Latest News

All Releases

1/4/2019

(VIRGINIA BEACH, VA) In an update to the press release from Thursday, the Virginia Beach History Museums and the Virginia Beach Historic Houses Foundation have postponed the previously announced public input session for January 17, 2019.

The virtual town hall hosted on PublicInput.com, the City of Virginia Beach’s engagement hub, will remain open for citizens to voice their input. Interested citizens may access it at this link: https://publicinput.com/francisland The online session is open through January 16, and results will be shared at the in-person session. For more information about the Virginia Beach History Museums, please visit our website: www.museumsvb.org

1/2/2019

(VIRGINIA BEACH, VA) The Virginia Beach History Museums and the Virginia Beach Historic Houses Foundation will host a public input session on January 17, 2019. The input session will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Virginia Beach Convention Center, and will focus on a planned changing exhibit at the Francis Land House.

The public input session will include a discussion of survey results from the December 8 open house event. Attendees will also be invited to participate in facilitated discussions to help shape the exhibit and collection. For those who cannot attend the public input session on January 17, there is a virtual town hall hosted on PublicInput.com, the City of Virginia Beach’s engagement hub. Interested visitors may access it at this link: https://publicinput.com/francisland The online session is open from January 2 through January 16, and results will be shared at the in-person session on January 17.

For more information about the Virginia Beach History Museums, please visit our website: www.museumsvb.org

About the Virginia Beach History Museums: The Virginia Beach History Museums include the Francis Land House, Thoroughgood House, Lynnhaven House, and Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum. They are owned and operated by the City of Virginia Beach Department of Museums, which provides stewardship of the City’s historic resources and programs to educate the community about local history.

# # #

9/4/2018

See what's happening at the History Museums for this season!

FREE. FUN. SATURDAY

Sept. 1, Oct. 6, Nov. 3, Dec. 1; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Francis Land House

The Francis Land House will be open for tours and old games and toys for Free. Fun. Saturday., celebrating a different theme each month. In September, celebrate Classical Music Month by making your own instrument. In October, learn about the workings of a plantation harvest and assist in making cider. Free. Fun. Saturday will feature "out-of doors" games from the 19th century in November, and enjoy a tour of the historic Francis Land House in December. Admission is free, donations are welcomed!

SECOND SATURDAY STORYTIME

Sept. 8, Oct. 13, Nov. 10, Dec. 8; 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Francis Land House, Thoroughgood House

Join us for our Second Saturday Storytime. Storytime takes place on the second Saturday of each month from 11:30 AM-12:15 PM. Storytime will take place in the Francis Land House for the month of September and October, and will continue in the Thoroughgood House in November and December. It includes a short story and engaging activity for young learners, ages 3-5. It’s free to participate in Storytime Saturday! Suggested donation – $1. Does not include general admission to historic house.

MUSEUM DAY

Sept. 22; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Francis Land House; Thoroughgood House

The Virginia Beach History Museums are excited to celebrate Museum Day- an annual celebration of boundless curiosity hosted by Smithsonian magazine. Participating museums and cultural institutions across the country provide free entry to anyone presenting a Museum Day ticket. Get your Museum Day ticket, which provides free admission for two people on Saturday, September 22, 2018.

*NOTE: Participating historic houses are the Francis Land House and Thoroughgood House. Search Francis Land House or Thoroughgood House when downloading tickets on site. One ticket admits two people to either the Francis Land House or Thoroughgood House.

REMEMBER THE GH'OUL TIMES

Oct. 13; 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Francis Land House

Remember the Gh’oul Times as we learn about witches and women of the past at the Francis Land House! Join us for a campfire, s’mores, and crafts, and see who roams the Francis Land House—after dark! $8 per participant; 4 and under, free. Program is from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. with a possible second program from 8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

A WOMAN ACCUSED: THE GRACE SHERWOOD STORY

Oct. 19; 6:30 p.m. Lynnhaven House

Get an inside look on one of the most infamous trials in colonial courthouse history from the perspective of a Justice on the Princess Anne County Court, the Queen’s Attorney, and Grace Sherwood herself. Learn from the men who prepared it, the woman who experienced it, and then vote on Grace’s guilt or innocence. Performances at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 per person. Not recommended for young children. Tickets will be available beginning on September 14. Please arrive 30 minutes prior to the show to allow time to check in and partake in our trail walk. Seating is limited. This is an outdoor event.

