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The Virginia Beach History Museums (VBHM) are excited to announce the opening of registration for ImmortALL. This free performance poetry program focuses on retelling Hampton Roads’ Black history through performance poetry. The program is a part of Teens With a Purpose’s (TWP) H.E.A.R. THIS poetry workshop series.

Through this community partnership between the Princess Anne Country Training School/Union Kempsville High School Alumni and Friends Association (PACTS/UKHS), TWP, VBHM and the Zeiders American Dream Theater, teens can express their voices, connect with living historical figures and learn the art of performance poetry with fellow students from across Hampton Roads.

Performance poetry and modern social change meet oral history and the civil rights movement in this dynamic program. In writing workshops, which take place both in-person at select schools and virtually, from October 2022 through April 2023, teens will engage with TWP’s acclaimed professional poets and teaching artists, PACTS/UKHS alumni from the classes of 1943-1969 , visit and view footage from the Virginia Beach History Museums’ Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum, and have the opportunity to perform in-person and online at the Zeiders American Dream Theater in April 2023 . Teens will re-interpret local oral history through the lens of their own experiences with current events.

The program includes:

  • Writing workshops between October 2022 and April 2023.
  • Connections with the Hampton Roads, and new Virginia, Youth Poet Laureate programs.
  • Performance practice and rehearsals.
  • Opportunity to share their poetry at a public performance in April 2023 at the Zeiders American Dream Theater, which will also be streamed virtually on TWP and City of Virginia Beach social media channels.

“Teens With a Purpose is excited to enter our third year of this partnership with Virginia Beach,” said Deirdre Love, Founder and Executive Director of Teens With a Purpose. “The program offers a priceless opportunity for us all to learn local history from local living legends whose lived experiences inspire the student writing. We witness people from different generations and backgrounds coming together through collaborative workshops, and we are so proud of our students as they grow through this creative journey.”

Interested teens, educators or school poetry club leaders can register now to participate in the program. Teens and their parents/guardians can download registration forms, and learn more about this free program, at, or by emailing

The 2023 ImmortALL season will conclude with a free public performance live and online at the Zeiders American Dream Theater on Saturday, April 29, 2023, at 7 P.M. Tickets and online registration information to be announced. TWP workshops are supported in part by funding from the Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission.


Teens With a Purpose was formed in 1996 by Deirdre Love. In 2007, Teens With a Purpose became TWP-The Youth Movement a 501(c) (3) non-profit youth development organization. The organization is celebrating over 21 years of experience in providing peer leadership training and has been recognized both regionally and nationally. Our mission is to create a platform that empowers young people to use their voice, creativity, reflection and action to affect personal growth, transform lives and impact communities.

TWP intersects youth development practices; civic engagement, peer leadership and high-quality artistic presentation creating safe inclusive spaces that challenge young people to find, develop, publicly present and apply their voices as creators of positive social change. TWP is committed to developing young leaders who positively impact their neighbors, classmates, schools, governments, congregations and one another.


Princess Anne County Training School was the first high school for African Americans in Princess Anne County, now known as 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. The initial money raised was used to purchase four acres of land on Witchduck Road. The school board received the land, and $2000, but it made no attempt to build a school. As a result, in 1934, a temporary school was established on the property of Union Baptist Church. In 1938, a four-classroom high school was finally built and, between 1949 and 1962, several additions were made to the school. 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 located within Virginia Beach City Public Schools' Renaissance Academy.


Zeiders American Dream Theater is a professional, non-profit theater that introduces new works and emerging artists, presents unique artistic experiences, and inspires creative growth in the Hampton Roads Community. The Z’s founding principles are that creativity drives the growth of individuals and communities; and that the imagination, passion, and discipline of creation are universal requirements for all successful endeavors, artistic and otherwise. Our mission is accomplished through programming balanced between developing projects and artists, presenting regional, national and international artists, and community-driven events.


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 the 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.


As the seasons change, and we start to see our trees and gardens spring to life, we love seeing people walking the grounds of the Virginia Beach History Museums. As a person with an expressed vested interest in these sites, I wanted to update you on some historic happenings.

The Virginia Beach History Museums continue to make progress on ongoing restorations and have added and expanded high-quality programming to connect Virginia Beach residents and visitors with our historic properties.

As we enter the warmer months, 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!



We want YOU to volunteer at the Virginia Beach History Museums!

Volunteer opportunities:

  • Special event support: work at weddings and other public/private events
  • Multilingual support: translate materials and provide tours
  • Docents: lead tours and help with programs

Drop by the Lynnhaven Colonial Education Center between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 26, to learn more. No advanced registration required. Light refreshments will be provided.

For more information, call 757-385-5100 or email


Historic careers start here! The Virginia Beach History Museums are now hiring! We are seeking talented and motivated team players with a passion for history to fill part time roles. Help us research history, interact with guests, work on event days and more. To apply, please email your resume and cover letter to or call 757-385-5103 for more information

Hourly Pay Rate: $13.34/hr

Hours: 15-20 hours per week. Weekend, evening and daytime shifts available.



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 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.


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, or call 757-385-5100, for the latest tour updates.


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 If you have any questions about tours, please call 757-385-5100 or email


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


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.


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.

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