Heritage Conservation

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION:

703-324-8586
TTY 711

12055 Government Center Pkwy.
Fairfax, Virginia 22035

David Buchta, MHP ,
Heritage Conservation Branch Manager

Museum Collections

About Fairfax County Museum Collections

Historic, upholstered chairThe Fairfax County Park Authority collects and preserves the material culture that represents our heritage from prehistory to present day. In addition to original structures and archaeological materials at historic parks, the Park Authority collects objects, documents and other materials that represent the general history, growth and development of Fairfax County and that are associated with:

The history of Fairfax County

The early history of county park sites

The families who lived and worked at these sites

Individual communities

These materials support interpretation at Park Authority historic sites and in outreach exhibits. They promote the enjoyment, understanding and appreciation of Fairfax County material heritage and historic resources.
 
Museum Quality Care
The Park Authority follows museum practices and professional standards of stewardship in caring for and preserving its Historic Object Collections. The agency maintains them as a legacy for future generations.
The Park Authority defines stewardship as the careful, responsible and sustainable management of the natural, cultural and historic resources entrusted to the Park Authority by the citizens of Fairfax County for present and future generations.
The Museum Collections Section is a vital component of the agency's professional accreditation. Colvin Run Mill, Sully Historic Site and Green Spring Gardens were accredited by the American Association of Museums in 2000.

Collections

The Park Authority's permanent Historic Object Collection consists of nearly 6,000 objects dating from the 18th century. They are displayed in long-term and changing exhibits at Park Authority historic site museums and parks and in community outreach exhibits.
 
Selected highlights:
  • A pair of 18th century American heartback mahogany side chairs, made in Philadelphia and original to Sully
  • A 19th century desk on frame, used by the miller at Colvin Run Mill
  • A log cabin quilt made in Fairfax County
  • A coiled straw basket with lid, attributed to African-Americans living at Fruitvale Plantation near Chantilly
  • A broom machine made and used by a man from the Colvin Run community
Other significant collections
  • Quilts, coverlets and clothing dating from the 19th and early 20th centuries
  • Civil War-era maps, engravings, and artifacts
  • Handwritten accounts from the Machen family farm at Walney
  • The Carlotta Gonzales and Richard Lahey Collection of furniture and folk art
  • Memorabilia from the local Grange organization
  • Grain sacks from the 19th and 20th centuries
  • The Henry Moffett Collection of blacksmith and wheelwright tools, circa 1900-1950
  • Collections of 19th century grist milling, cobbler and woodworking tools
Archives and Special Collections
Archives Collection
  • More than 4,000 archival items - photographs, maps, letters and other documents - support interpretation of site history, document the period of Park Authority ownership and restoration of historic structures, and preserve the history of site ownership. Similar materials illustrate the early history of Fairfax County communities like Floris, Centreville and Bailey’s Crossroads.
Special Collections
  • The Charles Newlon Collection of photographs of Centreville, Virginia
  • Oral history transcripts describing daily life in Fairfax County from the early to middle 20th century
  • Documentation files for the African-American community at Sully, circa 1746-1850
Historic housewares

 

Donations

The Park Authority welcomes donations of objects, documents and other materials that meet the criteria above. Finite space and stewardship resources may play a role in the decision for acceptance of offered materials.
Donated objects and historic items support exhibits, research and interpretation at Park Authority historic sites and outreach displays.
Park Authority staff members are happy to talk with you about acquiring materials associated with park sites and Fairfax County history. If you have historic materials you would like to donate to the Park Authority, please call 703-631-1429.

Research

Access to either the Historic Object Collection or the Archives Collection for research purposes may be arranged. For information, call 703-631-1429.

Volunteering

Help is always needed in Collections. Volunteers assist with annual inventory, installation of special exhibits, research, cataloging, cleaning and storing historic artifacts. Collections Management volunteers receive special training in handling and moving museum objects. For information, see the volunteer page or call 703-631-1429.

Internships

The Fairfax County Park Authority is proud of its ability and opportunity to provide intern programs for individuals seeking on-the-job experience in all aspects of Park Authority operations. Information about internship opportunities in the parks

Historic housewares

 

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