Learn, Play and Explore
Enjoy an entertaining and educational outing at one of Harrisonburg’s unique museums. Learn about Harrionsburg’s rich history and then take a journey to outer space, all in one city. Museums provide a window into our history and culture. Some local museums feature hands-on exhibits for kids, while others will delight art lovers. Learn about the skilled craftsmen of the area at the Virginia Quilt Museum or Hugo Kohl Museum of American Jewelry Design and Manufacturing. For family-friendly fun don’t miss the Explore More Discovery Museum with a play kitchen, farmers market stand, airplane, newsroom and maker center for age 8 and up. For a free museum experience visit the Larry W. Shifflett Fire Museum with interactive learning exhibits. Visit the Brethren and Mennonite Heritage Center to step back in time by touring a one-room schoolhouse, historic home and other buildings to better understand the settlers of this region. Start your journey at the Hardesty-Higgins House Visitor Center which includes a free Civil War Orientation Center and Valley Turnpike Museum. Our museums make learning fun and offer something for all ages.
Brethren & Mennonite Heritage Center
1921 Heritage Center Way Harrisonburg, VA 22801 | 540-438-1275
Open Wed-Sat 10:00am-5:00pm
Experience the Valley’s unique religious and cultural heritage where Brethren and Mennonite religion and culture meet. The Brethren & Mennonite Heritage 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.
Explore More Discovery Museum
150 S. Main St. Harrisonburg, VA 22801 | 540-442-8900
Play Sessions may be reserved Tue-Sat 10:00am-12:00pm, 12:30pm-2:30pm, and 3:00pm-5:00pm
Maker City Sessions may be reserved Tue-Sat 12:30pm-2:30pm and 3:00pm-5:00pm
Walk-ins accepted as space allows.
Experience the Explore More Discovery Museum: Harrisonburg’s community-inspired museum designed to engage young minds through interactive, multi-sensory learning experiences that promote a greater understanding of themselves and their world. With exhibits ranging in topics from medicine to farming to theatre, and numerous workshops throughout the year, children can learn about the world around us through exploration.
The Harriet Tubman Cultural Center
2065 Reservoir St, Harrisonburg, VA 22801 | 540-578-6389
Open by appointment only on Mon, Wed, Fri 10:00am-5:00pm and Tue, Thu, Sat from 10:00am-2:00pm
Located in a former one room school annex, visitors of the Harriet Tubman Cultural Center will experience a tribute to the legacy of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. Visitors can explore “Freedom Trail” markers on the property that include topics on the history of the Freedom Trail. Tours will inform visitors about Harriet Tubman’s life and legacy, a local safe house, plantation life, and more. (Harriet Tubman never visited the area but the Center housed in a building built in 1899 is a tribute to her legacy.)An evening tour is given at 5 p.m. most First Fridays on the property. The Harriet Tubman Cultural Center began in 2010.
Larry W. Shifflett Fire Museum
3rd Floor, Public Safety Building 101 N. Main St. Harrisonburg, VA 22801 | 540-432-7703
Open Tue-Fri 9:00am-3:00pm
Harrionburg’s Fire Museum provides 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. This museum offers free admission.
JMU Mineral Museum
1301 Carrier Drive, Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807 | 540-568-6130
Open Tue and Thu 11:00am-4:00pm through Aug. 31
Open from Sep. 1, onwards Mon, Wed, Fri from 1:00pm-4:00pm, and every second Sat from 1:00pm-4:00pm
The JMU Mineral Museum is an internationally recognized destination with minerals from 39 countries and 24 U.S. states. It offers something for those with any level of geological education, form casual viewers to those with extensive backgrounds in mineralogy.
John C. Wells Planetarium at James Madison University
91 East Grace Street Room 1103, Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807 | 540-568-7827
The John C. Wells Planetarium at James Madison University is a state-of-the-art hybrid facility, the only one of its kind in the world. It hosts both an Evans & Sutherland Digistar 5, an ultra-high resolution digital projection system, and a Goto Chronos opto-mechanical star projector that provides visitors with a superior and realistic night sky. This digital system allows for presentations of unique full dome movies as well as projections of the multi-wavelength universe on the dome. This Goto Chronos starball allows the planetarium to project an authentic night sky for any location on the Earth’s surface.
Museum of American Jewelry Design and Manufacturing
217 South Liberty St., Ste. 103 Harrisonburg, VA 22801 | 540-564-2755
Hugo Kohl’s vision was to design a museum that provides visitors with a full sensory experience of jewelry manufacturing. An elevated floor plan allows guests to browse the retail store while watching artisans create in the workshop below.
382 High St. Dayton, VA 22821 | 540-879-2681
Open Tue-Sat 10:00am-4:00pm
Come discover the people and moments that influenced life in the Shenandoah Valley today. Connect to creativity through local folk art, crafts, and trades. Let the stories of frontier, school, work, war, and play inspire your own journey through time. The Research Library and Archive collections provide extensive resources for local history and genealogy research. Affiliations with Family Search, Ancestry, and Fold3 allow you to explore your ancestors, even if your roots aren’t Rockingham-rooted. Rocktown History serves as the official tourist information center for Historic Dayton and will be glad to help you enjoy your visit to the heartland of the Shenandoah Valley.
Valley Turnpike Museum
Located in the Hardesty-Higgins House 212 S. Main St. Harrisonburg, VA 22801 | 540-432-8935
Open Mon-Sun 9:00am-5:00pm
The Valley Turnpike 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 historic road for 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 Tue-Sat 10:00am-4:00pm. Closed all major holidays.
The Virginia Quilt Museum promotes a unique blend of art and cultural heritage. With three floors of gallery space the museum celebrates the beauty of quilts through exhibitions that change at least three times a year. Historical, modern, art, and traditional quilts are featured simultaneously, allowing visitors the opportunity to explore the variety of styles, techniques, themes, and artistry found in quilts.