Loudoun Museum

Loudoun Museum A museum dedicated to preserving and sharing the long history of Loudoun County With a collection of over 8,000 artifacts, we have something for everybody.
(22)

In our Discovery Room, kids can dress up in period costume, play in our 19th century period kitchen, and learn by doing. For the military buff, we have artifacts on display from arrow heads to WWII memorabilia, and plenty to learn about Loudoun’s role in the Civil War. We have antique clothing, furniture, and more. Right in the backyard of Washington, D.C., our history is the Nation’s history, but our county is one of a kind. Come by and find out for yourself.

Operating as usual

Loudoun Museum’s collection is ready for a close up! LM staff and volunteers photograph artifacts as part of a regular i...
02/12/2021

Loudoun Museum’s collection is ready for a close up! LM staff and volunteers photograph artifacts as part of a regular inventory of our 8,000+ object collection.

02/12/2021
Historians on Tap

LIVE! Grab a drink and join the Historians on Tap as they tell tales of historic romance and heartbreak. Our special guest this week is interpreter and historian Katharine Pittman!

Join us for a special Valentine's Day edition of History on Tap with Katharine Pittman!

02/07/2021

A great snowy morning to walk around Balls Bluff Regional Park! Plenty of historic places to visit in Loudoun in any weather.

February is Black History Month and a reminder to highlight and promote black narratives in the history of our community...
02/03/2021
Black-Owned Businesses in Leesburg: A Brief History

February is Black History Month and a reminder to highlight and promote black narratives in the history of our community. To learn more about black-owned businesses in historic Leesburg such as the "Do Drop Inn," a popular restaurant and social club that shared the same building as the Loudoun Museum, check out our blog post from last June.

https://www.loudounmuseum.org/post/black-owned-businesses-in-leesburg-a-brief-history

Post-emancipation, African Americans in the United States gained access to more opportunities and utilized their skill sets to create their own spaces in a generally unaccommodating society. In Leesburg, we can see the physical manifestations of these efforts in churches, schools, fraternal lodges,....

01/29/2021
The Tattooed Historian

LIVE! Watch Loudoun Museum Executive Director Dr. Rizzo join a panel of historians in a discussion about Civil War soldiers camping and campaigning in the harsh conditions of winter.

The winter months fell hard on Union and Confederate soldiers. Separated from families and packed into tight winter quarters, troops had hours and hours to while away thinking of home and performing the monotonous duties of the garrison.
Soldiers nonetheless navigated these trials with ingenuity and adaptiveness.

This panel discussion will explore the seldom-discussed experiences of
soldiers during the winter months featuring, in particular, soldier fraternization while on picket post, the material culture of winter quarters, tensions between the front lines and the home front, and campaigning camping in the cold.

I will be joined by the following list of talented historians for this awesome event:

Dr. James J. Broomall: Ray and Madeline Johnston Endowed Chair in American History and Director of the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War at Shepherd University.

Professor Jonathan Noyalas: Director of Shenandoah University’s McCormick Civil War Institute and editor of the Journal of the Shenandoah Valley During the Civil War Era.

Dr. Joseph Rizzo: Executive Director of the Loudoun Museum.

Dr. Lauren K. Thompson: Assistant Professor of History and Director of Ethnic and Gender Studies at McKendree University.

Looking good isn’t always easy. Today we removed damaged plaster in order to reveal some of the historic bricks! We then...
01/19/2021

Looking good isn’t always easy. Today we removed damaged plaster in order to reveal some of the historic bricks! We then treated the brick for mold and will begin to repair the damaged areas, but we are excited to show it off when it’s complete!

01/08/2021

🚨Exciting News!

The Museum will be starting renovations this month in order to get ready some upcoming exhibits. In order to be able to do these renovations, the Museum will be closed for the next several weeks. We are aiming to re-open to the public in February when the construction is done and our next exhibit is installed! Follow us here and on Instagram for updates on the changes in addition to some upcoming virtual programs.

Thank you to the McLean County Museum of History for facilitating the homecoming of this piece of Loudoun County history...
01/05/2021

Thank you to the McLean County Museum of History for facilitating the homecoming of this piece of Loudoun County history 192 years after its creation! This sampler will now be a part of our 8,000+ artifact collection, which includes a variety of textiles and sewing samplers.
According to museum records, Ann Tavenner from Hamilton, Virginia sewed this sampler under the instruction of Hester Boone Janney, a neighbor, in 1829. The building depicted may be a rendition of the 1812 stone house the Tavenners occupied before part of the family moved to Ohio, where the donor of this object lived before gifting it to the McLean collection in the 1980's.
Sewing samplers were popular in the 18th and 19th centuries to teach girls basic needlework skills. They typically depict alphabets, numbers, and floral patterns and many included the name of the creator as well as dates, locations, and instructors names. These qualities make them unique and significant objects that provide a glimpse into the lives of young women in early America.

