Virginia Historical Society is at 428 N. Boulevard. The museum's impressive neoclassical building was built in 1913. Known locally as Battle Abbey, its original function was to serve as a memorial to the state's Confederate soldiers and to store Confederate records. Several enlargements later, it is now a repository of 4 centuries worth of Virginia's historical treasures. Included are 13 gallery spaces, a 5,200-square-foot reading room and seven permanent exhibitions providing insights into the state's past.
The Story of Virginia, an American Experience, explores the development of Virginia from prehistoric times to the present. The 10,500-square-foot exhibit space features more than 1,000 objects, films and oral history interviews, and interactive displays that touch on such themes as electrification, urbanization, the Civil War, World War II and the civil rights movement. Four Seasons of the Confederacy: Murals by Charles Hoffbauer showcases memorial military murals painted in the early 20th-century by Hoffbauer, a Paris-born artist who immigrated to America in 1909. The works illustrate such dramatic Civil War-era scenes as J.E.B. Stuart leading his cavalrymen through Virginia woods and an artillery battery retreating in the snow.
The museum's vast collection also includes nearly 300,000 prints and photographs; more than 1,500 paintings; and textiles, silver, furniture and weaponry.