Embark on a Voyage Through Time

Begin in prehistoric days with a model of the Zeuglodon, a fifty million year old ancestor of the whale whose giant bones were unearthed here in Essex County, VA. Explore the land of the Rappahannock Indians as Captain John Smith did when he sailed the river and mapped their village called Toppahannock in 1608. See artifacts of the English Colony, War of 1812 and the Civil War. Experience the story of African –Americans in Essex and the colorful era when steamboats landed at wharves along the Rappahannock River. Children will enjoy a natural habitat exhibit featuring birds and animals native to our area.

World War 1 and Essex County
As the centennial of the United States' entry into World War I on April 6, 1917, approaches, a new exhibition in the Essex Gallery will explore how this first great global conflict affected Essex county.
When Congress declared war on Germany, about 160 Essex men joined more than 2 million U.S. soldiers under the command of Major General John J. Pershing to fight on the battlefields of France, together with the forces of our allies, Britain, France and Russia. During the course of the war, five Essex men were killed in battle; several more died while in the service. Two Essex soldiers received the Distinguished Service Cross. On the home front, Essex women, both black and white, formed fifteen Red Cross branch chapters to provide clothing and supplies for their loved ones fighting overseas. Germany formally surrendered on November, 11, 1918.

The exhibition will feature the 1918 Tappahannock wedding of Robert Haile Sisson whose World War I uniform recently was donated to the museum. Robert Haile Sisson of Essex enlisted in World War I. In 1918 he married Mary Louise Southworth, the daughter of Harrison Southworth of Tappahannock at the Southworth family home. Southworth served in the Virginia Legislature and was Clerk of the Court of Essex county.

Other artifacts on display will include period photographs, documents, weapons, and a gas mask and helmet. The exhibition opened in May, 2016.
  First Lieutenant William A. Wright
  Click here to see the full list of Essex County WW 1 veterans.
  Read the Essex County museum article about WW 1 in Essex.
Carl D. Silver Gallery
“A Brush with History: Paintings by Sidney E. King from the Collection of Herbert R. Collins ”
Creator of nearly two hundred large historical paintings for the National Park service placed on historic sites, Sidney King’s magic made the past come alive. Herb Collins, retied Smithsonian curator, King’s neighbor, friend and patron, collected many of his works. King was born near Boston in 1906 and painted until age 92. He died in 2002. Our exhibit ranges from Jamestown to the last days of the wounded Stonewall Jackson. Highlights include a spring scene at Meadow Farm, home of the young colt Secretariat, later Triple Crown winner, and King’s self portrait in his studio as he paints the 1862 Battle of Drewry’s Bluff. Over the years, local aspiring artists enjoyed the painting classes King conducted in Tappahannock, Bowling Green and Fredericksburg.
  Self-portrait painting by artist Sidney E. King.
  Click here to see some the Essex Museum highlights on show of the Sidney King collection.
“From Sandlot to Semipro: Baseball in Essex County”
Featuring photos and memorabilia covering post Civil War village teams to the present.
Essex Gallery
“African American pathways in Essex”
Featuring a slave made chair and the April 3rd Emancipation Celebration.
“River Exhibit”
Showcasing items from the Steamboat landing at Saunders Wharf, photos of steamboats, and nautical items.
“Civil War 150th”
Click this link to preview some of the future events planned by the Essex County Sesquicentennial commemoration commission.
Links to other Exhibits
Historic Highway Markers in Essex County
The self-guided visual tour of all 21 historic markers in Essex County: Essex County Historic Markers
A Tour of Abandoned Mills in Essex County
Essex County Historical Society - A visual tour of 3 historic abandoned mills in Essex County: Essex County Abandoned Mills Tour includes Essex Mill, Fleet's Mill, and Owen's Mill. May 2004.
A Tour of Little Egypt, Tappahannock
Essex County Museum - A visual tour of Little Egypt in Tappahannock: Little Egypt Tour - May 2010.
ECMHS Home Page