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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.

2/28/2017

(Virginia Beach, VA) Earlier this month, Anne Miller accepted the History Museums Coordinator position for the City of Virginia Beach Department of Aquarium and Museums.

Miller joined the City of Virginia Beach in 2009 as an Exhibits Technician for the History Museums, and rose to the role of Curator of the History Museums in 2012. She supervised the opening of the Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum and managed key preservation projects at the Thoroughgood House and Lynnhaven House. In her new role, Miller will oversee the construction of the new Thoroughgood Education Center.

Prior to joining the city, Miller was the Curator for the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation and a Researcher for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Her responsibilities included assisting with the planning of the quadricentennial commemoration, developing Jamestown Settlements $14 million permanent galleries, which opened in 2006, and developing special exhibits and media projects. Miller has a bachelors degree in history from Yale University.

I am continually impressed with Anne's knowledge and skills of preservation, and her familiarity with our museums expressed Cynthia Spanoulis, Department of Aquarium and Museums Deputy Director. I am confident she will continue to make Virginia Beach's rich cultural history exciting and relevant for our guests, and will ensure that the work of the History Museums is aligned to the City's plan and vision.

2/2/2017

The Virginia Beach History Museums have some fun, exciting events planned for the spring. From the monthly Free. Fun. Saturday. series to a new Film Festival in partnership with the Virginia Beach Public Libraries, there are great ways to learn about the history in your own backyard.

Free. Fun. Saturday.

February 4 & March 4, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 1, 1 p.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. Admission is free.

Film Festival in Partnership with the Virginia Beach Public Libraries

All films will be shown at the Meyera E. Oberndorf Central Library, and admission is free. After each film, there will be a discussion with people who witnessed or participated in the events in the films. Screenings include:

  • More Than a Month - February 12, 3 to 4:30 p.m. Should Black History Month be ended? Filmmaker Shukree Hassan Tilghman explores this question as he embarks on a cross-country campaign to explore the question and examines what history tells us about race and power in contemporary America.
  • American Experience: Freedom Summer - February 19, 3 to 4:30 p.m. This film shows the summer of 1964 in a new light, as more than 700 student volunteers joined with organizers and local African Americans in a historic effort to shatter the foundations of white supremacy in one of the nation's most segregated states.
  • The Road to Brown - February 26, 3 to 4:30 p.m. This moving and long overdue tribute to a visionary, but little known, black lawyer, Charles Hamilton Houston, will showcase the beginnings of the Civil Rights Movement.

Homeschool Day

February 23, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Colonial Education Center at the Lynnhaven House Explore the past with the Virignia Beach History Museums as we welcome homeschool families for a fun-filled day just for you! Activities for ages five and up include hands-on educational lessons and take home craft activities. Families must register in advance for a two-hour time slot. Admission is $5 per child or $20 per family, and tickets can be purchased online here.

Girl Scout Day

February 25, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Colonial Education Center at the Lynnhaven House Activities for Brownies include several requirements for Making Games and Potter badges and activities for Junior Scouts include several requirements for Playing the Past badge. Advanced registration is required. Tickets are $8 per scout; leaders are free. Registration can be completed online here.

Women and Libery

March 25, 2 to 6 p.m. Colonial Education Center at the Lynnhaven House In celebration of Women's History Month, you are invited to try your hand at activities in which colonial ladies were expected to excel, including candle dipping and cross stitch. There may even be a special appearance by America's first First Lady, Martha Washington, and Oney Judge, an enslaved woman from Washington's Mount Vernon home. Tickets are $3 in advance and $5 at the door, and will be available online beginning on February 28.

Gathering of the Guilds and Easter Egg Hunt

April 8, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Francis Land House One of last year's biggest events gets even bigger! The Gathering of the Guilds will feature local artisans with special handmade pieces for sale. The Native Plant Society's Spring Plant Sale, a favorite for locals, will also be held during the morning on the front lawn. Easter egg hunts will be held every 30 minutes, and guests can hunt more than once. Purchase a $1 ticket to redeem your eggs for a prize bag after the hunt. Free admission.

