Museums

 

The City of Harrisonburg and the surrounding area offers a wide variety of museums for visitors to choose from. Visit one or visit them all!

Eastern Mennonite University Hostetter Museum of Natural History
CLOSED DUE TO RENOVATION
1200 Park Rd. Harrisonburg, VA 22802 | Suter Science Center | 540-432-4400
Open Sundays from 2-5pm | Academic year, mid-September to late April | Groups by Appointment
Science and history come alive in this museum where you can discover some of nature's most unusual and fascinating specimens, including the two-headed calf, the Nile crocodile, a 3,000-year-old mummy hand, and fluorescent rock room. The "Discovery Room" is not open for afternoon public programs from June-August.

Explore More Discovery Museum, Harrisonburg Children's Museum
150 S. Main St. Harrisonburg, VA 22801 | 540-442-8900
Open Tues-Sat from 9:30am-5pm | Open with free admission on the first Friday of the month from 4-7pm
Experience the Explore More Discovery Museum and the new exhibits of Harrisonburg's community-inspired museum designed to engage young minds through interactive, multi-sensory learning experiences that promote greater understanding of themselves and their world. Exhibits include the Discovery Tree, Art Smart, Construction Zone, Friendly City Medical Center , TV Studio and the Science Lab. Learn about the world around us through exploration and the many workshops throughout the year.

Harrisonburg Fire Department Museum
3rd Floor, Public Safety Building 101 N. Main St. Harrisonburg, VA 22801 | 540-432-7703
Open Mon-Fri 9am-4pm. The Fire Museum is an in-depth look at one of the city's most exciting departments- the Harrisonburg Fire Department. In addition to old fire memorabilia such as uniforms, medals, an old fire alarm, photographs and equipment, the museum provides a behind-the-scenes look at some of our nation's heroes. Free admission.

Harrisonburg Rockingham Civil War Orientation Center
Located in the Hardesty-Higgins House 212 S. Main St. Harrisonburg, VA 22801 | 540-432-8935
Open Mon-Sun 9am-5pm. The Orientation Center offers the stories of individuals, battles, and campaigns through film and interpretation. The center has available the Shenandoah At War Guide and other resources for visitors to explore our region. More than history lesson, share the experiences of the Shenandoah Valley at war.

Heritage Museum: Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society
382 High St. Dayton, VA 22821 | 540-879-2616 (Volunteer Desk)
One of the finest regional historical societies and museums in Virginia, The Heritage Museum features "Invincible Spirit", a 5,000 square-foot exhibit portraying the unique history of the heart of the Shenandoah Valley. There is also a Folk Art collection, featuring the traditional arts of the Shenandoah region; Stonewall Jackson's famous Valley Campaign map presented in a unique audiovisual setting; an extensive genealogy research library; and Civil War displays and artifacts. Enjoy special exhibits and lecture series. The facility offers a well-stocked bookstore with an online ordering option. Membership entitles web access to surname databases and cemetery inventories. General admission includes all the galleries, the automated Civil War map of Stonewall Jackson's Valley campaign, the bookstore and gift shop, and the research library.  Hours are Monday through Saturday 10am to 5pm. 

Hugo Kohl's Museum of American Jewelry Design and Manufacturing Company
217 South Liberty St., Ste. 103 Harrisonburg, VA 22801 | 540-564-2755
Hugo Kohl’s vision was to design a museum that will give visitors a visual, audible and sensory experience of jewelry manufacturing. An elevated floor plan allows people to browse the retail store while watching artisans create in the workshop below. Sign up for a guided tour here or explore the self guided tour at your own pace.

James Madison University Mineral Museum
Harrisonburg, VA 22807 | 540-568-6421
The Mineral Museum is located in Memorial Hall, near entrance E. (Grace St. side of building). The museum features over 550 crystal and gemstone specimens from around the world. Free admission.