GIRL SCOUT SPOOKTACULAR: GHOULS' NIGHT OUT

Oct. 20; 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thoroughgood House

Join us at the Thoroughgood House for our Girl Scout Spooktacular: Ghouls’ Night Out. Paint a beastie, eat a s’more, sing a campfire song, learn about women from the past, and explore a real witch bottle from long ago. Program runs from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. $8 per participant.

HAMILTON-BURR DUEL

Nov. 3; 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Francis Land House Relive one of history's most infamous duels at the Francis Land House! There will be one performance at 1:30 p.m. and another at 4:30 p.m. The performance includes Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr reliving the events leading up to their showdown, as well as the duel itself. May not be suitable for all audiences. This performance is outdoors under a tent. Seats are provided. Please dress for the weather. Tickets are $12.

1775 MEET UP

Nov. 10; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thoroughgood House Step back in time to Princess Anne County, 1775, at the Thoroughgood House. Meet your neighbors–the citizen-soldiers facing the British army, the craftsmen who provide the goods you need, or the enslaved families contemplating the chance of freedom. Enjoy a variety of hands-on activities and demonstrations, short performances, and mini skirmishes by Revolutionary War re-enactors. Event is free! Guests can call (757) 385-5100 or visit the History Museums website for more information about these events. The Francis Land House is located at 3131 Virginia Beach Blvd., the Lynnhaven House is located at 4409 Wishart Rd., and the Thoroughgood House is located at 1636 Parish Rd., all in Virginia Beach.

6/19/2018

(VIRGINIA BEACH, VA) Witness one of the most infamous duels in history or enjoy a historic flavor of ice cream, all at the Virginia Beach History Museums’ summer events!

A Midsummer’s Day Fairy Party June 23, Seatings from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lynnhaven House Join us for a Midsummer’s Day! Enjoy a tea party with light snacks, create a take home craft, participate in an interactive story time, and take a picture with a real fairy! This event is for children age 4 to 8. Tickets are $10 per participant and available by session time on our website.

Thoroughgood House Under the Stars June 30, 6:30 p.m. to 8 a.m. Thoroughgood House Join us for a fun evening as the sun sets on the Thoroughgood House. This is a chance to visit the Thoroughgood House after-hours, learn about witches’ bottles and superstitions from the colonial period, play outdoor garden games from long ago, and enjoy s’mores around the campfire. Then, if you like, pitch a tent, sleep under the stars, and wake up to a sunrise snack before departing. Guests are responsible for providing their own camping equipment. This event is $8 for the 6 to 9 p.m. program and $20 per tent plot to camp overnight. Tickets are available on our website or can be purchased at the door.

Spies, Sabotage, Seduction, and Secret Pockets: Lady Spies of World War II July 5, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Lynnhaven House Best-selling and award-winning author Ellen Butler highlights famous lady spies of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and those local to Washington, D.C. Women of the OSS were critical to Allied success during World War II, and audiences have been thrilled by their exploits in novels and on the screen, yet their very real accomplishments have been ignored for generations. Butler discusses their contributions, skills, training, weapons, and overall importance to the Allied cause. Following the presentation, Butler will be signing her best-selling historical fiction novel, The Brass Compass, which places one female spy in the spotlight. Books will be available for purchase on-site. This program is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

Free. Fun. Saturday. July 7, August 4, September 1; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Francis Land House The Francis Land House will be open with guided tours, old-school games and toys, and Ye Olde Selfie Station. Each month will feature a special activity. Free admission, donations welcome.

Dawn at Weehawken: Hamilton-Burr Duel July 7, 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Francis Land House Relive one of the most infamous duels in history as Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr square off. The contest will begin at 1:30 p.m. or 7 p.m. Between duels, Hamilton and Burr will host meet and greets. Tickets are available online.

Second Saturday Storytime July 14, August 11, September 15; 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Francis Land House Storytime takes place on the second Saturday of each month from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. It includes a short story and engaging activity for our learners age 3-5. Free to participate, suggested donation of $1.

Ice Cream Festival July 14, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Francis Land House Celebrate National Ice Cream Month with ice cream-themed games, ice cream relays, and an old-fashioned hand-cranked ice cream machine. Admission to the event is free, and ice cream vendors will be on-site with sweet treats available for purchase. New this year, guests are invited to try the Founding Flavors, a program that highlights the origin of ice cream and includes tastings of historic flavors, all for $6.

Guests can call (757) 385-5100 or visit the History Museums website for more information about these events. The Francis Land House is located at 3131 Virginia Beach Blvd., the Lynnhaven House is located at 4409 Wishart Rd., and the Thoroughgood House is located at 1636 Parish Rd., all in Virginia Beach.

