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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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