The History Museum of Western Virginia is located in downtown Roanoke and is dedicated towards promoting the history of southwestern Virginia. It is housed on the third floor of the Center in the Square building. The Watts Library and the administration offices of the Historical Society of Western Virginia and are located inside the museum. The museum receives over 25 thousand visitors per year. It contains thousands of artifacts and other historical materials from western Virginia. These include photographs, documents, books, and maps. A notable item is a letter written by Thomas Jefferson describing his scientific observations of the the three mountains, called the Peaks of Otter, that overlook the town of Bedford. The museum is currently undergoing a $3 million dollar restoration.
The roots of the museum extend back to 1957 when the Historical Society of Western Virginia opened a small museum in the Main Roanoke Library. The museum moved to various commercial storefronts in downtown Roanoke until finally finding a home in a renovated warehouse in 1983.