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Step Into the Shenandoah Valley's Past

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Step Into the Shenandoah Valley's Past Photo © Staunton Convention & Visitors Bureau

In Brief:

The Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton, Virginia brings the Old and New Worlds together. Seven farm sites, four from the Old World and three from Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, await your arrival. As you tour the farm sites and talk with costumed interpreters, you will discover that immigrants from England, Ireland, Germany and Africa brought their own traditions to the valley. You'll also see how the valley's farmers adopted the best of these practices and how the entire area prospered. Visiting the Frontier Culture Museum gives guests a glimpse into the past of a unique area, the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

Getting There:

The Frontier Culture Museum is very easy to find. Take Interstate 81 toward Staunton and exit at U.S. 250 west (exit 222 if you are driving south on I-81). Turn onto U.S. 250 west and follow signs to Frontier Drive and the museum.

Admission:

Ticket prices are as follows:

$10.00 adults

$9.50 seniors

$9.00 students (13 – college)

$6.00 children (6 – 12)

Hours:

Mid-March through December 1: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily.

December 1 through mid-March: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. daily.

The museum is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

On Mondays, there will be greeters at each farm site rather than costumed interpreters.

Address and Telephone Number:

1290 Richmond Road

Staunton, VA 24401

(540) 332-7850

Website

Things to Know About the Frontier Culture Museum:

  • Picnic tables and vending machines are located near the Museum Store. You can also buy snacks and drinks inside the Museum Store. There is no on-site restaurant.
  • During periods of inclement weather, the museum may close at management's discretion.
  • If you visit the Frontier Culture Museum on a Monday, you will be met at each farm site by greeters rather than by costumed interpreters.
  • Special events, lectures and festivals are held throughout the year.
  • Pathways between farm sites are generally wheelchair-accessible, but the farm houses may have steps or ladders that cannot accommodate wheelchair users. The pathways can also become muddy after a rainstorm or spring thaw.
  • You can buy handmade wrought iron items crafted at the forge in the Museum Shop.
  • Ask the costumed interpreters whether it is safe to pet any of the cats at the farm sites before you try to stroke them.

About the Frontier Culture Museum

Your trip into the Shenandoah Valley's past begins at the Welcome Center. From there, you can take a walk that brings you back in time and place to Europe and Africa as you visit four farm sites and a working blacksmith forge.

Your journey begins in western Africa, in today's Biafra, at the 1700s Igbo yam farm. The enslavement of Igbo farmers and their families brought them to the New World. Your stop at the English yeoman's farm will show you how prosperous farmers lived in the 1600s before emigrating to Virginia. Settlers from Ulster in today's Northern Ireland brought the farming techniques and cultural traditions of their Irish and Scottish ancestors to the valley. Stop by the Irish blacksmith forge and see artisans at work. German farmers came to the valley from the Rhineland; you can visit a half-timbered farmhouse built in German style.

The second group of farm sites at the Frontier Culture Museum reflects the changes that occurred in the Shenandoah Valley as its settlers became more prosperous. The 1740s farm looks almost primitive compared to the 1820s and 1850s farm sites. The mid-18th century frontier surveyed by a young George Washington became a settled, prosperous farming area in less than 100 years.

At each farm site you can talk with interpreters and explore the homes and outbuildings. Here, cats still chase mice in the barns, the "locals" (interpreters) worry about foxes catching the chickens and crops fill farmers' fields and kitchen gardens. The Frontier Culture Museum is truly a journey through history.

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