6280 Northampton Blvd., Norfolk, VA, US, 23502
- Phone: (757) 461-6251
- Fax: (757) 461-5925
Arts & Museums
Located in the historic Willoughby-Baylor House, which dates back to the late 18th Century, the Norfolk History Museum hosts interesting exhibitions about all aspects of Norfolk's history. From maritime history to the architectural history of the city, visitors are sure to walk away from this museum feeling educated. Another main feature of the museum is the garden, installed in 1991, which is a representation of what a colonial garden would have looked like.
The Willoughby-Baylor House is a stunning example of Georgian and Federal architecture; it is replete with authentic 18th century furnishings and a charming garden. It was built in 1794 and it has been beautifully restored. It also now contains a museum, the Norfolk History Museum, where visitors can browse through some of Norfolk's most significant relics and pieces from the Chrysler Museum of Art.
This restored historic house was once home to Norfolk entrepreneur Moses Myers. One of the first brick houses built here after the Revolutionary War, the Moses Myers House today contains a nice collection of original furnishings, family portraits and other works by Thomas Sully. The Moses Myers house. An ongoing restoration of this house continues by the Garden Club of Virginia.
The Freemason District contains some of the major historical sites in Norfolk. Part of the original plot of land given to Captain Thomas Willoughby in 1636, the streets are cobblestoned, with brick houses and trees lining the sidewalk. Among the many museums and history centers here are the Moses Myers House, Norfolk History Museum, and Hunter House Victorian Museum.
This historic home was built in 1854 for the James Hunter, his wife Lizzie, and their three children. All of the children remained unmarried, and the youngest, Eloise, converted the house to the museum as part of her Hunter Foundation. The museum opened in 1988 and gives visitors a glimpse into lives of a wealthy family at the end of the 19th Century. Friendly docents conduct tours every half hour, explaining the history of the house as well as the lives of the Hunter family.
A fine collection of art and two historic houses make the Chrysler Museum of Art a fantastic retreat. Art works here include pieces by Andy Warhol, Louis Tiffany and Paul Gauguin. Savor art in the form of Greco-Roman, Islamic, Egyptian, Asian, and African masterpieces. The Impressionism, Sculpture and Photography galleries are sure to enthrall you. The Chrysler Library is the largest art reference library in the Southeast. Adjacent to the galleries and included in admission are the Moses Myers House, residence of Norfolk's first Jewish citizen, and the Willoughby-Baylor House. Norfolk is about a two-hour drive from Richmond. Take I-64 east to Route 33.
Art lovers should visit Selden Arcade while in Norfolk, especially since Selden has recently become Norfolk's Cultural Arts Center. The Selden also has two galleries where you can admire contemporary art which often feature local artists. The center also often hosts performing artists and local events.
The Nauticus Maritime Center is a huge complex on the waterfront in Downtown Norfolk. The interactive exhibits help visitors explore nautical science, Nofolk's naval history, and marine life. Touch tanks bring you as close as you can get to sea creatures like starfish, anemones, even nurse sharks! Included in the admission price is entrance to the USS Wisconsin, Hampton Naval Museum, and Forecastle Gallery. Check website for admission.
Part of the Nauticus Maritime Center, the USS Wisconsin came to Norfolk in 2000. The ship is over 60 years old, first launched in 1943, and is one of the largest battleships ever built by the US Navy. Children and history buffs especially love it, and docents are placed in various spots on board to answer any questions about the ship's colorful history.
Norfolk has a long-standing military tradition, and the Hampton Naval Museum is dedicated to celebrating this rich history. Located inside the Nauticus Maritime Center, the museum also operates the USS Wisconsin exhibit. Featuring uniforms, documents, photos, and other artifacts, history buffs should not miss this treasury of local history.
The Hermitage Foundation Museum holds the Sloan art collection that includes pieces collected from across the world. The Chinese tomb figures and pieces from Czar Alexander's collection are a striking feature. The museum also conducts art classes and holds workshops. Surrounded by 12 acres of well planned gardens, The Hermitage Foundation is a picturesque location for special occasions. The gift shop sells creations of local artisans and designers. Check the museum website for the White Glove tours.
The Norfolk Naval Station is located in the Sewells Point area of Norfolk, and is the largest Naval complex in the world. Situated nearby to the site of the Monitor and Merrimac battle, on the original site of the Jamestown Exhibition. The Norfolk Naval Station is home to numerous ships and aircraft carries. Tours are available. See website for details.