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1/11/2022

Dear Museums Friends,

First, I would like to wish you a very happy new year! I hope you were able to enjoy a wonderful holiday season filled with the warmth and company of family and friends.

This past year was marked by fruitful new beginnings, as the Virginia Beach History Museums resumed in-person events and programs after being reduced due to the pandemic.

As we kick off 2022, we could not be more thankful for your ongoing support and interest in the Virginia Beach History Museums. We hope you enjoy this newsletter, and we look forward to seeing you at a tour or program soon!

Ongoing Restorations

Francis Land House Restoration Updates

Unforeseen site conditions were encountered shortly after work began. These conditions included higher than anticipated water and moisture infiltration due to failed building envelope, resulting in rot and increased damage to the structure. Additionally, the originally procured chemical-based fire suppression system is no longer recommended for use in historic homes, and there is an increased cost associated with the installation of the preferred water-based fire suppression system. As a result, the contractor’s contract needed to be revised to restore a water-tight building envelope, install the appropriate fire suppression system, and make additional unforeseen repairs. These changes were approved by City Council on July 13, 2021.

To better protect the house in case of fire, the contractors are in the process of redesigning and installing a wet/dry sprinkler system. The contractors are also working on water mitigation strategies on the roof to ensure water does not soak into the chimneys. In addition, they are building and installing platforms to elevate the HVAC units to protect from water damage.

Bentonite panels will be placed against the exterior walls of the basement, as well, to absorb moisture and prevent as much moisture from entering the brick foundation walls as possible. The existing moisture barrier, which was installed in the 1970s, is likely holding moisture in the walls, and will be removed. The masonry will then be repointed and parged prior to the installation of the bentonite panels.

The Virginia Beach History Museums also applied for certificates of appropriateness (COAs), which are issued by the Historical Review Board (HRB), to make alterations to the Francis Land House’s back porch and back porch stairs.

The existing back brick stairs and wooden handrail, which are not original to the historic structure, will be replaced with historically appropriate Cypress stairs, which will match the replaced main front porch stairs.

The contractor also discovered that the back porch lapboard, which is deteriorating, was not original to the historic structure. However, they did discover original bead board beneath the lapboard. The repair/replacement of the bead board will be presented to the Historical Review Board for their approval.

Lynnhaven House Restoration Updates

The Lynnhaven House will remain closed in 2022. Currently, we are in the water migration process to monitor for any structural issues. As part of this process, we will need to install gutters and grade out the house, or install French drains, to ensure water is being channeled away from the house effectively.

We are also planning to digitally monitor moisture and temperature variations in the house throughout the year. The data obtained through the monitoring process will help staff understand how well the system is working, and provide information on areas in need of attention, in order to maintain appropriate moisture levels. After the moisture monitoring has concluded, the final finishing work will commence.

2021 Year in Review

Grand Reopening

After over a year of being closed due to pandemic safety measures, the historic Thoroughgood House reopened for public tours and events in May 2021. Since then, thousands of individuals have been on tours, participated in programs and enjoyed private events.

Expanded tour hours, including Thursday evening tours and, for the first time in years, Sunday tours, were also added to the Thoroughgood House schedule. On select Thursday evenings, the Virginia Beach History Museums began presenting specialty focus tours, with topics including “The Enslaved Perspective,” “First Peoples of Virginia,” “Folklore and Superstition” and more.

Celebrating Juneteenth

As part of the recognition of the United States’ newest federal holiday, the Virginia Beach History Museums participated in the Virginia Beach Cultural Affairs Department’s weekend-long Juneteenth celebration.

The Virginia Beach History Museums and Princess Anne Country Training School/Union Kempsville High School Alumni & Friends Association (PACTS/UKHS) hosted a free musical performance to celebrate African American Music Month! The TFC Band joined Becky Livas and Teens With a Purpose for an afternoon of entertainment, and the Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum was open for tours. Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer was also in attendance and presented his African American Music Month proclamation on stage.

Bonfires and Brews

In October 2021, the Virginia Beach Historic Houses Foundation hosted “Bonfires and Brews,” a pilot program at the Lynnhaven House. Approximately 600 people attended this fun fall event, which featured music from Brackish Water Jamboree, beer from Pleasure House Brewing, food trucks, fire pits and games across the ground. Visitors also had the chance to get a sneak peak of the restoration work happening at the Lynnhaven House, and to learn about its history. Proceeds from the event went towards the Virginia Beach Historic Houses Foundation’s mission.

Ghosts of Thoroughgood Past

Throughout October 2021, the Virginia Beach History Museums hosted an immersive series of haunted tours at the Thoroughgood House to set the spooky spirit of the season! Nearly 800 Virginia Beach residents and visitors attended “Ghosts of Thoroughgood Past” tours, which included costumed actors keeping guests, with the help of their EMF Ghost Meters, on the lookout for haunting encounters. Several

guests, actors and staff reported sensing paranormal activity! Guests were also invited to enjoy warm apple cider, and sit by the fire, to warm up during the crisp mid-autumn nights.

O Christmas Tea

In December 2021, Dickens met Downton Abbey at the Lynnhaven House during “O Christmas Tea.” During this late 19th century holiday tea, guests enjoyed a specially curated selection of four traditional Victorian teas, a menu of tasty treats and a variety of holiday melodies! Museums Director Annmarie-Reiley Kay provided several tea history tidbits along the way.

Additional Updates

Our staff is in the process of re-shaping educational programming, as well as 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

Please CLICK HERE for a PDF version of this update.

