Jefferson County Museum

200 East Washington St., Charles Town, WV 25414 - United States





The Jefferson County Museum is located in historic downtown Charles Town and shares a building with its partner organization, the Charles Town Library. Since its founding in 1965, the museum has been dedicated to fostering the understanding and love of history. The museum is committed to the acquisition, preservation, and exhibition of objects of historical value and relevance to the county and the region.


150 Years Later: The Founding of Storer College
Temporary Exhibit
Through artifacts and photographs of students and faculty, this display celebrates the 150th anniversary of the founding of Storer College in 1867, the first West Virginia college open to African Americans. During its 88-year history, the college educated thousands of black students, many of them from Jefferson County.

The Washington Family
Permanent Exhibit
This exhibit features documents, photographs, and artifacts about the Washington family in the 18th and 19th centuries in Jefferson County. George Washington surveyed the area as a young man and subsequently purchased hundreds of acres in what became Jefferson County. Although he did not move here, two brothers and descendants of a third brother established plantations where African Americans were enslaved laborers. His youngest brother, Charles, founded Charles Town in 1786.

Included is a September 1799 letter written by George Washington lamenting the death of Charles.

John Brown Raid
Permanent Exhibit
Includes the wagon that carried Brown to his hanging, pikes from his Harpers Ferry raid, and items from the Charles Town jail and courthouse

Civil War
Permanent Exhibit
Includes uniforms, artillery, excavated materials, and a flag from R.P. Chew’s battery

Native Americans in the Shenandoah Valley
Permanent Exhibit
A small exhibit displays projectile points and other tools made by Native Americans and excavated in and around Jefferson County and elsewhere in the Shenandoah Valley. Native Americans first came to the valley about 10,000 years ago and over the millennia they turned from nomadic foraging and hunting to sedentary villages and ancient agricultural systems.

People and Industries
Permanent Exhibit
Features an array of clothing, toys, household items, and business materials relating to Jefferson County history and culture

Jefferson County in Photos, Then & Now
Permanent Exhibit
Shows ways in which the landscape around us has both changed and remained consistent over time

On the Move
Permanent Exhibit
Focuses on the movement of people and goods through Jefferson County in the 18th-20th centuries, owing to advances in transportation technology and infrastructure such as canals, railroads, and automobiles.

Slavery Our Great National Sin
Permanent Exhibit
Curated in partnership with the Jefferson County Black History Preservation Society, this display introduces the history of enslavement in Jefferson County in the decades leading up to the Civil War, as well as the abiding legacy of this institution on later generations. ​


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