Park Authority

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Open during regular business hours 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday

TTY 711

12055 Government Center Pkwy.
Fairfax, Virginia 22035

Kirk Kincannon,
Executive Director


The Fairfax County Park Authority’s Museum Collections are home to more than 5,000 museum objects (chairs, quilts, baskets, machines, clothing) ,
thousands of archival items (photographs, maps, letters and other documents), upwards of three million artifacts (archaeological discoveries such as spear points, pottery) . They are the stories of Fairfax County.

A Thimble Sheds Light on the Lives of Women in History

A Thimble Sheds Light on the Lives of Women in History

The thimble is a simple tool used to protect a finger, usually a thumb, from a needle while sewing or embroidering. This tool has been around for many years in one form or another. It can be made from a variety of materials like bone, wood or metal. Until the 1700s, metal thimbles were mainly hand-made, meaning they were more expensive than in later years and would be thicker and less uniform. By the 18th-century, machine-made thimbles were in homes across the American colonies. They were more uniform and easier to acquire.

In antiquity, a thimble is a tool that is usually gender specific. Women often were the only ones sewing in a household. These particular thimbles appear to be machine-made and were recovered from a late-18th to early-19th century archaeology site, a suspected slave quarters in which archaeological and historic evidence indicates women lived and worked. Archaeologists use information they gather from such sites to paint a broader picture of the daily lives of people who left a thimble behind.

For more information about artifacts and current excavations around Fairfax County, see

Other artiFacts