Phase 2 of our pandemic virtual exhibit is now available to view! We now have two virtual exhibits for the project - one...
12/29/2020
Collecting COVID Memories

Phase 2 of our pandemic virtual exhibit is now available to view! We now have two virtual exhibits for the project - one that documents, collects, and shares the experiences of Loudoun residents during the COVID pandemic, and another that gives some history of past pandemics. Both are viewable with the link below.

Documenting Historic Times Today

12/19/2020
Historians on Tap

LIVE Christmas on Tap: Holiday Spectacular! Grab a drink and join the Historians on Tap and some very special guests for festive tales of local history!

Join us for true tales of holidays past with some of our favorite guests of 2020!

Looking for some last minute gifts? Consider a Loudoun Museum 2021 membership! Stop into the Museum for a membership and...
12/18/2020

Looking for some last minute gifts? Consider a Loudoun Museum 2021 membership! Stop into the Museum for a membership and you’ll receive this commemorative stemless wine glass for our “vintage Pursuits” exhibit. New members will also receive our book The Lure of Loudoun. We are open 10-4 all weekend!

www.loudounmuseum.org/donate

The pandemic has brought about many hardships, but it is also historic. In the spring, the Loudoun Museum started to doc...
12/15/2020
Collecting COVID Memories

The pandemic has brought about many hardships, but it is also historic. In the spring, the Loudoun Museum started to document and preserve your quarantine stories. These experiences—as digital documents, photographs, or physical objects—are evidence of our community’s resilience and creativity during tough times.

We not only want to collect your stories but also make them accessible. The first phase of "Collecting COVID Memories" is now available to see. We are still collecting stories, so we hope you will contribute! Thank you to the Loudoun County Government Office of Mapping and Geographic Information for the support in developing this site.

Documenting Historic Times Today

The  Smithsonian exhibit “Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence” is now up at the back of our log cabin! Stop by ne...
12/07/2020

The Smithsonian exhibit “Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence” is now up at the back of our log cabin! Stop by next time you’re in downtown Leesburg to read about the long fight for women’s suffrage, which was achieved 100 years ago.

We are thrilled to have offered more virtual and in-person programs in 2020 than any other year! But the year is not ove...
12/01/2020

We are thrilled to have offered more virtual and in-person programs in 2020 than any other year! But the year is not over and we have some exciting news. This month we will be launching our virtual exhibit showcasing the experiences of Loudoun residents during the COVID pandemic. We will also be completing an outside exhibit on women's suffrage written by the Smithsonian that will be available to read 24/7! The programs and exhibits would not be possible without you. On this #GivingTuesday day of charitable giving, we ask for your support to continue to offer free programs and admission to the Museum.

https://www.loudounmuseum.org/donate

208 years later, and we are still the best deal in town! This is a clipping from a November 1812 issue of the Alexandria...
11/19/2020

208 years later, and we are still the best deal in town! This is a clipping from a November 1812 issue of the Alexandria Gazette, advertising their local museum, which charged 25 cents for "grown persons" and 12.5 cents for children. Whether you're a grown person or not, your admission is free at the Loudoun Museum! We are open 10-4 Friday-Sunday.

Grab some coffee and listen to local historian Bronwen Souders talk about some of Waterford's history and her new histor...
11/14/2020
Pour Over History: Bronwen Souders

Grab some coffee and listen to local historian Bronwen Souders talk about some of Waterford's history and her new historical fiction book, The Thinkin' Rug. Proceeds of the book are going to the Waterford Foundation Inc. and the Black History Committee at the Thomas Balch Library. You can find the book for sale on the Waterford Foundations' website!

Executive Director Dr. Joe Rizzo interviews local historian Bronwen Souders about African American life in the town of Waterford and her book "The Thinkin' R...

Tomorrow morning we will post the next interview for our Pour Over History series! Our director interviewed local histor...
11/13/2020

Tomorrow morning we will post the next interview for our Pour Over History series! Our director interviewed local historian Bronwen Souders about her new historical fiction book, The Thinkin’ Rug, which is a story about an African American family from Waterford. Grab some coffee and watch along.

Why is Veterans Day on November 11? It has its origins with an armistice between the Allied powers and Germany during WW...
11/11/2020

Why is Veterans Day on November 11? It has its origins with an armistice between the Allied powers and Germany during WWI. The cessation of fighting went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. The vicious fighting during the Great War was viewed as “the war to end all wars.” America began to commemorate “Armistice Day” the following year, and it became a legal holiday in 1938. After WWII and the Korean War, congress amended that Act and changed it to Veterans Day in 1954 to honor all U.S. veterans.

