museums and look forward to sharing our stories and news with you.

Here are the latest updates on both of our exciting restoration projects:

Francis Land House Restoration Updates:

• The Contractor and City Personnel worked with the Council of Garden Clubs to develop a plan for the relocation of the boxwoods surrounding the Francis Land House. This work has been completed and the boxwoods are now located near the back of the property near Kings Grant Road.

• The Commonwealth Preservation Group (CPG) performed moisture monitoring in the basement and has provided a report of their findings. Recommendations have been made that require the approval of the State Historic Preservation Office. A letter seeking this approval has been sent to this Office and a response is expected the week of February 1, 2021. Work on other areas within and outside the house can continue.

• The brick flooring has been removed in the basement. Upon removal, the Contractor found an abandoned concrete duct that was used by a heating system. We are currently determining what needs to occur with this duct system.

Lynnhaven House Restoration Updates

• Architectural work has been completed as of January 22. After completion, a walk-through was conducted to determine if any items need to be performed prior to a close-out of the project. Any close-out tasks should be completed by February 28.

• New heating equipment has been installed and is conditioning the house. Digital controls for the heating equipment are being fine-tuned. New ductwork and supply/return air grilles, HVAC wiring, floor joists and electrical and lighting fixtures have been installed.

• City personnel completed a walk-through of the house to identify any outstanding tasks that need to be completed. Most items involve clean up, HVAC controls, air balance of the HVAC system, and some minor ductwork changes. The Contractor is to have these items corrected by February 28, 2021.

Other Museums Updates

• Since our last update, staff has published new episodes of the “Beyond the Passage” podcast, including a highlight of historical holiday traditions and a dive into the world of museum collection maintenance.

• We worked with the City of Virginia Beach Communications Office to complete full virtual tour of the Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum so the community can learn about the museum while the Renaissance Academy is closed to the public. We revealed the video on February 1, in honor of the start of Black History Month.

• Alex Dye, Media and Communications Coordinator for Cultural Affairs, did an introductory interview with Annmarie Reiley-Kay, our new Museum Director. Get to know more about her background here.

• Our staff continues to re-shape educational programming and is in the process of creating new seasonal programming. Stay tuned for more exciting news! For more updates from the Virginia Beach History Museums, please sign up for our monthly e-newsletter at the Virginia Beach History Museums website.

Once again, thank you for your continued support and interest in preserving and enhancing the Virginia Beach History Museums. Please do not hesitate to email me at areiley@vbgov.com if you have any questions, and we will keep you posted on the next steps in the restoration processes.

My Best Wishes,

Annmarie Reiley-Kay

Director, Virginia Beach History Museums

Click for a PDF version of this update

1/29/2021

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (Feb. 1, 2021) – While the Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum remains closed due to COVID-19 precautions, you can now enjoy a complete virtual video tour of the Museum from the comfort of your own home.

The Museum, located within the Virginia Beach City Public Schools’ Renaissance Academy, is a tribute to the first high school for African Americans in Virginia Beach. The virtual tour not only covers the history of this school, but also the history of African American education and achievements, both locally and nationally, across several centuries.

“The Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum is a beacon in the community,” said Margie Wilson Coefield, a 1962 graduate of Union Kempsville High School and retired Virginia Beach City Public Schools English teacher. “This virtual tour of the Museum will be an educational and historical journey for viewers because they will learn about the resilience of our African American ancestors and about us, the alumni of the school. You will be inspired by their legacy.”

Princess Anne County Training School, which began operations in 1938, was the first high school for African Americans in Princess Anne County, which is now the City of Virginia Beach. The school was a result of the African American community in the 1930s working together to raise money to build a school so their children could receive a proper education.

In 1962, the Princess Anne County Training School changed its name to Union Kempsville High School. After over 30 years of operation, Union Kempsville High School graduated its last class in 1969 due to the City-wide integration of schools.

Today the legacy of the school continues with the establishment of the Museum, which shares stories of family, community, sacrifice, and the importance of education. The Museum is operated by the Virginia Beach History Museums, which include the Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum, Francis Land House, Lynnhaven House and Thoroughgood House. For the latest updates on the Virginia Beach History Museums, visit museumsvb.org or Virginia Beach History Museums on Facebook.

To learn more about the ongoing work of the Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Alumni and Friends Association, which works to preserve the legacy of the school and the stories of those who made it possible, please visit their website.

ABOUT THE CITY OF VIRGINIA BEACH CULTURAL AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT:

The Cultural Affairs Department engages residents and visitors through meaningful arts, heritage, and cultural experiences to connect and strengthen communities. The Department assists and directs the Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission, coordinates the City's Public Art Program, oversees Virginia Beach History Museums, provides contract management for the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, serves as the liaison with Virginia MOCA and the ViBe Creative District, and serves as a resource to local arts and humanities organizations.

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News Releases: VBgov.com/News

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