Touring the Manassas Museum & Liberia House
Inside the Manassas Museum
Inside Liberia House
Touring the Manassas Museum was the first thing I wanted to do when I arrived in the small town outside of DC. I had rented a B&B to stay the night, but before I settled in, I walked down to the museum (the town really is that small) to get a sense of the people and their history.
The city of Manassas was built up around the train station after the Civil War and was incorporated into a city in 1873. The area is known for the 1st Battle of Manassas, one of the first land battles in the Civil War. Occupied by both Union and Confederates, the Civil War history is very important to this town. Several buildings and parks in the area are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including the Liberia House, now operated by the Manassas Museum.
The Museum is small, three rooms total, but almost all the artifacts were donated by local citizens, making it a very personal museum.
The history covers the Native Americans through Civil War, and even more up to date historical events. In the main hall, they have rotating galleries each season.
Some of the most impressive aspects of the museum, to me, are the walking tours and cemetery tours given by the docents of the museum.
Here are some of my favorite tours and events happening through the Manassas Museum:
– Old Town Walking Tours
These tours start at the museum and are included with the price of your museum ticket. Learn about the town in an interactive way and get a little exercise while you’re at it! May 24- August 30th, daily.
– Bicycle Tour
Explore even more of the area on bike! Bring your own bike. March through November, $5 dollars a person.
– Architectural Tour of Old Town Businesses
Learn more about why and how some of the buildings in Manassas were built the way they were. Twice a year, check the museum’s website for more information.
– Spirits of Manassas and Cemetery tours
Usually happening around October, join a spooky ghost tour of the paranormal and weird through the town of Manassas.
– Holidays at Liberia
A one of a kind look at the history of Liberia House during the 1860’s at Christmas time. With this experience, you’ll get to tour to rarely open to the public Liberia House and celebrate the holidays.
The Liberia House is a new acquisition for the museum and needs a pretty good renovation, which the museum is currently fundraiser for now. (Tickets to Holidays at Liberia help with those renovations.) The house is located right off a main road, but because of the heavy tree line, many residents never knew it existed. The house and the grounds are gorgeous; I could easily see this being the most coveted wedding location in Northern Virginia in the future. The lawn is sweeping, with big beautiful trees all around. The renovation plans include bringing the house back to the grander of its day- and rebuilding the front porch, columns and entry drive.
Inside, the Liberia House still has the old wallpapers and even a few spots where soldiers had written their names on the walls. The walls are covered in glass now, so that they can be preserved as much as possible. When you visit the attic, you get to see how the roofing beams were made and installed (numbers on each beam are different and still visible for tourists to see). It was quite a special feat building that house.
If you have time, make sure to schedule your visit of the Manassas Museum on a day when you can also take a tour of Liberia House. It is the best way to take what you see inside the Manassas Museum and see what those houses looked like at the time.
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