ABOUT THIS PHOTO
The Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society’s Museum Collection embodies an important cross-section of the material history of Charlottesville and Albemarle County, spanning more than two hundred years. Much can be learned from objects that people made, used, collected, distributed, and treasured in years past.
What is in the Museum Collection?
The ACHS Museum Collection consists of more than 200 boxes of objects and artifacts related to local Charlottesville and Albemarle County history, including:
- ceramics, glassware, and pottery
- textiles, costumes, and jewelry
- collectibles, souvenirs, and advertising ephemera
- archaeological artifacts from sites like Rio Hill, the Hessian Barracks, Main Street, and the site of the McIntire Building
- photographs by local photographers
- oral history recordings
- historic documents, prints, and maps
- oil paintings and framed prints
- antique furniture
- architectural remnants
- and lots more!
A full collection inventory and cataloging effort is ongoing. A searchable online catalog is not yet available, but ACHS is working toward that goal so we can share our collection more widely with the community.
Where do the objects in the Museum Collection come from?
Since the 1970s, local residents and ACHS members have donated a majority of the artifacts, though increasingly items come to ACHS from all over the country, donated by people who have ties to Charlottesville or Albemarle County, or who have purchased or found local artifacts far afield. Donors frequently express that they wish to return an object to its original place, and in this way ACHS has built a sizable collection of items tied to local history. ACHS does not purchase objects for the Museum Collection nor does it sell deaccessioned objects.
Who manages the Museum Collection?
The ACHS collections manager handles the responsibilities of caring for the Museum Collection: accessioning and inventorying all of the objects, implementing essential preservation measures, storing items following archival best practices, and researching objects for new exhibits.
Why is the Museum Collection important?
The ACHS Museum Collection embodies an important cross-section of the material history of Charlottesville and Albemarle County, spanning more than two hundred years. Much can be learned from objects that people made, used, collected, distributed, and treasured in years past.
When are objects from the Museum Collection available to view?
ACHS offers visitors the year-round opportunity to view a rotating selection of curated objects and artifacts in our Exhibit Hall during weekday business hours. Some recently exhibited objects include a brick made at Monticello, trench art created during World War I, a demitasse cup and spoon from the Rawlings Institute, a ceramic vase fired at the Monticello Pottery, a painting by folk artist Frances Brand, and photographs by Rip Payne. ACHS also uses photographs of objects from the collection to illustrate the Magazine of Albemarle Charlottesville History whenever possible.
How can I donate an object or artifact to the Museum Collection?
ACHS accepts object and artifact donations based on their suitability to the Museum Collection and ACHS’s ability to care for the object(s). Objects should be in good condition, have a direct connection to Charlottesville and/or Albemarle County, and be accompanied by a written record of the objects’ history and previous ownership. Donors should contact collections manager Keri Matthews at [email protected] to discuss potential donations before bringing or shipping objects to ACHS. A signed Deed of Gift must accompany each donation.
View the slide show below for a sample of items that we have in our Collections.
The Rip Payne Collection
Award-winning photographer Russell “Rip” Payne (1917-1990) was active in the Charlottesville area for more than half a century, working as a photojournalist, commercial and wedding photographer and artist. His incredible collection of images totals tens of thousands of prints, negatives and slides. In this photo, three men escape an exploding factory in Crozet, August 4, 1957.
The Gallery of Firsts
A unique collection of paintings by Charlottesville artist Doris Collins documents the now-lost Vinegar Hill community before its destruction in the early 1960s. Part of “urban renewal” design, the razing of the heart of the African-American community of Charlottesville remains controversial to this very day. Collins’ work is an important historic record of the homes and businesses that once made up this neighborhood, an entire part of downtown that was so tragically wiped from the landscape.
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Market Street Park
200 Second Street, NE
Charlottesville, Virginia 22902