Art, history, and hands-on fun. Charlottesville has historical sites, museums and galleries that perfectly blend education and entertainment. You'll finish your trip smarter and with a smile. Win-win!
One of Charlottesville’s most exclusive galleries, Second Street features exhibitions from established artists both local and national. Recent shows include multi-media collage by Sharon Shapiro and meditative mark making by Richmond artist Theodora Miller.
Reopening in fall 2021 after a full renovation, the Fralin is home to a permanent collection of more than 14,000 paintings, photographs and other art objects. Past exhibitions have included Select Works from The Alan Groh-Buzz Collection, with works by Andy Warhol, Marisol Escobar and Isamu Noguchi, and Unexpected O’Keeffe: The Virginia Watercolors and Later Paintings.
A multi-story former school in downtown Charlottesville, the McGuffey Art Center is the studio home of dozens of local artists, who create and exhibit in the space. You’ll find textile artist Fenella Belle and photographer Stacey Evans as well as jewelry maker and painter Robin Braun, known for, among other things, exquisite miniature oil paintings of nighttime nature scenes.
Visitors who love history, and those with children, will enjoy the Lewis & Clark Exploratory Center in Darden Towe Park. The hands-on center focuses on the historic journey west and the histories of the rivers that were an integral part of that voyage. Check the Center’s event calendar for hands-on activities for the whole family.
A family classic in Charlottesville for decades, the Virginia Discovery Museum is a magnet for visitors with children age 8 and under. Toddlers have their own spaces to climb and explore and the older kids will be thrilled by the historic cabins for make-believe play and various STEM activities.
It’s Charlottesville’s most famous historical site, and even if you’ve been here before, it’s worth another visit. In recent years, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, which operates Monticello, has emphasized the full history of Monticello and the role of slavery in its construction and operation. The Saunders-Monticello Trail offers a gentle sloping hike up to Monticello for those who’d like to combine exercise with cultural education.