Guests can call (757) 385-5100 for more information about these events.

12/1/2016

The Virginia Beach History Museums are gearing up for the holidays with some exciting events happening throughout December and into January. Free. Fun. Saturday. December 3, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Francis Land House Get to know the Virignia Beach History Museums with free admission! The Francis Land House will be open with guided tours, old-school games and toys, and Ye Olde Selfie Station. Admission is free. Holiday Celebration at Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum December 10, 4 to 7 p.m. Located inside Renaissance Academy, 5100 Cleveland St. This celebration will feature musical performances by local singers, dancers, and musicians, and a raffle, refreshments, and admission to the Museum. Admission is free. Festivus December 21, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Colonial Education Center at the Lynnhaven House It's a Festivus for the rest of us! Join us as we put up the Festivus pole, enjoy a delicious Festivus dinner, catered by Mannino's Italian Bistro, and take part in the traditions of the season, like the Airing of Grievances and Feats of Strength. There will also be Festivus team trivia with the chance to win prizes.Tickets for the two seatings are available here and are $20 per person. 31st Annual Twelfth Night Celebration at the Francis Land House January 6, 5 to 10 p.m. Francis Land House Twelfth Night is the traditional end of the Christmas season, and the 31st annual celebration at the Francis Land House is going to be the best one yet. Guests will be treated to music, refreshments, and some surprises. The entire evening will be hosted by the Starke family, late 19th century owners of the Francis Land House. Tickets are $12 per person, and can be purchased online here.

4/1/2016

LYNNHAVEN HOUSE MOISTURE MITIGATION:

The Lynnhaven House will be closed from April 4, 2016 until mid-June 2016 for a moisture mitigation project. The interior walls of the house have moisture behind the plaster that needs to be corrected. The project will entail removing the plaster on the walls to allow the moisture to dry, construction of a swale to redirect groundwater away from the house, and repair or replacement of windows on the first floor. The housed collection will be moved to a secure, off-site location during the project and will return when complete. The Colonial Education Center will remain open for special events and programming throughout the project.

HISTORY MUSEUMS OPERATING HOURS:

Francis Land House:

  • Monday - Wednesday: By appointment
  • Thursday - Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sunday: 12 to 4 p.m.

Lynnhaven House:

  • Closed until mid-June 2016

Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum:

  • Sunday - Wednesday: Closed
  • Thursday and Friday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Saturday: By appointment only

Thoroughgood House:

  • Closed for construction of new Visitor Center

SPECIAL EVENTS:

Local History Series featuring Councilmember Barbara Henley, April 9, 1 p.m. Lynnhaven House Councilmember Barbara Henley will talk about her new research on Princess Anne County. Admission includes buffet lunch. Tickets are $20 per person and must be purchased by April 6. Call (757) 385-5100 to register.

Virginia Beach Garden Day, April 27, 1-4 p.m. Francis Land House and Lynnhaven House The Francis Land House will be open on Wednesday, April 27, from 1 to 4 p.m. and the Council of Garden Clubs will serve tea and scones in the lobby. The Hardwick Chamber Ensemble will play in the basement, and Garden Week ticket-holders will be admitted at no charge to see the flower arrangements. Also on Wednesday, the Lynnhaven House will host Master Gardeners who are able to speak to interested visitors about the gardens on the property. Garden Week ticket holders will be admitted to the Francis Land House at no charge on Thursday, April 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to view the on-display flower arrangements.

Local History Series featuring Stephen Mansfield, May 7, 1 p.m. Lynnhaven House Dr. Stephen Mansfield will discuss "Treasures from the Virginia Beach Attic," a presentation using items from the Local History Collection at Virginia Wesleyan College. These artifacts will illustrate themes or characteristics of Princess Anne County and the City of Virginia Beach history. Admission includes buffet lunch. Tickets are $20 per person and must be purchased by April 6. Call (757) 385-5100 to register.

International Museum Day, May 18 Francis Land House and Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum The Virginia Beach History Museums will celebrate International Museum Day, a world-wide day organized by the International Council of Museums to bring awareness to the importance of museums, by offering free admission to the Francis Land House and the Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum.