About the Virginia Beach History Museums:

The Virginia Beach History Museums include the Francis Land House, Thoroughgood House, Lynnhaven House, and Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum. They are owned and operated by the City of Virginia Beach Department of Museums, which provides stewardship of the City’s historic resources and programs to educate the community about local history.# # #

5/22/2018

(VIRGINIA BEACH, VA) Explore the history and culture of African American music at the African American Music Month Festival on June 9. Performances are scheduled from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on the lawn at the Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum, located at the Renaissance Academy at 5100 Cleveland Street in Virginia Beach.

This event, sponsored in part by the Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Alumni Association, LLC, features performances by the Richmond Indigenous Gourd Orchestra, the Gospel Music Workshop of America- Tidewater Chapter, and the Mosaic Steel Drum Orchestra. The Richmond Indigenous Gourd Orchestra plays instruments similar to those utilized by early enslaved Africans. The Gospel Music Workshop of America- Tidewater Chapter will sing selections bridging the period of slavery and the civil rights movement. The Mosaic Steel Drum Orchestra highlights Afro-Caribbean music traditions in the 1930s. Additionally, visitors will be treated to history of African American music segments throughout the day. The event is free to attend and a food truck will be on-site. Visitors are invited to bring lawn chairs or towels to sit on during the performances. The festival will be moved indoors in the event of rain. The Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum will be open for tours. More information, including the full schedule, can be found on the Virginia Beach History Museums website at www.museumsvb.org.

About the Virginia Beach History Museums:

The Virginia Beach History Museums include the Francis Land House, Thoroughgood House, Lynnhaven House, and Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum. They are owned and operated by the City of Virginia Beach Department of Museums, which provides stewardship of the City’s historic resources and programs to educate the community about local history.# # #

4/25/2018

(VIRGINIA BEACH, VA) We are excited to announce that the Thoroughgood House Education Center will host a grand opening event on May 18, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. at the 1636 Parish Road site.

The grand opening ceremony will begin promptly at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, May 18 and include the unveiling of a new highway historical marker for the Thoroughgood House. The program will conclude with a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Education Center and light refreshments to follow. Special experiences at the event will include tours of the Thoroughgood House and the new Education Center Museum, demonstrations by Revolutionary War reenactors from the 7th Virginia Regiment and the Youth Regiment, hands-on educational opportunities, and more, and will take place until 4:00 p.m. on Friday and from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Shuttle service will run all day on Friday and Saturday from Bayside Presbyterian Church, located at 1400 Ewell Road, beginning at 9:30 a.m. on Friday. Parking on-site is extremely limited, and visitors are encouraged to use the shuttle service. This newly constructed 2,700 square foot visitor center includes an exhibit area showcasing artifacts and exhibits discussing local history from the late 1500s through the American Revolution. The center also includes educational space for hosting groups, as well as a welcoming lobby. The project began with a request for proposals in late August 2015, and Everest Construction Management Group was awarded the contract in January 2016. From there, the historic house closed to the public in February 2016 and staff moved the collection to a secure off-site location for storage. Construction began in March 2016 and the Education Center is almost ready to officially welcome guests.

About the Virginia Beach History Museums:

The Virginia Beach History Museums include the Francis Land House, Thoroughgood House, Lynnhaven House, and Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum. They are owned and operated by the City of Virginia Beach Department of Museums, which provides stewardship of the City’s historic resources and programs to educate the community about local history.# # #

1/25/2018

(VIRGINIA BEACH, VA) On February 8, 2016, the Thoroughgood House and grounds were closed to the public for the construction of a new visitor education center. We are excited to announce that the Thoroughgood House Education Center will host a grand opening event on May 18, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. at the 1636 Parish Road site.

This newly constructed 2,700 square foot visitor center includes an exhibit area showcasing artifacts and exhibits discussing local history from the late 1500s through present day. The center also includes educational space for hosting groups, as well as a welcoming lobby.

The project began with a request for proposals in late August 2015, and Everest Construction Management Group was awarded the contract in January 2016. From there, the historic house closed to the public in February 2016 and staff moved the collection to a secure off-site location for storage. Construction began in March 2016 and the Education Center is almost ready to officially welcome guests.

“While we are still finalizing certain aspects of the Education Center,” said Anne Miller, Virginia Beach History Museums Manager, “it will provide us with even more opportunities to expand programming and events. We are excited to welcome visitors and school groups to our new space in May.”

