Jefferson County Museum

Jefferson County Museum Visit the Jefferson County Museum to discover the people and events that helped shape our county's and nation's history.
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The Jefferson County Museum is located in historic downtown Charles Town and shares a building with its partner organization, the Charles Town Library. Since its founding in 1965, the museum has been dedicated to fostering the understanding and love of history. The museum is committed to the acquisition, preservation, and exhibition of objects of historical value and relevance to the county and the region. Our permanent exhibits include Early Settlement and the Washingtons, John Brown's Raid and the Civil War, People and Industries, and Jefferson County Photos: Then and Now. We add new exhibits to our gallery each winter, and reveal these when we reopen to the public in the early spring.

Mission: The Jefferson County Museum is dedicated to fostering the understanding and love of history. The museum is committed to the acquisition, preservation, and exhibition of objects of historical value and relevance to the county and the region.

#OTD in 1859, John Brown was executed on charges of treason, murder, and insurrection for his role in the raid on Harper...
12/02/2019

#OTD in 1859, John Brown was executed on charges of treason, murder, and insurrection for his role in the raid on Harpers Ferry less than two months prior. Brown was taken from the Jefferson County Jail and led to the execution site—now the lawn of the Gibson-Todd House in Charles Town. After the hanging, the wagon carried Brown’s body to the Winchester & Potomac Depot where it started its journey to North Elba, New York where Brown would be buried.

Artist sketch of John Brown seated on coffin proceeding to execution site on December 2, 1859. Original wood engraving by Arthur Berghaus created on December 17, 1859.

Your #BlackFriday shopping experience today may be a bit different from what is pictured above! This photograph #fromour...
11/29/2019

Your #BlackFriday shopping experience today may be a bit different from what is pictured above! This photograph #fromourcollection shows a general store living history demonstration in Harpers Ferry, circa 1970. Jesse Engle, store clerk, can be seen on the right; patron is unidentified.

#localhistory #JeffersonCounty #WestVirginia

The Jefferson County Museum wishes you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!Unknown photograph #fromourcollection shows seve...
11/28/2019

The Jefferson County Museum wishes you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

Unknown photograph #fromourcollection shows several men and women eating at a kitchen table.

#localhistory #JeffersonCounty #WestVirginia

The Jefferson County Museum will be closed tomorrow, Thursday, Nov 28, for Thanksgiving but will reopen on Friday, Nov 2...
11/27/2019

The Jefferson County Museum will be closed tomorrow, Thursday, Nov 28, for Thanksgiving but will reopen on Friday, Nov 29. Have a wonderful holiday!

#DYK the first license plates were authorized for automobiles in the United States in 1905. This West Virginia license p...
11/26/2019

#DYK the first license plates were authorized for automobiles in the United States in 1905. This West Virginia license plate #fromourcollection dates to 1906.

#localhistory #JeffersonCounty #WestVirginia

History sleuths, we need your help! These two items were part of a recent donation to the museum of sewing, crocheting, ...
11/21/2019

History sleuths, we need your help! These two items were part of a recent donation to the museum of sewing, crocheting, and leather-making materials. Can you help us identify them? The wooden clamp appears to have been heated, as evident by scorch marks on the handle. Both objects are undated. #MysteryObject

Have you stopped by to see our new exhibit featuring colonial and early antebellum relics? Artifacts include rare coins,...
11/20/2019

Have you stopped by to see our new exhibit featuring colonial and early antebellum relics? Artifacts include rare coins, buttons, and buckles dating from ca. 1730s to the early 1800s. The exhibit will only be open until mid-December, so stop by before it closes!

This teddy bear belonged to local resident Jane Snyder Miller (1919-2015) who grew up on her parents’ farm on Ridge Road...
11/16/2019

This teddy bear belonged to local resident Jane Snyder Miller (1919-2015) who grew up on her parents’ farm on Ridge Road near Shepherdstown.