Tea with the Lands, June 19, 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. Francis Land House Guests will join Mrs. Francis Moseley Land and Anne Gardener Land for tea, 19th century style refreshments, and the popular period card game Whist. There will be two sessions, 12 p.m. and again at 3 p.m. Tickets are $15 per person and reservations are required. Call (757) 385-5100 for more information and to register.

Ice Cream Festival, July 16, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Lynnhaven House Come and celebrate the history of ice cream! Guests will enjoy samples of ice cream based on historic recipes, place ice cream themed games, create ice cream art, make their own ice cream, and more. Pre-registration is not required, and admission is $7.50 for guests age 5 and older

3/18/2016

Was the Beatles' hit song "Strawberry Fields Forever" written about Pungo? We know that it was a primarily agricultural area, but did the Fab Four make a pit stop in Princess Anne County and fall in love? Of course not. But come and learn about the history of Princess Anne County and the space between the beach and the border anyway!

In celebration of the 325th anniversary of the formation of Princess Anne County, the predecessor to the City of Virginia Beach, the Virginia Beach History Museums will host a special Local History Series detailing aspects of local history with lectures by local and regional historians. The first event of the Local History Series will be held on Saturday, April 9, at 1 p.m. in the Colonial Education Center at the Lynnhaven House, and will feature speaker Barbara Henley.

She will be discussing her new research about the history of Princess Anne County. Councilmember Henley is a graduate of Old Dominion University with a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's in urban studies. She taught school in the city's public schools system and is serving her eighth term on City Council. Mrs. Henley represented the Pungo Borough from 1978 to 1990, during which time she served two years as Vice Mayor. She served on City Council again from 1994 to 2002, and returned to represent the Princess Anne District in 2006.

She is the author of Glimpses of Down-County History: Southern Princess Anne County. Admission for this event will be $20 per person, and includes a buffet lunch catered by Ynot Italian Restaurant. Reservations are required and can be made by calling (757) 385-5100. Deadline for reservations is Wednesday, April 6. This event is the first in the Local History Series and is hosted by the Virginia Beach History Museums.

The next event will be on Saturday, May 7 and feature Dr. Stephen Mansfield.

3/14/2016

The 25th Annual Gathering of the Guilds will be at the Francis Land House Saturday, April 2, 2016 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., rain or shine. Visitors will learn about traditional skills as guild members demonstrate their specialties to the public. Some guilds will also have items available for purchase. Participating guilds include:

  • 7 Cities Brewers
  • Back Bay Wildfowl Guild
  • Beekeepers Guild of Southeast Viiginia
  • Botanical Society of America, ODU chapter
  • Seaside Smockers
  • Tidewater Basketry Guild
  • Tidewater Distaff Spinners
  • Tidewater Knitting Guild of Virginia
  • Tidewater Turners

The regional chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society will hold its annual native plant sale in conjunction with the Gathering of the Guilds. Perennials, shrubs, small trees and other plants that thrive in seaside and woodland gardens will be available. All proceeds from the plant sale will be used for area beautification and education. The Butterfly Society of Virginia will sell butterfly-friendly plants as well.

Eco Maniac Company will be present with ShopGreen757, offering alternatives to single-use plastics, rain barrels, Fair Trade handcrafts, recycled and upcycled products, organic dog treats, organic soy candles, all-natural skin care and more.

Natejer Botanicals will be selling skin and beauty products made from all natural ingredients.

The Girl Scout Council of the Colonial Coast and the Tidewater Council Boy Scouts of America will also be on-site, in addition to the Lucky Peach Food Truck, which will be selling breakfast and lunch items.

Admission to this event is free and includes a brief tour of the Francis Land House. The Francis Land House, circa 1805, served as the home of Francis Land VI, a wealthy plantation owner from a prominent family in Princess Anne County, Virginia.

The 25th Annual Gathering of the Guilds and Native Plant Sale is free and open to the public with free on-site parking.The Francis Land House is located at 3131 Virginia Beach Boulevard. Call (757) 385-5100 or visit www.MuseumsVB.org for more information.

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