The collection of the Fredericksburg Area Museum consists of objects significant to Fredericksburg and the surrounding area. It reflects the culture, history, and lifestyles of the region’s past and present inhabitants. Objects reflect the finest workmanship and design; are the best examples of their representative type; contribute to a better understanding of the region’s history; and contribute in some important way to the visual story of the development of the region’s arts and culture. The Museum received its first donation to the collection in 1986. Since that time, the collection has grown to include over 8,000 individual objects and artifacts drawn from all aspects of the Fredericksburg region’s history. Objects in the collection include books, furniture, silver, documents, maps, photographs, textiles, glass, stoneware, objects of historical use in industry and agriculture, weapons, and Native American artifacts. The largest single gift to the Museum, and the donation that formed the core of the collection, was made in 1990 by the Historic Fredericksburg Foundation.
Current exhibitions include:
- Collection Storage (permanent): First floor of historic Town Hall has been revitalized and recreated into an open storage space. This type of collection storage allows visitors the opportunity to see into the ‘heart’ of the Museum. In addition, objects on view from the collection will rotate on a regular basis allowing visitors to multiple objects. We will integrate our new open storage with exhibits and integrate those exhibits with dynamic programming that will not just portray the past, but use the past to engage visitors and the community in ongoing conversations that speak to the present.
- Pleasure’s Past (November 2016 – April 2017): Often entertainment and recreational accounts are overlooked and underappreciated because of the influence that our region had during times of war. Our collection includes many objects that represent the life and leisure of Fredericksburgers. This exhibit takes a peek at some of the few and only remaining objects from Southworth’s Pleasure Island (Scott’s Island), Fredericksburg sports memorabilia, and objects related to the area’s music and theatre industry.
- A River Runs (permanent): This ‘semi-permanent’ exhibit will explore the importance of the Rappahannock River to the development of the region. The Rappahannock River has shaped the history of our community. People settled on its banks, traveled and traded on its waters, and harnessed its power to run machines. The river sustained native peoples and later fueled the growth of a colonial port town. It beset armies and threatened a city with its raging waters. Today, it is both playground and water supply. The Rappahannock has been, and continues to be, an intimate part of our lives, connecting us to one another, to our history, and to our region’s communities. In addition, educational programs will allow students to interact with the exhibit and learn the importance of conservation.
- Fredericksburg Portrayed (November 2016 – April 2017): Located in the Quarles Gallery and curated by Dr. Preston Thayer of the Fredericksburg Arts Commission.
- Town Hall Bicentennial Exhibit (November 2016 – March 2017)
- The People’s Street: Princess Anne (November 2016 – November 2017)– Built 1820, the building at 800 Princess Anne Street served continuously as a bank until 2014. In those 194 years, just three different financial institutions occupied building. It was perhaps the longest continuous use of any building as a bank in Virginia. The final owners, PNC Bank, preserved and eventually donated an unmatched collection of artifacts and records that reflect the history of the building and the evolution of banking in Fredericksburg over more than 150 years. This exhibit is built around those artifacts.