12/10/2021

Thoroughgood House 2021 December Holiday Schedule

The Thoroughgood House will be closed for tours:
Friday, Dec. 24 - Monday, December 27

Friday, Dec. 31 - Sunday, January 2

Due to staff training, the Thoroughgood House will also be closed for tours:
Monday, January 3 - Wednesday, January 12


Please visit www.museumsvb.org, or call 757-385-5100, for the latest tour updates.

11/17/2021

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (Nov. 16, 2021) – Care for a spot of tea? Come to the historic Lynnhaven House on Sunday, December 12, and celebrate the holiday season at “O Christmas Tea!”

Dickens meets Downton Abbey in this classic, late 19th century holiday tea. Enjoy a specially curated selection of four traditional Victorian teas, a menu of tasty treats and a variety of holiday melodies!

O Christmas Tea” will take place at the Lynnhaven House on Sunday, December 12. Two seatings of 50 guests each are available (1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.). Tickets are $40 per person and must be purchased online in advance.

Click here to purchase tickets for your seat at “O Christmas Tea.” Ticket registration is through the Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation ActiveNet system. If you do not already have an ActiveNet account, you will need to create your free account prior to purchasing tickets.

For the latest information about Virginia Beach History Museums events and tours, please visit museumsvb.org. If you have any questions about tours, please call 757-385-5100 or email vbhistory@vbgov.com.

11/4/2021

In honor of those who’ve served in our nation’s military, the Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Alumni and Friends Association (PACTS/UKHS) and Virginia Beach History Museums (VBHM) are hosting “Salute to Service,” a free virtual celebration and discussion of American veterans, on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 from 6-7 p.m.

Salute to Service” will feature musical video tributes from Symphonicity, speakers presenting new and important information about veteran benefits and services, and an opportunity for veterans to connect with the community at large. Featured speakers include:

  • Moderator: LTC James Belin, U.S. Army (Ret.), PACTS/UKHS Alumnus
  • CWO3 Danny Miller, U.S. Navy (Ret.), Commander, Disabled American Veterans Chapter 20
  • Maj Daniel Boothe, U.S. Air National Guard, Music Director and Conductor, Symphonicity
  • PACTS/UKHS Alumni

Salute to Service” will stream via WebEx on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 from 6-7 p.m. The panel will be an open discussion format and will allow for public questions or contributions with assistance from the moderator. Click here 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.

10/26/2021

Heads up! Due to the Ghosts of Thoroughgood Past Tours on Halloween Weekend, the Thoroughgood House will be closed for regular tours on:

Saturday, October 30
Sunday, October 31

If you haven't already registered for your ghost tour, you can do by CLICKING HERE.

10/13/2021

UPDATE: Due to a special event at the Lynnhaven House (Bonfires and Brews), the Thoroughgood House will be CLOSED for tours on Friday, October 15. The Thoroughgood House will also close early on Saturday, October 16, at 3pm due to a private event.

10/13/2021

The Virginia Beach History Museums invite you to take a paranormal tour of the historic Thoroughgood House by candlelight this October.

Keep an eye out for ghostly happenings in the gardens and house as costumed professional storytellers guide you through the night. Campfires and cider will also be available at the Thoroughgood House to warm your spirits during these hauntingly fun fall nights. Tours are appropriate for all ages.

Tours will run every 30 minutes from 6-9 p.m. on Oct. 14 and 21, and Halloween weekend (Oct. 28-31). Tickets are $15 each and can be purchased online in advance or at the door. Click here to purchase tickets for "Ghosts of Thoroughgood Past" tours. Ticket registration is through the Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation ActiveNet system. If you do not already have an ActiveNet account, you will need to create your free account prior to purchasing tickets.

For the latest information about Virginia Beach History Museums events and tours, please visit museumsvb.org. If you have any questions about tours, please call 757-385-5100 or email vbhistory@vbgov.com.

10/13/2021

Sit by the fire, sip on local beer and enjoy a fall night of history, LIVE music and more, all while supporting local historic preservation at one of Virginia's oldest surviving colonial homes!

Enjoy LIVE music from Brackish Water Jamboree with beer provided by Pleasure House Brewing! Fire pits will be open throughout the Lynnhaven House grounds to help warm everyone up on a crisp fall night. FREE activities will also be available, and the Lynnhaven House will be open to walk through. There will be hay bales for seating around the fire pits, but you are welcome to bring your own chair for seating on the grounds. Cast Iron Catering Co. and Bear House Coffee Roasters will also have food trucks on site.

Event is from 6:00pm-10:00pm on Friday, October 15, on the Lynnhaven House grounds (4409 Wishart Rd., Virginia Beach, VA 23455). In lieu of an admission fee, please consider making a $5 donation to the Virginia Beach Historic Houses Foundation, Inc. Beer tickets are $6 each.

General event parking will be available in the Virginia Beach First Church of the Nazarene parking lot, which is located right next to the Lynnhaven House at 4413 Wishart Rd., Virginia Beach, VA 23455. The front parking lot at the Lynnhaven House will only be open to guests with accessibility needs.

This event is hosted by the Virginia Beach Historic Houses Foundation. Proceeds from the event will support the Foundation's mission to enhance the City of Virginia Beach-owned historic houses and sites by providing funding for historic artifacts and education programs and promoting public awareness of Virginia Beach history.

CLICK HERE FOR FACEBOOK EVENT

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.

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