The bear is currently on display as part of our exhibit, “Early 20th Century Toys: The Jane Snyder Miller Collection.” Come visit the museum to see this and more before we close in mid-December!

#localhistory #JeffersonCounty

#ThrowbackThursday to a group of African American men and women in front of an unidentified building, ca. 1900 to 1910. ...
11/14/2019

#ThrowbackThursday to a group of African American men and women in front of an unidentified building, ca. 1900 to 1910. This is likely a photograph of students and/or faculty of Storer College, but all people are unidentified except Henry McDonald who is second from left in the last row. McDonald was president of Storer College from 1899 to 1944.

#localhistory #JeffersonCounty #HarpersFerry

Happy Native American Heritage Month! When you stop by the museum this November, be sure to check out our display of Ame...
11/12/2019

Happy Native American Heritage Month! When you stop by the museum this November, be sure to check out our display of American Indian artifacts including pottery, stone points, and drills.

11/08/2019
African American Women's Experiences in Jefferson County: 1930s to 1960s

Did you miss our panel discussion, “African American Women’s Experiences in Jefferson County: 1930s to 1960s,” last month? You can now watch a recording of the event on our YouTube page! See below.

Recording of panel discussion, "African American Women's Experiences in Jefferson County: 1930s to 1960s," at the Jefferson County Museum on October 26, 2019.

Can you guess this week’s #MysteryObject dated ca. 1890- 1910?
11/06/2019

Can you guess this week’s #MysteryObject dated ca. 1890- 1910?

Happy Halloween! We hope you have a wonderfully spooky and safe night!
10/31/2019

Happy Halloween! We hope you have a wonderfully spooky and safe night!

Cat got your….tail? This undated advertisement card #fromourcollection makes a compelling case for shoe tips from the Am...
10/29/2019

Cat got your….tail? This undated advertisement card #fromourcollection makes a compelling case for shoe tips from the American Shoe Tip Company, available from Martinsburg shoe seller John Lyons.

#NationalCatDay #localhistory #JeffersonCounty

We were thrilled to see so many turn up for our event "African American Women's Experiences in Jefferson County: 1930s t...
10/29/2019

We were thrilled to see so many turn up for our event "African American Women's Experiences in Jefferson County: 1930s to 1960s" this past Saturday! Thank you once again to the panelists--Brenda Branson, Delores Jackson Foster, Rev. Alice Hunter, Janet Jeffries, and Julia Downing--and the moderator, Linda Downing Ballard! A recording of the event will be uploaded shortly--keep an eye out on our social media pages.

The fall weather has finally arrived! Let’s #throwbackthursday to workers standing outside at Rouss Orchard located in t...
10/24/2019

The fall weather has finally arrived! Let’s #throwbackthursday to workers standing outside at Rouss Orchard located in the Kabletown area.

Jefferson County was predominately a wheat-growing region until after the Civil War when it became cheaper to grow wheat in the west. The county turned to apple growing instead, becoming one of the leading apple producers in the country. By the turn of the century, there were 40 to 50 apple orchards operating in Jefferson County.

#localhistory #JeffersonCounty

#OnThisDay in 1859, US Marines, under the command of Colonel Robert E. Lee, storm the armory’s engine house in Harpers F...
10/18/2019

#OnThisDay in 1859, US Marines, under the command of Colonel Robert E. Lee, storm the armory’s engine house in Harpers Ferry and take John Brown and his men prisoner. They are transported to the Jefferson County Jail in Charles Town and quickly put on trial at the Jefferson County Courthouse. A jury finds them guilty of murder, treason, and inciting a slave insurrection—all capital crimes. John Brown was hanged in Charles Town on December 2, 1859. Fourteen days later, John Cook, John Copeland, Edwin Coppoc, and Shields Green were hanged.

