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Southwest Virginia Museum, Big Stone Gap

(25+ reviews on the web)
Historic Site
The museum is housed in a mansion built in the 1880s by Rufus Ayers, a Virginia attorney general. The museum was bequeathed to the commonwealth in 1946 by C. Bascom Slemp, private secretary to President Calvin Coolidge and a member of the U. S. Congress. The museum was officially dedicated by the state in 1948. It features a collection comprised of more than 20,000 pieces, about one third of which is on display at any given time. The museum chronicles the exploration and development of the region during the 1890s coal boom, as well as the pioneer period. It offers activities for kids, scout and school programs, workshops, an annual Festival of Trees program, a quilt show, a music festival and outdoor exhibits. The museum sells archival supplies and offers the opportunity to have pictures of collection pieces copied, as well as copies of reference files. A gift shop at the museum features Victorian-era and pioneer items, local crafts, a large selection of books and Virginia State Parks itmes. The Victorian Parlor there is available for rent for business and social occasions.
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  • When I visited SouthWest Virginia Museum there were groups from local businesses, schools, churches, etc. who were decorating each room with Christmas Trees. It was such a treat to see in addition to ...  more »
  • Located in a beautiful home, relevant to the history of the area, life in the history of Southwest Virginia was beautifully displayed. Unique artifacts and lots of historical films and well-described ...  more »
  • Much to see and something for everyone. Captures the history of the region and it's people. Staff was friendly and helpful. We spent three and a half hours and never tired. Also has some unique items ...  more »
  • Loved the time I spent in Big Stone. Wife and I went to the museum a few times. Especially for the Christmas Tree Festival.
  • Anything that has to do with history is exciting and wonderful everyone should check this out it's great
  • Great family fun, awesome gift shop, something for everyone!