Middlesex County Museum and Historical Society is a small, local history museum focusing on the stories of people who lived, and the events that occurred, right here in our county. Founded in 1935, our collection is diverse including natural history objects, a 1930s General Store, an impressive historical textile collection and a history of education. Civil Rights pioneer Irene Morgan’s story is part of our African American section. Our veteran’s section is proud to house items belonging to our most famous resident, Marine Corps Lt. General Lewis “Chesty” Burwell Puller as well as WWII pilots George Taylor (a Tuskegee Airmen) and Billy Marchant (8th Air Force).
Middlesex is one of the few Virginia Counties that did not send its records to Richmond during the Civil War. As a result, we have over 350 years of official documents that illustrate life in the early struggling colony of Virginia to its emergence as a state. A special exhibition just opened in the Historic Clerk’s Office built around our county clerk P. T. Woodward and his heroic act that saved our records. Months were spent reading and pouring over our chancery records, wills, deeds, plats and maps to design the exhibit.
We have been working hard to make our collection more accessible to the community, especially children, and our visitor numbers are almost double from 2013. On the floor of the museum, we have created games and even a scavenger hunt that makes learning about history fun. We have developed educational materials for the schools and have recently been awarded a grant by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities to create materials for our Clerk’s office exhibit that meet SOL requirements. Dressed in historic costumes, we attended Wing, Wheels and Keels, the Deltaville Seafood and Arts Festival, and the Urbanna Oyster Festival this past year. Our two fundraisers, An Evening with Mr. Madison and the Holmes Brothers concert, were both big hits.
In 2014, we seek to develop our educational programming more extensively by partnering with Middlesex Public Schools and Middlesex County Library to install display cases that house rotating exhibits. We would like to develop four traveling kits to be utilized in the classroom or for community events. The museum will focus on capturing oral histories of some of our older county residents as well as completing the renovation/upgrades to our annex building so it can be utilized for visitors and more extensive displays, especially for our fossil and colonial history sections.
As a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, we rely heavily on our donor’s tax-deductible contributions. $1,000 will purchase a new display or an educational traveling kit, $500 exhibit graphics, $250 a video recording camera and $100 will provide 5 hours of research time. The museum has published a profile on GiveRichmond.org as part of GuideStar to make our organization as transparent as possible. We are a member of the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) and the Virginia Association of Museums (VAM). Please visit our website and our YouTube.com video library to learn more about our organization.
Your generous check will allow the museum to continue its work: developing and creating engaging displays and materials for our visitors, young and old. Please help us make this dream a reality.
Marilyn South, President
Holly Horton, Executive Director