#OnThisDay in 1859, militia volunteers and townspeople of Harpers Ferry surround John Brown and his men outside of the f...
10/17/2019

#OnThisDay in 1859, militia volunteers and townspeople of Harpers Ferry surround John Brown and his men outside of the federal armory preventing their escape. Brown’s group seeks refuge in the armory’s engine house—now known as John Brown’s Fort. They bring hostages along with them including the great grandnephew of George Washington, Lewis Washington. Dangerfield Newby, an enslaved man who fled from slavery and accompanied Brown on the raid, was the first of Brown’s men to be killed earlier that morning. The conclusion to the raid tomorrow…

#OnThisDay in 1859, after months of planning, abolitionist John Brown leads a group of 21 men, including five African Am...
10/16/2019

#OnThisDay in 1859, after months of planning, abolitionist John Brown leads a group of 21 men, including five African Americans (four free men of color and one enslaved man who had fled from slavery), to the federal armory in Harpers Ferry intending to incite a slave rebellion. Brown captures the armory and plans to distribute weapons and ammunition to slaves in the area before continuing south. Find out what happens on day two of the raid tomorrow…

“For far too long, the five African Americans have been overlooked, overshadowed by their martyred commander, treated as...
10/15/2019
Five black men raided Harpers Ferry with John Brown. They’ve been forgotten.

“For far too long, the five African Americans have been overlooked, overshadowed by their martyred commander, treated as footnotes, if at all, in the John Brown saga.”

An important read about the five black men—John Anthony Copeland Jr., Lewis Sheridan Leary, Dangerfield Newby, Shields Green, and Osborne Perry Anderson—who joined John Brown on the 1859 raid on Harpers Ferry.

To abolitionists, Brown was a hero; his African American soldiers are rarely acknowledged.

Let’s enjoy the nice weather and #flashbackfriday to a group of girls playing basketball at St. Hilda’s Hall. St. Hilda’...
10/11/2019

Let’s enjoy the nice weather and #flashbackfriday to a group of girls playing basketball at St. Hilda’s Hall.

St. Hilda’s Hall was a school for girls opened by the auspices of the Episcopal Diocese in 1915. The building formerly housed the Powhatan College for Young Women (between 1900 to 1913) and Hotel Powhatan (between 1891 to 1900). St. Hilda’s closed in 1931 and the building burned to the ground in 1937.

#localhistory #JeffersonCounty

With the death of Jeral Milton, the museum has lost a good friend. Jeral was a faithful volunteer, a generous financial ...
10/09/2019

With the death of Jeral Milton, the museum has lost a good friend. Jeral was a faithful volunteer, a generous financial supporter, and a donor of many valuable family papers and artifacts. We will miss her.

Today’s #HistoricalSpotlight is on the Jefferson Cooperage Company building, 1903. The plant was located in Ranson bound...
10/08/2019

Today’s #HistoricalSpotlight is on the Jefferson Cooperage Company building, 1903. The plant was located in Ranson bounded by 10th and 12th Avenues and the N & W Railroad and Border Street. E. E. Furr managed the shop.

In the cooperage, a cooper would make barrels or casks that were used to store liquids, food, or other goods.

#localhistory #JeffersonCounty

Have you visited our Museum Shop? Located next to the museum, the shop sells unique works by Jefferson County artists an...
10/04/2019

Have you visited our Museum Shop? Located next to the museum, the shop sells unique works by Jefferson County artists and authors including fanciful folk art, ceramic tableware, polymer clay, basketry, Sycamore pottery, jewelry, woodwork, and nonfiction and fiction books. Open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 am to 4 pm.

It's time for the #MysteryObject of the week! What was this small, wooden object used for?
10/02/2019

It's time for the #MysteryObject of the week! What was this small, wooden object used for?

Our #objectoftheday is a papier mache sewing cabinet that was given to Sallie Brown by officers of the Richmond Grays in...
09/27/2019

Our #objectoftheday is a papier mache sewing cabinet that was given to Sallie Brown by officers of the Richmond Grays in 1860.

The Richmond Grays were a Virginia state militia unit sent to Charles Town after abolitionist John Brown's sentencing and for his execution in response to the heightened need for security. While the soldiers were camped in town, many received warm welcomes in private homes. Several townspeople received gifts—like this sewing cabinet—from the Richmond Grays, as thanks for their hospitality.

