5 Museums Off The Beaten Path in Central Virginia

by staff on March 26, 2011

Not long ago a client shared a story about her middle-school-aged son’s enjoyment of “The Waltons” television series re-runs.  The son’s interest seemed a bit incongruous to both of us, but the mother explained that her son genuinely loved life experiences from that era.  And the way the subject came up… was because she intended to take him to see The Walton’s Mountain Museum in Schuyler, VA.   That was the home of the writer of The Waltons television show, Earl Hamner.

Central Virginia MuseumsLater I began to think about all of the unique (even quirky) museums that are available throughout the central Virginia region, (beyond the more well-publicized stops such as Monticello, Montpelier, and the Discovery Museum).   We’ve decided to suggest 5 museums to you which are not exactly on every travel brochure, but they might be exactly what you’d enjoy. 

1.  The Walton Mountain Museum.  About a half-hour south of Charlottesville near the little town of Schuyler, this museum is a living tribute to the lives of the fictional characters of the t.v. show.  Photos and artifacts document the actors’ careers as well as some of the specific plots of the shows.  Good night, John Boy.

2.  The Roaring 20′s Antique Car Museum.   For those who like small custom tributes to a previous way of life,  here’s a chance to see 32 vintage autos, farm tools and horse-drawn  equipment in a family collection.  I can remember seeing a Nash on a highway,  but here’s a chance to see an actual Hupmobile too. 

3.  The Monacan Indian Ancestral Museum.  Located around Bear Mt in Amherst County (see link for map),  the log cabin museum is stocked with artifacts from the Monacan Indian ancestry, and is staffed by members who can guide and explain their history to you.  In addition, each year the tribe holds a Pow-Wow, and this year you can schedule your visit so that you can join the festivities on May 20-22, 2011.  There will be dancing, drums, storytelling, crafts and art for sale.

4.  The Sargeant History Museum in Louisa County, VA.   For newcomers who are moving into Louisa County, a visit to the Sargeant Museum can provide details of the history of the county, as well as its place in the American Revolution and Civil War. 

5.  The Kluge-Ruhe Collection of Aboriginal Art.  This is the only collection of aboriginal art on display in the U.S. and it’s part of a collection donated to the University of Virginia by businessman and philanthropist John Kluge.   Here’s a bit more about its history and location, and  HERE are their hours of operation.

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