Arts & Museums
It is easy to get happily lost in the vast collections of the Library of Virginia. The building contains 83 million manuscripts and more than a million books, periodicals, newspapers, prints, photographs and maps. The items in the rare book collection provide fascinating browsing; many contain early woodcuts and lithographs. The photo collection includes a comprehensive view of the 1939 World's Fair, antique tobacco labels, and currency. The Library also features changing exhibits relevant to Virginia history on the ground floor.
Built in 1790, this is the oldest brick house surviving in Richmond. For 45 years it was the home of the third Chief Justice of the United States, John Marshall. Restored as a museum, it contains original home furnishings and artifacts from Marshall's professional life.
The home of Virginia governors since the early 1800s, this Federal-style house is located in Capitol Square. It is the oldest governor's mansion in continuous use in the country. Confederate general Robert E. Lee lay in state in one of the rooms. Prominent governors that have resided in the home include Harry Byrd, who later served 32 years in the US Senate and L. Douglas Wilder, the first elected African-American governor in the country. The home can be toured by appointment only during the designated hours.
Also known as the Valentine Museum, the Wickham House is one of Richmond's finest examples of Federal architecture. Home of renowned attorney John Wickham, the Wickham House is famous for its Greek, Roman and Egyptian themed neoclassical paintings as well as the impressive elliptical staircase. The house is open for tours, where visitors can get a feel not only of life in the 19th Century, but also a glimpse into the life of the Wickham family.
Begin your exploration of historic Richmond at the Valentine Richmond History Center! Fascinating permanent and changing exhibits illuminate the city's four centuries. Tour the 1812 Wickham House, a neoclassical masterpiece, and Edward Valentine's 19th century Sculpture Studio, then enjoy lunch in beautiful Wickham's Garden Cafe. The Cafe offers sandwiches, salads and award winning desserts and is open for breakfast and lunch, M-F 8a-3p. Guided walking tours, specialty bus tours, custom group tours and step-on guides are available. All programs are led by friendly and knowledgeable master guides, who bring the history of Richmond to life, on location. Admission USD7 adults; USD6 seniors; USD4 kids (7-12); USD3 kids (3-6);Children under 3 are free. Free parking for two hours.
The Museum and White House of the Confederacy is a neoclassical mansion built in 1818. President Jefferson Davis lived here during the Civil War years, and several pieces of furniture owned by him are on display. Adjacent to the restored White House is a museum containing more than 15,000 artifacts and 500 flags from the Confederate era. The collection includes the swords and other personal effects of Generals Jackson, Lee and Stuart. Personal papers, government documents, journals and rare books are on exhibit.
Gleaming gold and shining silver, and other examples of money through the ages fill this museum at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Exhibits include items once used for barter all over the world. Collections also highlight paper money of Virginia from 1755 to 1865, including the currency of the Confederacy. Prior reservations are required, see their website for further details.
Richmond was the home of Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, a dancer who found fame when he appeared in movies with child-star Shirley Temple. This museum explores his life. Works by contemporary artists such as John Bigger and R.H. Polk are also featured. The building was built in 1832. It is an example of Federal/Greek Revival architecture. It is also convenient to the Valentine Museum and the Maggie Walker House.
Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, who became famous dancing in movies with child star Shirley Temple, invented many new tap steps that continue to influence dancers today. Richmond celebrates its native son with a statue of him dancing. The statue stands next to a traffic light that Robinson, out of concern for the safety of children crossing the streets of Jackson Ward, donated to the city in the 1930s.
The original draft of Edgar Allan Poe's famous poem, "The Raven," along with other memorabilia of the life of this unusual writer, is on display in this museum. Poe grew up in Richmond and made frequent visits to the city throughout his life. The author's mysterious death is as intriguing as the tales he wrote. It was in Richmond that he was last seen before he was discovered, beaten and delirious, in Baltimore. He died shortly afterwards. The Poe Museum, housed in Richmond's oldest stone building. Admission: USD6 adults; USD5 seniors and students.
Richmond has an exceptional art scene and 1708 is its foremost gallery. This is an artist-supported gallery providing a showcase for emerging and established talent. Openings on the first Friday of each month bring artists, students and the public together to view new works by painters, sculptors and photographers. Musicians provide additional entertainment at these events, and beer and wine is available at minimal cost.