Our Exhibits

Photographer Russell “Rip” Payne (1916-1990) captured this historic moment one afternoon as children left an integrated public school for the first time in Charlottesville. Like most of the former Confederate South in the wake of the May 17, 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, white leaders in Virginia pledged a protest of “massive resistance” against any effort to desegregate public schools.  On September 19, 1958, rather than accept integration, Virginia Governor Lindsay Almond ordered the all-white public schools closed in select communities, which included the City of Charlottesville. The move attracted national press attention. It was not until September 8, 1959, owing to a court order, that the schools were at last desegregated and children of color began to attend the formerly all-white schools in Charlottesville: nine at Venable Elementary and three at Lane High School, known collectively as “the Charlottesville Twelve.”

The Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society creates engaging and vibrant exhibits that interpret the history of Albemarle County and the City of Charlottesville. Beginning in 1994, when we took up residence in the historic McIntire Public Library, the main hall has provided a venue for ground-breaking exhibits exploring our diverse collections and archives, the local heritage of Jewish life and culture, African-American history, the stories of Greek and Irish immigration to Charlottesville, art and architecture, businesses, education, medicine, and much more. We continue to offer regular exhibits, all free and open to the public.

Future Exhibits

Our Building Turns 100:

1921-2021 – The First Public Library, Paul McIntire, and Charlottesville

Past Exhibits

Gone But Not Forgotten: Unearthing Memories at Daughters of Zion Cemetery (2018)

In partnership with the Preservers of the Daughters of Zion Cemetery, the exhibit “Gone But Not Forgotten: Unearthing Memories at Daughters of Zion Cemetery,” explored the fascinating stories of people interred in one of the first public, African-American cemeteries in this part of the South, established in 1873 near downtown Charlottesville. The exhibit detailed information about the efforts to preserve the historic grounds and conduct archaeological research.

Ed Rosebery’s Charlottesville (2018 to present)

Known to generations of his friends as “Flash,” Ed Roseberry (born 1925) continues to be one of Virginia’s most celebrated and accomplished photographers. His iconic and award-winning work spans more than seven decades, and has focused on the people, events and scenes of Charlottesville, Albemarle and the University of Virginia. This free exhibit showcased dozens of classic photographs from the Roseberry Collection, and included detailed historic captions for every image. “Ed Roseberry’s Charlottesville” is on display for free at The Nook Restaurant on the Downtown Mall.

"Charlottesville’s Attic" – The Story of Us (2019)

Exhibit comprised of the incredible collection of artifacts held by the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society. Dozens of items from our attic, each with its own story to tell. Presented with the generous support of Afton Mountain Vineyards and Champion Brewing Company.

From Civil War to Civil Rights: The Jewish Experience in Charlottesville (2019-2020)

The exhibit, written by Dr. Phyllis K. Leffler and curated by Keri Matthews, explored the place of Jews in Charlottesville over one hundred years. Local history and current events alike show how, at times, Jews are welcomed and integrated into the life and activities of the spaces they inhabit. At other times, they are defined as racial or religious outsiders, subject to discrimination and prejudice. The exhibit helps us to understand many of the issues so relevant to today: the place of immigrants, the acceptance of the so-called other, the American mosaic of diversity, and the dangers of white supremacy.

McIntire Library
Market Street Park

Downtown Charlottesville
200 Second Street, NE
Charlottesville, Virginia 22902


Research Library Open
By Appointment
Mon-Fri, 8am-4pm
Saturday, 10am-2pm