Fauquier History Museum

Learn Virginia history from an unusual point of view.

Photo courtesy Fauquier History Museum

Fauquier History Museum

The Fauquier History Museum at The Old Jail offers visitors an unusual way to learn history.

Located in the old Fauquier County prison complex in Warrenton, the Fauquier History Museum offers a fascinating look at local history from an unusual perspective. Comprising two buildings literally used as prisons—the older of the two, built in 1808, was converted to the jailer’s house when the new jail was opened in 1823—the museum houses a mixture of exhibits, according to Teresa Reynolds, chair of the Fauquier Historical Society’s museum committee. Visitors can enjoy depictions of the county’s history over the decades, a “war room” detailing local involvement in various conflicts, a kitchen restored to early 1900s style, original jail cells for both general and maximum security prisoners, lectures, and walking tours. 

Illustration by Ed Fotheringham

Plus, there are opportunities to interact with the original residents, so to speak; the buildings are known to be haunted. “Awhile back, some past board members were in the front room of the 1808 building … when a woman walked out of the kitchen and through a closed door,” says Reynolds. “Five of the seven people saw her. The other two felt the hair on their arms stand up.” In another instance, a longtime docent Reynolds describes as “a serious doubter” was alone in a room that happened to have a very large mirror. He looked up to see a woman standing beside him in the reflection—

although there was no one in the room. Reynolds says a ghostly child roams the upstairs rooms, occasionally giggling and rearranging small items; her hair has been gently tugged when she ignores the antics. Volunteers and visitors have “so many stories,” including mysterious odors, sounds, and experiences; the site is “very active, to say the least,” she concludes. FauquierHistory.org

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