Trip Planner:   USA  /  Virginia  /  Big Stone Gap  /  Historic Sites  /  Southwest Virginia Museum

Southwest Virginia Museum, Big Stone Gap

#114 of 147 in Historic Sites in Virginia
Historic Site Educational 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.
Southwest Virginia Museum is just one of the many highlights you can arrange to see using our world travel planner, Big Stone Gap Edition.
Create an itinerary including Southwest Virginia Museum

Plan your trip to Big Stone Gap

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Where to stay in Big Stone Gap

Browse hundreds of hotels and read guest reviews on the world's leading online travel agency website.
Millions of travel reviews
on TripAdvisor
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
29 reviews
  • We did enjoy our visit here.Interesting bits of the area's history and stories.Nice and cool place to visit on a hot day ! Great price. Has a neat shop as well.  more »
  • This is a wonderful place to visit .... Great history ... At Christmas it is beautifully decorated... You should check it out when you're in BSG  more »
  • 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 »
  • Beautiful building & grounds. It was closed when we got there, but would go back. Worth walking the block around to see other beautiful homes.
  • There isn't really much but it is good for local history
  • Loved the time I spent in Big Stone. Wife and I went to the museum a few times. Especially for the Christmas Tree Festival.
  • Beautiful, interesting and very nice staff
  • Anything that has to do with history is exciting and wonderful everyone should check this out it's great