The Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society offers a diverse variety of experiences that explore the history of Albemarle County and the City of Charlottesville. For more than fifty years, we have been the leader in personally guided walking tours of the historic Central Virginia region. You are invited to join us. We can accommodate big groups or small ones, eight-year-olds or eighty-year-olds. All tours can be catered to your schedule based on the availability of tour guides. We look forward to showing you around one of the most fascinating little cities in America! Contact Sterling Howell at [email protected] or (434) 296-1492 to learn more and schedule a tour.
Court Square & Environs: A guided tour through the original 1762 core of Charlottesville. Tours begin in front of the Albemarle County Circuit Courthouse and end at the now infamous Market Street Park. Along the way, our knowledgable guides will share a broad overview of local history, from the indigenous Monacan Nation to the removal of Confederate monuments. 1 hour, $8 per person.
Downtown Mall: Take a stroll down Charlottesville’s pedestrian mall and learn about the three local US Presidents, Charlottesville during the Civil War, physical changes to Main Street during the 20th century, and more. 1 hour, $8 per person.
Maplewood Cemetery: A tour of Charlottesville’s oldest public cemetery. We will visit the last resting places of some of Charlottesville’s most interesting deceased characters and discuss how and why cemeteries, burial practices, and mortuary imagery have changed over time and what these changes reveal about society and culture. 1 hour, $8 per person.
Common House Black History Tour: Created with support from Common House social club, this tour focuses on the history of the local African American community, race relations, and how events in the past continue to affect the city today. While exploring the downtown core of Charlottesville, you will hear stories of enslaved people, free Blacks, individuals and families with complex racial identities, segregation, displacements, and the rise and fall of symbols of hate. 2 hours, $15 per person
Secret Cville: A not-so-secret tour of the pedestrian mall area highlighting some of the more curious and easily missed parts of downtown. This will be a meandering journey through space and time, side streets and back alleys, revealing secret societies, speakeasies, and other local curiosities. 1 hour, $8 per person.
Pop-up Tours and More: Stay tuned for more updates or contact us for details.
The Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society Library is among the very best of local history libraries in the country. Created by a committee of Historical Society volunteers, the library opened to the public on October 29, 1974, in the renovated basement of our then headquarters at 220 Court Square. Since that time, the holdings have grown to include over 6,000 individual volumes, 15,000 pamphlets, 300 historic maps, and over 1,000 archived manuscript items. Operated in collaboration with the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library system, the library was officially renamed in 2020 the Margaret Martin O’Bryant Library & Research Collection in honor of her over 35 years of service to the Society.
In addition to our Library holdings of books, manuscripts and historic maps, our Collections contains thousands of artifacts donated to the Society. These items help to tell the story of Albemarle County and the City of Charlottesville: from papers to portraiture to photographs, clothing, furniture, memorabilia and ephemera, all donated by individuals, families, businesses and organizations throughout Central Virginia over the past 80 years. A sample of artifacts can be found on our Collections webpage. If you would like to donate an historic item to be preserved in our collections or do research in our collections, please contact us.
Copyrights & Reproductions
As curators, librarians and historians, our staff members are responsible for safeguarding the condition of materials in our Collection and for respecting the wishes and interests of authors and donors. We also wish to contribute to scholarship and teaching and want to make the public more aware of the books, manuscripts, and historic items we have. To accomplish these goals, the reproduction of items is often required. If you have a need to reproduce items in our collection or learn what we have, click this link for our policies.