HOURS OF OPERATION as of May 1, 2022

Open Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays 10:00-4:00 and the second Saturday of each month 10:00-3:00. Early closing 2:00 Thursday May 12.
Current exhibit: “Digging Into Archaeology: Uncovering Pieces of Lancaster’s Past” with artifacts and interpretation from William Ball’s Millenbeck and Thomas Carter’s Barford.

Open by advance appointment only.
Please see Library page for information.


Saturday, June 4, 2022
Gala, Tours, and Auction
Click here for more info

Sat, May 21 8:00-11:30 AM
Museum Grounds. Same day as neighboring Trinity Church Yard Sale.
Click to download PDF flyer.
Click to pay vendor fee online.

Saturday MAY 14, 10:00-2:00

Rain or Shine. At this FREE, family-friendly event at the LVHS Museum, visitors can meet staff and volunteers from the Fairfield Foundation’s Center for Archaeology, Preservation, and Education and take part in washing and sorting artifacts from the museum collection as well as bring their own archaeological artifacts for assistance with identifying and dating them. In the museum, visitors can view artifacts and interpretation from two local sites to learn more archaeology fieldwork and lab work and how this helps us understand 18th- and 19th–century life in Lancaster County. Hands-on activities include touching and analyzing artifacts, using simple testing methods to date pipe stems, and solving a puzzle of mending broken pieces.

2022 SPEAKER SERIES (In-person and Zoom Programs)

Thursday, June 9, 7:00 PM – “Audacity and Courage in Uncertain Times: The Life of Hansford Bayton, Black Steamboat Captain and Northern Neck Entrepreneur” by his great-granddaughter and biographer Dr. Julia Sullivan-Detheridge. IN-PERSON at Lancaster Community Library. Free for LVHS members; $5 for public. More details to be announced.

Tuesday, July 26, 7:00 PM – “Left Behind: Tales of the Underground Railroad” Historical Storytelling by Sheila Arnold. IN-PERSON at Lancaster Community Library in partnership with LCL Adult Summer Reading Program. Doors Open 6:30. Free admission thanks to grant funding.

Freedom is what we all desire, but if you had to leave something or someone behind in order to achieve it, could you do it? Through story, song, and audience interaction, Master Storyteller Sheila Arnold looks at the experiences of fugitive slaves from the Underground Railroad and shares who and what they left behind — family, clothes, names, and even life — for the hope of a word called “freedom.” There are surprises that were left behind as well, and this presentation brings humor along with thought-provoking moments. Historical storytelling at its best, this program begins with the audience’s thoughts and leads to stories that will stay in your mind long after the presentation has ended. Program will last approximately 60-90 minutes. Appropriate for all ages.

(Zoom recording) “Is This an Artifact? Understanding and Identifying Archaeological Finds” by Dr. Dave Brown, co-director of the Fairfield Foundation and Center for Archaeology, Preservation, and Education in Gloucester. Presented Thursday, May 12, 2022.
Click here to order access to the Online Recording.
Free for LVHS members; $5 for public.

(Zoom recording) “Where History and Fiction Intersect: Writing the Story of Rev. David Lindsay of Wicomico Parish Church” by Nan Harvey, author, researcher, and Lindsay descendant. Presented Thursday, April 14, 2022.
Click here to order access to the Online Recording.
Free for LVHS members; $5 for public.

(Zoom recording) “Historical Architecture: How to Read Virginia’s Old Houses” by Dr. Carl Lounsbury, William & Mary professor and retired Colonial Williamsburg architectural historian. Presented March 17, 2022.
Click here to order access to the Online Recording.
Free for LVHS members; $5 for public.

Free Zoom Program Recordings

Co-sponsored by Lancaster Virginia Historical Society and Holley School Incorporated

Holley Graded School Memories, 1922-1959


Presentation by LVHS researchers about the history of Holley Graded School (founded 1868 in Northumberland County), particularly Black educational experiences in the early-to-mid-1900s. Features audio clips from 13 former students interviewed in 2002 as part of the Closing the Gap Lower Northern Neck African American Oral History Project. Originally presented February 22, 2022.

Photo: Holley Graded School with unidentified trustees, 1986. By Jeff O’Dell, Courtesy of Virginia Department of Historic Resources under fair use purposes.

Holley Graded School Past, Present, and Future


Roundtable discussion with members of the Holley School Inc Board of Directors, Trustees, and school alumni to share additional memories, history, and the school’s role today as a museum and community center. Originally presented Sunday, February 27, 2022.

Photo: Holley Graded School, 2017. Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

 New Book:

By Lois Crane Williams, 2021. The author brings together a range of primary records and secondary research information concerning the history of slave labor and enslaved people in Lancaster County from the mid-1600s to mid-1800s, and offers statistics and larger patterns that can be drawn from the study of these sources. The book examines the 1860 Census listing Lancaster County’s 2,809 enslaved persons without a name, contrasted with the 1870 Census identification of previously-unnamed African Americans who by then were part of a household and had an occupation. It also describes Lancaster County’s intertwined expansion of tobacco culture and slaveholding through the colonial era, with chapters particularly addressing Black labor and lives on plantations of the Carter family and James Gordon. Other chapters explore situations of the county’s enslaved and free Blacks in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and Civil War, and include records of wartime participation. The book also discusses the identification of enslaved individuals and the disposition of slaveholdings as documented in wills, inventories, and estate records of slaveowners. While the work does not take a genealogical approach, the the types of original records and research methods used can provide helpful guidance for how to find similar information in other locations or in individual families. Paperback, 149 pages. 

$15 + sales tax, shipping. (LVHS Members $13.50)
CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE online or visit the LVHS Museum Shop Wed-Fri 10:00-4:00.

FREE VIDEO OF AUTHOR TALK: Watch a talk (given before the book was completed) by Lois Williams, at the October 26, 2021, LVHS Annual Membership Meeting. https://tinyurl.com/LVHS2021AnnualMeetingVideo