#localhistory #JeffersonCounty #JohnBrown

Have you stopped by to see our new exhibit featuring colonial and early antebellum relics? Artifacts include rare coins,...
09/24/2019

Have you stopped by to see our new exhibit featuring colonial and early antebellum relics? Artifacts include rare coins, buttons, and buckles dating from ca. 1730s to the early 1800s. The exhibit will only be open until mid-December, so stop by before it closes! The museum is open Tuesday to Saturday, 11 am to 4 pm.

#FlashbackFriday to a parade on Washington Street in Charles Town, c. 1910. #localhistory #JeffersonCounty #historicalsp...
09/20/2019

#FlashbackFriday to a parade on Washington Street in Charles Town, c. 1910.

#localhistory #JeffersonCounty #historicalspotlight

This Saturday is Smithsonian Magazine's Museum Day! Click on the link below to get FREE tickets to visit the Jefferson C...
09/19/2019
Visit A Participating Museum For Free on 9/21/19

This Saturday is Smithsonian Magazine's Museum Day! Click on the link below to get FREE tickets to visit the Jefferson County Museum. In celebration of this year's theme, the "Year of Music," we will have a working record player for visitors to use and listen to!

Join us for Museum Day on Saturday, September 21, 2019.

#DYK that the Jefferson County Historical Society has a new research room located in the second-floor east wing of Happy...
09/17/2019

#DYK that the Jefferson County Historical Society has a new research room located in the second-floor east wing of Happy Retreat? The Kennamond-Turner Research Room and Library is fully operational for those interested in conducting genealogical and other forms of historical research on Jefferson County. Arrangements to do research may be made on an appointment basis, by sending a request to the Society’s email address: [email protected] (subject line should read "Kennamond/Turner Research Room Appointment Request) or by calling Donald Watts at 304-676-7034.

Today’s #historicalspotlight shows James H. Lockhart at the dedication of Veteran’s Park in Charles Town on May 30, 1951...
09/14/2019

Today’s #historicalspotlight shows James H. Lockhart at the dedication of Veteran’s Park in Charles Town on May 30, 1951. His recording equipment, including a folding Kodak 4x5 speed graphic sports camera, can be seen on the table beside him.

#localhistory #JeffersonCounty

It’s officially football season! Our #objectoftheday is a blue, wool letter-sweater worn by Archie B. Smith. Smith playe...
09/10/2019

It’s officially football season! Our #objectoftheday is a blue, wool letter-sweater worn by Archie B. Smith. Smith played on the baseball, football, and basketball teams at Charles Town High School from 1946 to 1950.

#localhistory #JeffersonCounty

Can you identify today’s #MysteryObject dated circa 1850s?
09/04/2019

Can you identify today’s #MysteryObject dated circa 1850s?

Are you attending the Charles Town Car Show tomorrow? Be sure to stop by the museum after! We may not have vintage cars ...
08/30/2019

Are you attending the Charles Town Car Show tomorrow? Be sure to stop by the museum after! We may not have vintage cars on display, but we do have the wagon that transported abolitionist John Brown to his hanging site in 1859. We’ll be open from 11 am to 4 pm!

Let’s #ThrowbackThursday to six people at the prescription counter at Nichols & Stuck Drug Store in 1946. Want to learn ...
08/29/2019

Let’s #ThrowbackThursday to six people at the prescription counter at Nichols & Stuck Drug Store in 1946.

Want to learn more about Nichols & Stuck Drug Store? Stop by the museum to view our exhibit “Business in Jefferson County, 1900 to 1950.” We’re open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 am to 4 pm!

Our #objectoftheday is a paper and bamboo fan that was owned by Margaret Chew, daughter of Roger Preston Chew, commander...
08/27/2019

Our #objectoftheday is a paper and bamboo fan that was owned by Margaret Chew, daughter of Roger Preston Chew, commander of Chew's Battery, Stuart Horse Artillery, in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. Margaret decorated the fan with Civil War memorabilia from her tours with her father.