Edward Gibbons is one of the many Loudoun veterans, and can be seen posing in the image below in his WWI uniform. The second photo shows he was promoted to Sergeant in December 1918. He was honorably discharged a few months later. The third photo is an image of of military equipment moving through Loudoun. While the U.S. was only in the war for a short time, the country’s rapid mobilization helped the Allied Powers secure victory.

Happy Halloween! If you're looking for some unusual stories to watch tonight, check out our History on Tap program about...
10/31/2020
History on Tap: Spirits and Seances

Happy Halloween! If you're looking for some unusual stories to watch tonight, check out our History on Tap program about 19th century spirits and seances from earlier this year.

Join our historians from Loudoun Museum and The Virginia Piedmont Heritage Area Association as they discuss the rise of Spiritualism in the 19th century. Thi...

Thank you to everyone who joined us last night to support the Museum and hear some local history!
10/23/2020

Thank you to everyone who joined us last night to support the Museum and hear some local history!

Couldn’t have asked for a better Virginia fall evening for History on Tap! Thank you to Selma Mansion Rebirth for graciously hosting us to support the Loudoun Museum and The Virginia Piedmont Heritage Area Association. Also thank you to Old Ox Brewery for supplying us with their most recent beer release, Motor Goat Bock Lager.

10/16/2020

We are closed to the public today (10/16) and tomorrow (10/17) to get ready for our Hauntings tours this weekend. We will see you when we reopen on Sunday! 🎃

It’s a beautiful sunny Friday in Leesburg! Which of these historic sunglasses from Loudoun Museum’s collection would you...
10/02/2020

It’s a beautiful sunny Friday in Leesburg! Which of these historic sunglasses from Loudoun Museum’s collection would you wear out this weekend?

Are you registered to vote?100 years ago, the 19th Amendment enfranchised American women with their right to vote, in ti...
09/25/2020

Are you registered to vote?
100 years ago, the 19th Amendment enfranchised American women with their right to vote, in time for the 1920 Presidential election.
Periodicals such as the Woman Citizen, including this issue from the Loudoun Museum’s permanent collection, were important tools of suffragette organizations to mobilize and inform on a national level.
The Woman Citizen was the official organ of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). Founded in 1917 at the bequest of Mrs. Frank Leslie, a prominent feminist activist, the Woman Citizen merged multiple suffragette publications and was written, edited, and managed by women. It was issued weekly, then biweekly, and eventually monthly until 1927.
A complementary subscription was reportedly sent to every American congressman. #womenshistoryisamericanhistory #vote #19thamendment #loudouncounty #museum #history #registertovote #loveloudoun

We’ve teamed up with our friends at Heritage Farm Museum for a Junior Curator program to give hands-on experience with h...
09/16/2020

We’ve teamed up with our friends at Heritage Farm Museum for a Junior Curator program to give hands-on experience with historical objects! Only a few more days left to sign up.

Our Hauntings tours are back for 2020! Tours will be offered on October 16-17.  Space is limited, so follow the link to ...
09/09/2020
Hauntings | Loudoun Museum

Our Hauntings tours are back for 2020! Tours will be offered on October 16-17. Space is limited, so follow the link to the tickets page to reserve your spot!

Then & Then & NowThe three-story building that stood on the northeast corner of Loudoun and King Street from 1888-1955 s...
09/05/2020

Then & Then & Now

The three-story building that stood on the northeast corner of Loudoun and King Street from 1888-1955 served many functions. The first floor housed Leesburg Town Hall for some time before becoming storefronts for multiple businesses, and in the rear of the building was the local Fire Department including a tower for their alarm bell.

On the second and third floor of the building was the Leesburg Opera House. This was a slight misnomer as many historic accounts provide no evidence of an actual opera being performed there. The Opera House was utilized for a number of community functions including: a grand ball in September of 1895; two 1894 appearances by Maria Isabella “Belle” Boyd, a Confederate spy during the Civil War; and a 1904 birthday celebration General Robert E. Lee that included such interesting menu items as “Roast Saddle of Mutton a la Col. White” and “Confederate Ice Cream.” One of the primary functions of the Opera House was showing films, especially during the silent film era, but the venue also showed newsreels during the First World War. The theater space seated 450 on folding wooden chairs and was lit by kerosene oil lamps.

In 1955, Leesburg Town Council sold the building which was demolished and replaced with a new structure that became White’s Department Store. Known also as Myers and White by some accounts, the store was divided into multiple parts. Half of the store on the ground floor was “The Hub” menswear department and the other half was the lady’s and children’s department. The downstairs area included shoes, fabrics, and dry goods.

The building where the department store stood has had many lives since. Today, what was once “The Hub” is now the retail store, Brick and Mortar, and the lady’s department is now the restaurant Señor Ramon’s.

What do you remember about this corner of Leesburg? Share your memories in the comments!

