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Freeman House Store and Museum Vienna VA
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Outside the Freeman House Store and Museum in Vienna, VA

I recently stopped at our local history museum, the Freeman House, to buy a Remembrance Poppy badge.  While I was at the museum, I also took some time to look through the museum exhibits.  How crazy is that – I took myself on a mid-week, mid-afternoon field trip to the museum, all by myself!  I have to admit – it did feel pretty weird to be going to a museum alone, especially in the middle of a week day.

So, what is the Freeman House?

freeman house owner history
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The Freeman House was once a store. Here’s some history of how it started.

Per the Historic Vienna website,

Built in 1859 and originally known as Lydecker Store, the Freeman Store and Museum operated as a general store until the late 1920s, after which it served as a residence until 1955. The building also operated as a post office and served in various capacities for both the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War. In 1969, the building was was sold to the Town of Vienna by Leon Freeman’s daughter, Dorothy. In 1976, the Town of Vienna restored the building to its earlier appearance as a United States Bicentennial project.

On September 22, 2011, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (DHR) accepted Vienna’s application and placed the Freeman Store and Museum on the Virginia Landmarks Register. The Freeman Store and Museum is the only structure in Vienna to hold this highly sought after designation.

On May 15, 2012, the National Park Service approved the Freeman Store and Museum’s application and listed the building in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).

 

Women’s Suffrage Exhibit

The museum will feature a different women’s suffrage exhibit each year through 2020.  This year’s exhibit is titled The Womens Rights Movement through Cartoons.

freeman house womens rights cartoons advertisements
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The women’s rights as seen through advertisements and comics.
alice paul 19th amendment
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We are invited to don a banner and take a selfie with Alice Paul, celebrating the passage of the 19th Amendment.

 

World War I Exhibit

Here we are – the main attraction that drew me in today! In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, Historic Vienna Inc.’s 2018 main exhibit, located on the second floor, is entitled Home Front – The Great War and Vienna.  Vienna did not play a large part in the war but it still affected the lives of Americans everywhere.

WWI exhibit freeman house vienna
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WWI exhibit at the Freeman House in Vienna – small but nicely put together and full of information and memorabilia
WWI doughboy uniform
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WWI “Doughboy” Uniform
WWI garden propoganda
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Do your part – save food and plant a garden!
WWI medic kit
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A WWI medic kit. As always I am fascinated by the doctor stuff. I’m pretty sure I have an
wartime ambulance driver in my family tree.
WWI movies and music
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Art reflects life. Books, music, and movies about the war.
boy scouts afloat adventure book george durston 1921
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The Boy Scouts Afloat book published in 1921. It looks like a pretty interesting story. Too bad it’s locked up behind glass!
WWI Vienna VA connection Dyer Gunnell
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Two Doughboys from Vienna serving in WWI – George Bryant Dyer and Clarence Lieth Gunnell. In total 73 men from Vienna served in the war.

Pieces of Vienna’s Past

Also on the second floor of the Freeman House is the permanent exhibit of antique furnishings that belonged to the town’s earliest residents.

Freeman house antiques
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Upstairs at the Freeman House there are antiques from Vienna families on display.
freeman house antiques
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More old Vienna furniture
Freeman house original post office
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The top drawer of this chest was the original Vienna post office in 1857.

Gift Shop and More

Now that I have toured the entire museum, I’m back on the first floor to check out the gift shop and a few other displays.

freeman house gift shop post office
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Part of the gift shop with the old post office counter behind
freeman house post office counter
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Behind the counter in the post office display
historic vienna inc pamphlets
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These pamphlets are great! Full of information about other historic sites in town (I live down the street from one!).

Love for local museums

On one of our many drives across west Texas, we stopped at the West of the Pecos Museum in Pecos, Texas.  Like the Freeman House, it’s just a small museum in a small town.  The West of the Pecos Museum showed US history but through the eyes of the town of Pecos.  I found it intriguing to view the events of time that we all know about but to see it through the eyes and lives of the people who lived there, in west Texas, and how it all affected them.  Who went to war, who came back, who was the town dentist, who was the mayor during the Vietnam war, etc.  A local, more personal, twist on the history we read about in textbooks.

Quick and easy

The Freeman House museum is small.  I only spent about half an hour here.  I could have spent a little longer if I took the time to read all the posted information but even then an hour would be about the most time you would need to see the museum and gift shop offerings.  I did not venture down into the Book Cellar though.  They have used books for sale in the basement.  I’m sure if I had gone down, my visit time would have doubled because – books!

Parking was easy on a Wednesday afternoon but would be trickier on the weekends when Church Street and the bike trail are busier.

The Freeman House Store and Museum – quick, easy, and worth a visit!

 

The Freeman House museum in Vienna, VA is a lovely source of local history. Rotating exhibits change periodically while permanent exhibits honor Vienna's past.
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