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. Click here to download a PDF document (360k) that further describes the museum. Hours of operation: Tuesday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Fri, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m.-5 p.m. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, the museum is also open on Mondays from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. It is closed during January and February and on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

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