Last updated: 2/16/2009
154 South Main Street
Amherst, VA 24521
P.O. Box 741
Amherst, VA 24521
Closed on Holidays.
|Tuesday - Saturday||10 AM - 12 PM & 1 PM - 5 PM|
|Sunday - Monday||closed|
The Museum and Genealogy library are free and open to the public.
The museum preserves, collects, and interprets the history and heritage of Amherst County. It houses a library and there is an 1885 schoolhouse on site.
The Old Amherst County Jail: The Amherst County Museum first opened its doors on May 30, 1976. The museum was originally housed in the old county jail which was built in 1891-92 adjacent to the county courthouse. The old jail contained two exhibit rooms on the ground floor. Two jail cells used for storage of artifacts and two rooms on the second floor were used for office and storage/exhibit design. This small building was to be the home of the museum until 1992 when the Museum moved into a larger home on Main Street in Amherst.
The Kearfott-Wood House: The Amherst County Museum & Historical Society is now located in the Kearfott-Wood House on South Main Street in Amherst Virginia. This building is a Georgian Revival or American Four Square style house built in 1907. It was built by a local pharmacist, Dr. Kearfott. He had his business at the same location as the present-day Amherst Pharmacy on Main Street. Dr. Kearfott and his family lived in the house until 1920.
Mr. Wade Wood purchased the property in 1922. He owned a grocery store in Amherst for 60 years. Mr. Wood's two daughters grew up here and the house was the scene of many activities including Sunday afternoon croquet matches. After Mr. Wood passed away in 1960, his wife, Molly, sold the property to Farmers & Merchants Bank. She lived in the house until her death in 1977. The house was then used for storage by the bank until the museum purchased the property in 1988.
The museum moved into its new home in 1992. Two rooms offer changing exhibits on the history of Amherst County. Amherst County Pathways, our exhibit on the history of Amherst County is a permanent fixture at the Museum. On the second floor there is a reference library filled with material on the history of Virginia, local history and genealogical files that may be used for research purposes.
The Tyler Log School: Behind the museum building is the Tyler Log School, which was moved onto the property from its original location in the town of Madison Heights. The school was built about 1885 by Mr. Fielden B. Tyler on his property, the "Duckbill Farm". The building, called the "schoolhouse" or the "school in the grove," was used by Mr. Tyler's and his neighbors' children until the early 1900's. Mr. Tyler was a member of the Amherst County Board of Supervisors and it was at his urging that the first public school in the county was built. This two-room school was named the Tyler School in his honor.
Mrs. Sally Lee Hunt was the first teacher at the log school and her first students were Scott Hunt, and Jesse and Fannie Tyler. During the use of the log school, Libby Kidd, David E. Lewis, John Lewis Tyler II, Eva Wood and Selma Wood were also students there.
Fielden B. Tyler (1842-1921) married Lucy Mary Wingfield (1857-1898) in 1877. They had three children, Jesse W. (1878-1941), Fannie F. (1881-1959) and John Lewis II (1886-1942). The "Duckbill Home" was built about 1820-25 for James Lamkin and had several owners before Mr. Tyler bought the property.
The Amherst County Museum was founded in 1973 by a small group of concerned persons and is today an incorporated body with a membership of over 350 individuals, families, clubs and businesses. The museum executive board consists of 11 voting members, 1 ex-officio member and the Museum Director. The museum serves the county schools, churches and civic organizations and all of the citizens of central Virginia through lectures, exhibits, school programs, and publications.
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