The Manassas Museum is located in downtown Manassas and features exhibits, collections, and artifacts tracing the history of the Northern Virginia Piedmont area, from all of Prince William County to Rappahannock River to Blue Ridge Mountains. At this museum, visitors can find artifacts dealing with a settlers’ life in the 1700s and 1800s, exhibits showcasing the perspective of a slave owner (told through his wife’s eyes), the destruction of the Civil War in Virginia, and more. The Manassas Museum is also open to researchers and history buffs, offering archives and collections in the McBryde Library and Archives. Furthermore, the museum also hosts an array of events throughout the year, including reenactments of the daily life of Civil War soldiers, early colonists, and even railroad workers.
Backstory and Context
Collections and Exhibits at the Manassas Museum
From the 7,000-square-foot Manassas Museum, visitors can immerse themselves in the northern Virginia Piedmont region’s history through video, images, artifacts, and both permanent and temporary exhibits. Some of the permanent exhibits document the early plantation and settlement life, the building of the railroad junction in the region, the Battles of the First and Second Manassas, and the area’s post-Civil War reconstruction.
For instance, some artifacts (and their descriptions) regarding colonial life may include flax wheels, grain cradles, stoneware, portraits, ledgers, magazines, prison equipment, and many other farmstead and household items common among colonial homes. Furthermore, this museum lets visitors encounter both sides of Virginia slavery through an exhibit regarding a slave owner’s wife as well as an exhibit of a slave, called “Sarah.”
Some of the most popular events at the museum include the living history expositions. These events feature volunteers in colonial and historic costumes acting out various scenes from history, from the colonial home to the Civil War to railroad workers.1