Essex Gallery Exhibits include:
The Prehistoric Era – Meet a sixty-foot-long, 50-million-year-old whale, called the Zeuglodon, who lived in the shallow ocean that once covered the land that became Essex County.
The Rappahannock Tribe – The “People of the Tidal Water” as their name translates, lived and hunted in the woodlands along the life-sustaining river, hundreds of years before the English arrived.
English Colony, 17th and 18th Centuries – Ancient forests gave way to roads, tobacco fields and the port of Tappahannock, as the colonists established homes and roads and ultimately a brand-new nation.
Rise of Old Essex, 19th Century – The influence of prominent Essex statesmen and leaders spread to the state capital in Richmond and beyond, only to be brought to ruin by a devastating Civil War.
20th Century Trends – The coming of the automobile and improved roads and businesses brought the first bridge across the Rappahannock, as Essex citizens responded to two World Wars.
African American Pathways – The first enslaved people arrived in the 1600s and became an essential core of the workforce that built Essex; upon their liberation at the close of the Civil War, they built churches and schools that further enriched the life and traditions of the county.
U.S.S. Tappahannock – A scale model of the 520-foot-long fleet oiler, naval uniforms and artifacts tell the story of the globe-roaming ship from its launch during World War II to its final years of service during the Viet Nam War.
Fort Lowry and the Collapse of the Confederacy – Essex County’s participation in the Civil War is recalled with a model of the earthen Fort Lowry on the Rappahannock, an actual period cannon and other artifacts of the period.
Clash of Cultures, Captain John Smith in the land of the Rappahannocks – Smith’s 1608 exploratory journey from the mouth of the Rappahannock to its falls features his exciting encounters with the Indian tribes along the way.
Carl D. Silver Gallery Exhibits include:
Rappahannock Voyage: The story of Essex and the River – Experience a century of river traditions with an actual wooden rowing skiff, boat models and a 16-foot-long pictorial map of the river, as well as oyster dredges and artifacts and photos from the steamboat era.
Animals of Essex – A bobcat, a rare white piebald deer and a Canada goose coming in for a landing are just a few of the mounted species that portray the rich wildlife of Essex county.