Trail News

Explore the Gloucester Museum of History

Gloucester Museum of History Front Entrance Virginia with Sign

While you are enjoying the Middle Peninsula waterways, consider taking a day trip to Gloucester Main Street to explore the Gloucester Museum of History.

The museum, located in the historic Botetourt Building on Main Street, features three floors of seasonal and permanent exhibits that highlight the many significant events, people and customs (like waterway explorations!) associated with Gloucester County.

On the first floor, you’ll enjoy “The Good Old Days” – an exhibit that showcases household items, clothing, toys, photos, tools and numerous other items that were used in Gloucester from the late 1800’s to the mid-1900’s.

As you walk around the museum, don’t miss the original oil painting of Civil War General W. B. Taliaferro reviewing the last general muster of the Gloucester Militia at Roaring Springs Plantation in 1860. The painting was donated to the museum by the artist’s family and is one of the most popular exhibits.

On the second floor, check out the eight-station exhibit called “Echoes from the Past: Six Periods of Gloucester History,” which traces the county’s rich history and varied contributions from five million years ago up to the Civil War. And, if you want to learn how two women helped shape the history of Gloucester through their “handiwork,” visit the exhibit “Threads: A Loving Legacy Unfolds.”

The museum also has a number of permanent exhibits such as The Old Country Store, Post Office, Bank of Gloucester, and even one on Warner Hall, which we’ve featured here on Virginia Water Trails.

Other exhibits to visit include:

  • -The Battle of the Hook
  • -Gremer Doll Houses
  • -African American History in Gloucester
  • -Captain John Smith’s 1608 Journey to Gloucester
  • -Revolutionary War
  • -Civil War
  • -Pocahontas
  • -Celebration of African American History in Gloucester

The Gloucester History Museum was established in 1990 and was originally located in the historic Roane Building on Court Circle. It moved to its current location – the Botetourt Building – which has its own unique history – in 2000.

Built in the late 18th Century, the Botetourt Building was used as a roadside tavern or ordinary (inn) and was known as John New’s Ordinary. The building is said to have been named for Lord Botetourt Norborne Berkeley, Baron of Botetourt, sent from Gloucester England to be governor of Virginia. It is one of the largest, as well as one of the few brick taverns surviving from the pre-Revolutionary period.

Admission is always free!

Monday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Closed Sundays and holidays unless otherwise announced.