Making its home in the ca. 1816 Town Hall and Market House, the Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center reveals Fredericksburg's early history as a wealthy port city on the Rappahannock River and later as a battle ground for both the Civil War and Civil Rights. During the Civil War Fredericksburg was nearly leveled by Union cannonade and was subsequently looted and ransacked by the Union troops. Yet, the iconic spires and cupolas of Fredericksburg's skyline remain unchanged since the Civil War when both President Lincoln of the United States and President Davis of the Confederate States of America visited the city.

Fredericksburg Area Museum Civil War and Games Exhibits

The Fredericksburg Area Museum features three floors of exhibits including one on vintage games and recreational artifacts and another on the Civil War.

One hundred years later another battle was fought in Fredericksburg for the civil rights of African Americans and to end racial segregation during the Jim Crow era. Artifacts at the museum document lunch counter sit-ins held by African American students that eventually forced integration at W.T. Grant and Woolworth stores.

Fredericksburg Area Museum Jim Crow Lunch Counter Protest

Artifacts at the Fredericksburg Area Museum document the era of Jim Crow and students' lunch counter protests. On the left is a sign from a segregated bus and the door of a segregated rest room.

Current exhibits at the Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center include The Peoples' Street: Princess Anne featuring the PNC Legacy Collection that includes early 20th century banking industry artifacts. There is also a recreated dwelling of Fredericksburg's first settlers, the Manahoac Indians, and exhibits depicting the importance of the Rappahannock River to Fredericksburg's development as a wealthy port town. The Johnson Gun Collection displays vintage rifles, and artifacts document the Civil War in Fredericksburg.

Fredericksburg Area Museum Rappahannock River Power Exhibit

The mighty fall line of the Rappahannock River powered industry and the mills of Fredericksburg.

The Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center is located in the 40-block downtown historic district that boasts more than three hundred colonial and antebellum homes and buildings. The museum is convenient to shopping and dining as well as wealth of other historic sites including the Fredericksburg Battlefield and George Washington Historic Sites.

Fredericksburg Area Museum Johnson Gun Collection

The Johnson Gun Collection features vintage rifles and muskets.

Pictured at the very top: The Fredericksburg Area Museum PNC Legacy Collection features beautiful and gloriously low-tech early 20th century banking industry machines and artifacts.

Historical Photo

spires of fredericksburg

[Fredericksburg, Va. View of town from east bank of the Rappahannock]  Timothy H. O'Sullivan, 1860  (Library of Congress)