Our Commonwealth

Daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Margaret Moore Hall Gallery 

 This new signature exhibition provides an in-depth, multi-sensory journey through the five major regions of Virginia and features stories and artifacts from across the state to reveal that place is not only about geography, but also the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves.

Our Commonwealth exhibition depicts multimedia displays related to Virginia's regions

Square feet: 5,196 

Number of artifacts: 260 

About the Exhibition:  Complementing the existing Story of Virginia exhibition which walks visitors through history in a timeline format, the rich cultural overview of Our Commonwealth immerses visitors in the landscapes, foodways, industries, and people that make up this diverse state.   

Highlights:  Scenic elements and large-scale, slowly changing digital projections called “living murals” frame the narrative footprint of each region to capture the unique essence of Virginians’ relationship with that place. Regionally-inspired lighting treatments and soundscapes complete the effect of bringing guests into the “place” essence of each of the regions.  

Digging Deep into Our Commonwealth: Visitors to the exhibition can explore Virginia in many ways, including interactive digital displays that take you on a journey to discover the people, places, history, and culture that make each region unique:

  • Take in the delectable cuisine of Tidewater
  • Explore one of America’s most diverse communities in Northern Virginia
  • Travel through time on Virginia’s historic roads and waterways
  • Delight in the music, crafts, and natural beauty of Southwest (and explore regional dance steps)
  • Be inspired by the stories of an African American family whose Virginia roots go back nearly 300 years    

Our Commonwealth Featured Artifacts

A black and gold painted wooden carousel horse
Carousel Horse attributed to James William Sheetz (American, 1851–1923), 1880–1890.

From the Narrow Passage Creek area, Shenandoah County, Virginia. Made of yellow pine, marbled glass, horsehair, paint. Courtesy of the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley. Photo by Ron Blunt.

Davis Cup championship ring awarded to Arthur Ashe, 1970
Davis Cup championship ring awarded to Arthur Ashe, 1970

From the VMHC Collection, 2019.35.

UVA silk boating scarf
University of Virginia silk boating scarf, 1888

From the VMHC Collection, 1976.7. Gift of D. (David) Tennant Bryan.

A painting of Peyton Randolph with a wig, brown jacket, and white frilled shirt
Painting of Peyton Randolph (1721-1775) by John Wollaston, 1755-58.

From the VMHC Collection, 1858.6.

Explore the Exhibition

Our Commonwealth is organized into five sections of multi-sensory displays through which visitors can immerse themselves in the artifacts and stories of the five major regions of Virginia.

A rendering of the Central Virginia section of Our Commonwealth
Central Virginia
A rendering of the Northern Virginia section of Our Commonwealth
Northern Virginia
A rendering of the Shenandoah Valley section of Our Commonwealth
Shenandoah Valley
A rendering of the Southwestern Virginia section of Our Commonwealth
Southwest Virginia
A rendering of the Tidewater section of Our Commonwealth

Special Partners 

Central Virginia 
Lynchburg Museum
Fredericksburg Area Museum
Northern Virginia 
Office of Historic Alexandria
Manassas Museum
Shenandoah Valley 
Museum of the Shenandoah Valley
Rockbridge Historical Society 
Southwestern Virginia 
Blue Ridge Institute and Museum 
WKMA/Never the Same Museum 
Historical Society Eastern Shore of Virginia 
Mariners’ Museum and Park