#localhistory #JeffersonCounty #CivilWar

Stop the presses! These photos #fromourcollection show workers printing an edition of the Jefferson Republican Press in ...
08/24/2019

Stop the presses! These photos #fromourcollection show workers printing an edition of the Jefferson Republican Press in May 1945.

#localhistory #JeffersonCounty #historicalphotospotlight

The Jefferson County Museum is excited to be participating in Smithsonian Magazine’s Museum Day once again this year! Cl...
08/21/2019
Smithsonian Magazine's Museum Day

The Jefferson County Museum is excited to be participating in Smithsonian Magazine’s Museum Day once again this year! Click on the link below to download a pair of tickets to receive FREE admission to the Jefferson County Museum on Saturday, September 21!

TICKETS AVAILABLE NOW! Free admission to participating museums across the country on Saturday, September 21, 2019 for Smithsonian Magazine's #MuseumDay
(Museums, there is still time to register. Email [email protected] with questions.) https://www.smithsonianmag.com/museumday/search/?q=

We hope everyone in Jefferson County has a great first week back at school! Don’t forget to bring your textbooks—like th...
08/20/2019

We hope everyone in Jefferson County has a great first week back at school!

Don’t forget to bring your textbooks—like this one! This page is from a 19th century school book and shows a farmer using horse-drawn machinery. Can you “write a description of the picture before you?”

08/16/2019

The Jefferson County African-American Cultural and Heritage Festival starts tonight and continues through Sunday in Charles Town and Harpers Ferry!

Stop by the museum’s booth tomorrow during the vendor fair! We’ll have children’s activities, including a typewriter and mock archaeological dig!

Our #objectoftheday is a Tiffany fan with mother of pearl handle that was owned by Harriet Lane Johnston, First Lady of ...
08/14/2019

Our #objectoftheday is a Tiffany fan with mother of pearl handle that was owned by Harriet Lane Johnston, First Lady of the United States during the presidency of her uncle James Buchanan.

Harriet Lane was born in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. Orphaned at the age of 10, she became the ward of her uncle, James Buchanan. With Buchanan’s election to the presidency in 1857, Harriet Lane became the official White House hostess, the first to be called First Lady. She used her influence to promote the arts, foster public service, and advocate on behalf of American Indians.

Starting next Tuesday the museum will have a new exhibit on display featuring 20th century toys from a Shepherdstown nat...
08/10/2019

Starting next Tuesday the museum will have a new exhibit on display featuring 20th century toys from a Shepherdstown native. Items include wooden doll furniture, porcelain dolls, doll clothing, and a teddy bear. Stop by Tuesday to Saturday, 11 and 4 to see the new exhibit!

#ThrowbackThursday to Alfred E. Baylor, Sr., and an unidentified Harpers Ferry Job Corpsman doing stone work at Bloody L...
08/08/2019

#ThrowbackThursday to Alfred E. Baylor, Sr., and an unidentified Harpers Ferry Job Corpsman doing stone work at Bloody Lane interpretive stop at Antietam Battlefield, summer 1967. Baylor was in a construction business with his father, Eugene E. Baylor, and brother, Charles Baylor, as E. E. Baylor & Sons.

It’s time for the #MysteryObject of the week! Who knows what this object was used for?
08/06/2019

It’s time for the #MysteryObject of the week! Who knows what this object was used for?

Address

200 E Washington St
Charles Town, WV
25414

General information

Open Tues through Sat 11am to 4pm Regular admission: Adults - $4 Children (under 18) - Free Students (with ID) - Free Members of the Charles Town Library - Free

Opening Hours

Tuesday 11:00 - 16:00
Wednesday 11:00 - 16:00
Thursday 11:00 - 16:00
Friday 11:00 - 16:00
Saturday 11:00 - 16:00

Telephone

(304) 725-8628

Alerts

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Category

Nearby museums