About the Virginia Beach History Museums:

The Virginia Beach History Museums include the Francis Land House, Thoroughgood House, Lynnhaven House, and Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum. They are owned and operated by the City of Virginia Beach Department of Museums, which provides stewardship of the City’s historic resources and programs to educate the community about local history.# # #

11/1/2017

Francis Land House hosts new special exhibit beginning November 16

(VIRGINIA BEACH, VA) Virginians imbibed their last legal drink on Halloween night in 1916- more than three years before national prohibition was enacted. One hundred and one years later, the Francis Land House hosts a new special exhibit from the Library of Virginia that tells the story of Virginia prohibition and its legacy.

Teetotalers & Moonshiners: Prohibition in Virginia, Distilled opens on November 16, 2017, and runs through December 17, 2017 at the Francis Land House, and this exhibit is included in your Francis Land House admission.

Newspapers reported bacchanalian scenes in the Old Dominion cities as "wets" drank up and bought out the stock of saloons and bars. Most of the state's liquor, beer, and wine producers quietly shut down. Many farmers worried that a major part of their livelihood from corn and fruit had disappeared overnight, while supporters of prohibition exulted in the promise of a morally upright "Dry Virginia." For the next 18 years, the state became a laboratory for a grand social experiment that ultimately left many Virginians with a serious hangover- and eventually led to a repeal.

Teetotalers & Moonshiners: Prohibition in Virginia, Distilled addresses the important and long-lasting effects of Prohibition on Virginia and America, including:

  • The prohibition movement as part of a social reform movement
  • The economic and social costs of Prohibition, including the closing of businesses and conflict within communities, and the rise of illegal alcohol production and sale as an underground culture and economy
  • The role of government in overseeing public health
  • Prohibition's legacy: from NASCAR to the creation of the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to the rise of the modern brewing and distilling industry

Teetotalers & Moonshiners uses the Library's deep and compelling collections on this era, from humorous sheet music mocking the absurdities of prohibition to blazing headlines in anti- and pro-liquor newspapers and broadsides. At the core of the story are the records of the state's Prohibition Commission, which record the daily activities of its agents. A digital interactive component documents statewide prohibition trends and tells the personal stories of commission agents, bootleggers, and moonshiners.

The exhibition is supported in part by the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and the National Alcoholic Beverage Control Association. The Virginia Distillers Association provided support for the traveling exhibition.

8/24/2017

From Grace Sherwood to historic games, this fall brings exciting new events and old favorites to your Virginia Beach History Museums!

5/1/2017

(VIRGINIA BEACH, VA) Take a break from the summer heat and enjoy a cool slate of events from the Virginia Beach History Museums! From celebrating military families as a certified Blue Star Museum to the monthly Free. Fun. Saturday. events, there is something for everyone to enjoy at the History Museums this summer!

Free. Fun. Saturday.

May 6, June 3, July 1, August 5; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Francis Land House

The Francis Land House will be open with guided tours, old-school games and toys, and Ye Olde Selfie Station. Each month will feature a special activity, including marbleized paper in May, making your own flag in June, patriotic paper lanterns in July, and origami paper cranes in remembrance of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for August. Admission is free.

International Museum Day

May 18, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Francis Land House and Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum

Celebrate International Museum Day with the Virginia Beach History Museums! Organized by the International Council of Museums, this day is dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of museums in communities. The Francis Land House and Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum will be open and admission will be free. There will be activities including writing with a feather quill and ink, practicing cross stitching, creating a sampler style bookmark, colonial games, and more, for visitors to enjoy.

Free Admission for Military Families

Memorial Day to Labor Day Francis Land House and Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum

New this year, the History Museums are now a registered Blue Star Museum location! Military families will receive free admission between Memorial Day and Labor Day to any of the Virginia Beach History Museums. For more information on the Blue Star Museums program and how to take advantage of the free admission, please check out their website.

A Magical Day in the Garden

June 10, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Francis Land House

Featuring plein air painting workshops, flower arranging workshops, distinct fruit garden and vegetable garden talks, bird demonstrations, beekeeping presentations, and more, this event will provide you with the information to succeed at gardening! Plus, there will be fairy-themed activities for children. Admission is free, but some activities and workshops have a fee for supplies and require preregistration. A full schedule, including costs, will be available on the History Museums website soon.

Ice Cream Festival

July 15, 12 to 5 p.m. Francis Land House Celebrate National Ice Cream Month with ice cream themed crafts, games, and activities, including making ice cream in a bag and special appearances by everyone's favorite icy sisters and lovable snowman. Plus, there will be an ice cream truck rodeo featuring three local ice cream trucks! Admission is free.

Guests can call (757) 385-5100 for more information about these events or visit the History Museums website.

Next Page

Connect with Us!