Visitors and residents of the southeastern area of Virginia will soon have a road map to lead them from Colonial Williamsburg and along a rural path that showcases nearly 40 historic sites and museums. Literally
The Tidewater Virginia Historical Society – formerly known as the Colonial Capital Branch of Preservation Virginia – is building a History Museum Trail that starts in Williamsburg and stretches throughout the Middle Peninsula and into the Northern Neck area. It links many of the museums and historic sites along Virginia’s byways, encouraging visitors and residents to experience more of the region’s rich history.
Physically the trail starts in Williamsburg. For the traveler, though, the trail starts in front of a computer or a smart phone at http://www.tv-hs.org.
The History Museum Trail will feature an interactive web based map that includes information about each museum and historic site located within a short drive of Williamsburg. This trail will include travel directions , and places to lodge and eat along the way.
The first version of the trail’s web map is expected to be available online this summer.
Each museum features unique collections with a local slant on their area’s traditional culture and heritage, as well as how it played into the overall growth of the state and country. Trail visitors will also be able to search and choose to visit museums that feature specific historical topics of interest, including Civil War, African American, maritime and 18th Century Anglican churches.
“The Tidewater Virginia Historical Society’s vision to create a museum trail in the Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck is an opportunity to showcase the region and contribute to local economies,” said Virginia Del. Keith Hodges. “Through sales, income and employment, the museum trail positions the area for unprecedented growth.”
The Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula are already destinations for many vacationers utilizing the region’s vast natural resources to boat and play along the Chesapeake Bay’s waters.
“We are very excited by this new opportunity for the museum to expand our base of visitors,” said Middlesex County Museum and Historical Society Board President Marilyn South.
The Middlesex County Museum & Historical Society is located in Saluda, on the Middle Peninsula, and is one of the stops along the trail. This small museum covers more than 400 years of local history, with expanded exhibits featuring fossils and Indian artifacts, 19th Century textiles and clothing, a 1930s country store, agricultural and industrial tools, historical money, toys and medical instruments. The Middlesex museum also contains tales of its most famous local resident, Lt. Gen. "Chesty" Puller, the most decorated Marine in U.S. Marine Corps history.
“It is only natural that we highlight the many historical gems that lie waiting to be uncovered,” Hodges said. “The economic growth, both direct and indirect will greatly impact our region with very little capital outlay. The vision of these of these dedicated volunteers will create a natural road map to enable visitors to navigate our beautiful and historic peninsulas."
In addition to the History Museum Trail, the Tidewater Virginia Historical Society is planning a public archaeology project, where the community will be invited to dig with the archaeologists. Thanks to a partnership with the Fairfield Foundation on the Middle Peninsula and York County, a new archaeological dig will kick off to explore a former Carter’s Grove slave quarter in New Quarter Park. Details about the project and how the public will be able to participate will be available at a later date.
Learn more about the Tidewater Virginia Historical Society at http://www.tv-hs.org