John C. Wells Planetarium at James Madison University
Miller Hall, across East Grace St. | Visitors may park in the M-lot  next to Miller Hall
The Wells Planetarium will offer free shows for the public on Saturdays through the fall and spring semester, not available in the summer. The shows will be held at 1:00pm, 2:30pm and 3:30pm. The 1:00 show is geared towards children and families. Shows are free. The planetarium door 10 minutes before show time. Each show is followed by a 25-minute "star talk" that provides visitors with updates about the night sky, including constellations, planets and any comets that might be visible.
Also on site The James Madison University Meteorite Collection. Featuring fragments of meteoroids that survived passage through the atmosphere to fall to the earth's surface as masses of metal or stone; includes specimens from Diablo Canyon, Ariz., the Sahara Desert, and the Central European Strewn Field. Free admission.

Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center (Crossroads)
1921 Heritage Center Way Harrisonburg, VA 22801 | 540-438-1275
Open Wed-Sat 10am-5pm. Experience the Valley's unique religious and cultural heritage at Crossroads, where Brethren and Mennonite religion and culture meet. The Center interprets these values as expressions of faith and historic importance in the community. Tour the interpretive center as well as the 1800s homestead and a schoolhouse, and attend events celebrating the history and heritage of the Brethren and Mennonite way of life.

Valley Turnpike Museum
Located in the Hardesty-Higgins House 212 S. Main St. Harrisonburg, VA 22801 | 540-432-8935
Open Mon-Sun 9am-5pm. The museum is located inside the historic Hardesty-Higgins House (circa 1848), home of Harrisonburg's first mayor, Isaac Hardesty. The Valley Turnpike Museum is located on the famous road from which it was named, now known as U.S. Route 11. The museum explores the history of the road, from its beginning as a buffalo path to Stonewall Jackson's famous Valley Campaign, to the toll road era and the development of the interstate highway system.

Virginia Quilt Museum
301 S. Main St. Harrisonburg, VA 22801 | 540-433-3818
Open Tues-Sat 10am-4pm. Closed all major holidays
The Virginia Quilt Museum is a resource center for the study of the role of quilts and quilting in the cultural life of society. The museum offers opportunities to view significant work by both early and contemporary quilt artisans. Located in the historic Warren-Sipe House, the museum offers historic elements of quilting as well as a Civil War history room, special events and changing exhibits.

Museums near Harrisonburg: 

Daniel Harrison House (Ft. Harrison)
PO Box 366 Bowman Rd. Dayton, VA 22821 | 540-879-2280
Open every weekend May-October | Call for Hours of Operation | Groups by Appointment
A preservation and restoration project of Fort Harrison, Inc., the Daniel Harrison House is a restored 1749 home of the Daniel Harrison, brother to Thomas who founded the city of Harrisonburg. The house/museum brings the 18th century to life with artifacts, furniture and tales of the families who lived there.

Miller Kite House
Stonewall Jackson Headquarters
310 E. Rockingham St. Elkton, VA 22827 | 540-298-1717 or 540-298-8531
Open Sundays 1-5 pm, May 29-Sep 4. Located in the house that served as the headquarters of General Stonewall Jackson during the beginning of the Shenandoah Valley Campaign, this exhibit features many items from the Civil War era and some articles belonging to Jackson.

Plains District Memorial Museum
176 N. Main St. Timberville, VA 22853 | 540-896-7900 | Please Call Ahead
Open Thurs-Sun 1-4pm. Comprised of memorabilia and artifacts of the early life in Shenandoah Valley. The museum contains a lively collection that portrays the life of early American homes, farms, and businesses. Free admission.

Port Republic Museum
The Society of Port Republic Preservationists | 8691 Water St. Port Republic, VA 24471 
Sundays from 1:30pm-4pm, open April-October. The museum brings the history of the once-bustling town to life. It also explores Stonewall Jackson's famous 1862 Valley Campaign and the life and death of local hero, Turner Ashby. $1 admission requested.