Charles Willson Peale, despite his devotion to the taxonomic and contemplative majesty of the natural world, nevertheless loved novelties and used all sorts of amusements to attract customers to his museum. He eventually resorted to hiring a popular musical performer who played five different instruments simultaneously, using all parts of his body. Following Peale’s death the museum passed into the enterprising hands of P. T. Barnum, becoming part of his traveling circus — a romantic ending for an Enlightenment institution.
|A Georgian-style church designed by James Wren and completed by John Carlyle in 1773. Still an active church, Washington's pew is marked with a silver plaque.
|Gadsby’s Tavern Museum
|Built c. 1785 with adjoining hotel built in 1792 and one of the few colonial taverns still in existence; includes operating restaurant, ballroom, and museum.
|George Washington Masonic National Memorial
|The 333-foot memorial, dedicated in 1932, was built by Masons to honor their fellow Mason, George Washington; includes a museum of personal artifacts.
|Old Presbyterian Meeting House
|The original Meeting House, build in 1775, was destroyed by fire in 1835; rebuilding completed in 1837 using the same Georgian-style architecture.
|From 1771 - 78 this was the home of Patrick Henry, his wife, and six children.
|Red Hill – The Patrick Henry National Memorial
|The last home and burial place of Patrick Henry, who retired here in 1793. The extensive plantation has been reconstructed; includes a visitor center.
|Built in 1726 by Benjamin Harrison IV, it became the home of Benjamin Harrison V, a signer of the Declaration of Independence; includes period furniture, antiques, and extensive grounds overlooking the James River.
|Founded in 1613, the present mansion was begun in 1723; with extensive grounds and a formal garden, the plantation includes multiple structures that can be viewed on a guided tour.
|A working plantation with a modest house, it was completed for James Monroe and his family in 1799; includes period furniture, personal artifacts, and extensive grounds.
|Following the war, Corporal William Mitchie established a tavern in 1784; operates both as a restaurant and living history museum.
|Thomas Jefferson’s plantation and home which he designed, built, and rebuilt over 50 years.
|University of Virginia
|Founded by Thomas Jefferson, who was also the original architect, in 1819.
|George Washington Birthplace National Monument
|Commemorates Washington’s birth at Popes Creek Plantation on 1732. The house is not original, but the cemetery holds over 30 Washingtons, including his father.
|Thomas Jefferson designed and began building this octagonal second home in 1806, during his second term as president.
|George Washington’s Ferry Farm
|George Washington’s boyhood home, Ferry Farm is an ongoing archaeological site.
|Hugh Mercer Apothecary
|Hugh Mercer was a Scottish immigrant doctor who fought and died in the Battle of Princeton (1777). The restored building provides a living history interpretation of Colonial medical practices.
|James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library
|The fifth president of the U.S., Monroe fought at Trenton, Brandywine, Germantown, and Monmouth. The museum contains personal artifacts, furnishings, and papers.
|Built in the 1770s, Kenmore was the home of Fielding Lewis and his wife Betty, George Washington’s only sister. The house is considered one of the best Colonial mansions in America.
|Mary Washington House
|Purchased in 1772 by George Washington for his mother, Mary Ball Washington, where she spent the last 17 years of her life.
|Gunston Hall Plantation
|George Mason’s home, a wonderful example of Georgian architecture, was completed in 1759; includes original artifacts, grounds, and a garden overlooking the Potomac River.
|Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens
|Originally a cottage built on 2,300 acres by his father, George Washington expanded both house and acres, and lived there until his death; he and first lady, Martha, are buried on the grounds.
|James Madison Museum
|Commemorates the life and times of the founding father and fourth president; includes period furniture, personal artifacts, and papers.
|James Madison’s Montpelier
|Built c. 1764 by his father, this was James Madison’s lifelong home — which he expanded twice. Full restoration completed in 2008.
|John Marshall House
|Built in 1790, this Federal-style house was where the great Chief Justice lived for 45 years; includes family furnishings and memorabilia.
|St. John’s Church
|Completed in 1741, it was the first church in Richmond; in 1775, it was the site of the famous speech by Patrick Henry ending with “Give me liberty or give me death.”
|Virginia Historical Society
|Both museum and library (free of charge), the signature exhibition is “The Story of Virginia.”
|Virginia State Capitol
|In 1780 Virginia’s capitol moved from Williamsburg to Richmond; Jefferson designed the new structure, modelling it after the Maison Carrée in France.
|Wilton House Museum
|Built c. 1753 for William Randolph III, home to the Randolphs for more than 100 years, it is one of the best-preserved colonial mansions from the original 13 colonies. Includes period pieces and furniture, plus a few original artifacts; guided tours only.
|Built by Thomas Lee in the late 1730s, Stratford was home to five sons who served in various ways during the Revolution. The 1,900-acre site includes nature trails, a gristmill, and formal gardens.
|Historic first capitol of Virginia, now devoted to colonial America through living history and period architecture.
|Wren Building, College of William and Mary
|Designed by Sir Christopher Wren and completed in 1699; fully reconstructed in 1732 after a fire. It is the oldest academic structure still in use in America.
|Colonial National Historical Park
|Includes Cape Henry Memorial and Yorktown Battlefield.
|Yorktown Victory Center
|A museum of the American Revolution with indoor exhibits and outdoor living history that chronicles the history of the colonies through their independence.
Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815 (2009)