The museum and log cabin got a facelift today with some beautiful new signs! Come see for yourself and check out our exh...
09/01/2020

The museum and log cabin got a facelift today with some beautiful new signs! Come see for yourself and check out our exhibits this weekend!
Loudoun Museum is open Friday-Sunday, 10AM-4PM.

It was a beautiful evening for History on Tap at Oatlands Historic House and Gardens on Thursday! Thank you to everyone ...
08/29/2020

It was a beautiful evening for History on Tap at Oatlands Historic House and Gardens on Thursday! Thank you to everyone who joined. Stay tuned for news on upcoming History in Tap programs!

Friday Fun Fact!These fans and feathers, part of Loudoun Museum’s collection, were the height of fashion in the 19th and...
08/21/2020

Friday Fun Fact!

These fans and feathers, part of Loudoun Museum’s collection, were the height of fashion in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Ostrich feathers had been used in funerals and military uniforms before Parisian fashion made them desirable accessories in the 19th century.

Used in fans, dresses, boas, and hats, ostrich feathers were a status symbol due to their rarity. Early in their popularity, feathers were harvested by hunting wild birds in southern parts of Africa and transporting them to markets in Europe.

By 1912, ostrich feathers were so valuable, the only other product worth more by weight was diamonds. Because of the potential for profit, sheep farmers and others began attempts at domesticating ostriches, beginning in South Africa but eventually spreading to parts of the United States such as California, Arizona, Texas, and Florida. Harvesting feathers from domesticated birds could be done twice a year without slaughter, and so the market became flooded with ostrich plumes. The increase in supply lowered the value and therefore status attributed with this fashion, but they remained popular into the 1920’s.

Some historians attribute the decline in the popularity of feathers in the early 20th century to the onset of World War I, changes in fashion trends, and the introduction of the automobile which discouraged women from wearing large flamboyant hats. Another contributing factor was an increased interest in wildlife conservation sparked by groups such as the Audubon Society which championed legislation during this time such as the Lacey Act (1900) and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (1918).

08/20/2020

Dr. Karina Esposito joined our director for the latest Pour Over History interview discussing Confederate emigration to Brazil after the Civil War. Grab some coffee and watch along!

Stay tuned for our latest Pour Over History interview! Director Dr. Joe Rizzo spoke this week with special guest Dr. Kar...
08/19/2020

Stay tuned for our latest Pour Over History interview! Director Dr. Joe Rizzo spoke this week with special guest Dr. Karina Esposito about Confederate emigration to Brazil after the Civil War.

The full video will be posted on our Facebook and Youtube pages tomorrow, August 20th, at 10:00 AM. Grab a coffee and join us!

Looking for some history to watch during your lunch break? Subscribe to our YouTube page and get caught up on past Histo...
08/18/2020
Loudoun Museum

Looking for some history to watch during your lunch break? Subscribe to our YouTube page and get caught up on past History on Tap episodes and Pour Over History interviews!

As we strive to fulfill our role as the official repository for Loudoun’s history, our mission is to navigate Loudoun County's evolving future, conserve Loud...

At the beginning of Virginia's COVID-19 quarantine in March, our blog highlighted the story of Laura Stanton, an Ashburn...
08/14/2020

At the beginning of Virginia's COVID-19 quarantine in March, our blog highlighted the story of Laura Stanton, an Ashburn resident who was isolated at the infirmary at Vassar College in 1901 after she was potentially exposed to smallpox. Her story is told through her correspondence with her family, written in letters and preserved as part of the Loudoun Museum's collection.

The last reported case of smallpox in the United States was in 1949, and the World Health Organization announced its official eradication in 1980. However, before the refinement of variolation and eventually vaccination, smallpox was a dangerous and recurring problem. In the early 20th century, multiple outbreaks occurred across the country with varying responses.

New York City was the center of one of the biggest outbreaks during this period. The proximity of the outbreak helps explain why Vassar College was a pioneer in creating an on-campus infirmary for the isolation and treatment of ill and potentially exposed students. In the early 20th century, large infirmaries became relatively standard for residential campuses until medical advancements, namely antibiotics and vaccinations, made them less necessary.

Laura's letters to her mother give us an intimate perspective on quarantine, vaccination, and the pressures of being a college student amid unusual circumstances. Her good spirit and ability to joke about her "imprisonment" is inspiring in today's uncertainty.

Read the full transcription of one of her letters in this week’s blog.

https://www.loudounmuseum.org/post/transcribed-a-1901-quarantine-story-part-3

Address

16 Loudoun St SW
Leesburg, VA
20175

Alerts

Be the first to know and let us send you an email when Loudoun Museum posts news and promotions. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Contact The Museum

Send a message to Loudoun Museum:

Videos

Nearby museums


Other Community Museums in Leesburg

Show All