"In the Beginning, all America was Virginia."
William Byrd II
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Immerse yourself in Virginia's history by visiting one of our exhibitions.

 

The Story of Virginia
Join us this Thurs., Aug. 22 at noon for a lecture, "Thurgood Marshall: A Life in American History," by Dr. Spencer… t.co/pw9vT9eqAy

Establishing a Nation Gallery

Portrait of George Washington Enter Fullscreen More information
Portrait of George Washington
Portrait of George Washington, 1856 copy of 1796 Gilbert Stuart original, 1857.2 George Washington accepted the presidency in part to insure the implementation of a strong federal government that would bring a diverse citizenry into a lasting union. His leadership enabled him to shape the new government. He made responsible appointments to the new agencies and courts. He influenced domestic legislation and directed foreign affairs.
Portrait of James Madison Enter Fullscreen More information
Portrait of James Madison
Portrait of James Madison, 1856 copy of 1805 Gilbert Stuart original, 1856.2 James Madison conceived a constitution that divided power within the federal government (checks and balances) and between federal and state governments (federalism).
Portrait of Chief Justice John Marshall Enter Fullscreen More information
Portrait of Chief Justice John Marshall
Portrait of Chief Justice John Marshall, 1832, 1988.8 The longest serving chief justice in American history, John Marshall made the Supreme Court coequal with the legislative and executive branches of government.
Map of the Gradual Addition of the Various States to the Territory and the Constitutional Union of the United States of North America Enter Fullscreen More information
Map of the Gradual Addition of the Various States to the Territory and the Constitutional Union of the United States of North America
Map of the Gradual Addition of the Various States to the Territory and the Constitutional Union of the United States of North America, 1825, Map E171 1825:2 This map depicts the Louisiana Purchase.
Sculpture of Captain Meriwether Lewis Enter Fullscreen More information
Sculpture of Captain Meriwether Lewis
Sculpture of Captain Meriwether Lewis and his dog Seaman, 2004, 2007.114 In 1804, President Thomas Jefferson commissioned his private secretary, Meriwether Lewis of Albemarle County, to explore and map the newly acquired Louisiana territory and establish an American presence there before European powers tried to claim it.
United States Army Infantry Coat (Front) worn by Martin Kirtland during the War of 1812 Enter Fullscreen More information
United States Army Infantry Coat (Front) worn by Martin Kirtland during the War of 1812
United States Army Infantry Coat (Front) worn by Martin Kirtland during the War of 1812, 2010.112.1
United States Army Infantry Coat (Back) worn by Martin Kirtland during the War of 1812 Enter Fullscreen More information
United States Army Infantry Coat (Back) worn by Martin Kirtland during the War of 1812
United States Army Infantry Coat (Back) worn by Martin Kirtland during the War of 1812, 2010.112.1
Mameluke Sword (Front) of Lt. Col. Alexander A. Elder, U.S. Marine Corps Enter Fullscreen More information
Mameluke Sword (Front) of Lt. Col. Alexander A. Elder, U.S. Marine Corps
Mameluke Sword (Front) of Lt. Col. Alexander A. Elder, U.S. Marine Corps, late 20th century All Marine officers carry this sword in recognition of the Corps’ first battle on foreign soil, Marines led by Lt. Presley O’Bannon of Fauquier County fought North African pirates in 1805 on the "shores of Tripoli."
Mameluke Sword (Back) of Lt. Col. Alexander A. Elder, U.S. Marine Corps Enter Fullscreen More information
Mameluke Sword (Back) of Lt. Col. Alexander A. Elder, U.S. Marine Corps
Mameluke Sword (Back) of Lt. Col. Alexander A. Elder, U.S. Marine Corps, late 20th century All Marine officers carry this sword in recognition of the Corps’ first battle on foreign soil, Marines led by Lt. Presley O’Bannon of Fauquier County fought North African pirates in 1805 on the "shores of Tripoli."
Portrait of James Monroe Enter Fullscreen More information
Portrait of James Monroe
Portrait of James Monroe, 1880 copy of about 1820 original by Gilbert Stuart, 1880.1
Portrait of George Washington
Portrait of George Washington
Portrait of James Madison
Portrait of James Madison
Portrait of Chief Justice John Marshall
Portrait of Chief Justice John Marshall
Map of the Gradual Addition of the Various States to the Territory and the Constitutional Union of the United States of North America
Map of the Gradual Addition of the Various
Sculpture of Captain Meriwether Lewis
Sculpture of Captain Meriwether Lewis
United States Army Infantry Coat (Front) worn by Martin Kirtland during the War of 1812
United States Army Infantry Coat (Front) w
United States Army Infantry Coat (Back) worn by Martin Kirtland during the War of 1812
United States Army Infantry Coat (Back) wo
Mameluke Sword (Front) of Lt. Col. Alexander A. Elder, U.S. Marine Corps
Mameluke Sword (Front) of Lt. Col.
Mameluke Sword (Back) of Lt. Col. Alexander A. Elder, U.S. Marine Corps
Mameluke Sword (Back) of Lt. Col.
Portrait of James Monroe
Portrait of James Monroe