An exciting and visible commitment to the community, its residents and visitors by the Westmoreland County Museum and Library
It has often been said that we must learn from the past in order to build towards our future. As most area residents know the Town of Montross has begun the significant, serious and exciting task of revitalizing its town and future. This effort will have a strong economic impact on the community and the county and will have a positive lasting effect on residents and visitors alike.
In 2011, the Museum finalized arrangements to secure the building known as the Wakefield Furniture Company. Within a year, we planned to begin an exciting refurbishment project that will showcase the building as it appeared between the 1930’s and the 1950’s, a highlight in the long and important era of Westmoreland’s history. This building, located directly on Route 3 in the heart of the town, will augment the current museum and building that faces Courthouse Road. The Museum’s rebuilding efforts will complement the town’s revitalization and will save a vital component of the area’s memorable and important past. This new presence located on the main street will create a highly visible and accessible location for everyone to visit.
Plans call for the restoration of the building’s façade so it will appear once again as it did in the 1930’s. There will be an immediate time transformation to an earlier period in the town’s history as visitors enter the building and begin to return to these most exciting times. The front of the store will be transformed into both a general store and Coca Cola soda fountain where each provides visitors with the opportunity to shop, have refreshments and relive, or for younger visitors, experience a time that most remember with fondness.
The center and rear of the new museum building will provide a multi-use space where portraits of many of Westmoreland’s most distinguished inhabitants will hang and artifacts will be displayed to highlight the county’s important and historical past. There will also be space for community functions, meetings, lectures, workshops, demonstrations and other interesting events that will offer both entertainment and education for all who participate.
The upstairs exhibit areas will offer a visualization of the Westmoreland’s people and her many cultures. Display areas will be designed and built to remind visitors of the life and times of those who lived in Westmoreland County over the past four hundred plus years along with exhibits, photographs and other information on the county’s unique natural environment and the region’s many important industries. These include fishing, lumbering and agriculture that still are the mainstays of area economic life as well as those from the past such as the many tomato canneries, long since gone, that provided life and subsistence for many residents and others who lived and worked here.
Why are these subjects important and what do they mean to those who will come to visit and learn about our impressive history? They all represent Westmoreland County is like no other county in Virginia or the nation. Life here was both different and special as a way of life and because of how its people developed and interacted with one another. The Museum’s newest endeavor will develop a constant appreciation of our roots here in the county and as Americans. A way and philosophy of life emerged here that helped lead the way for our fledgling nation. It was like none other and one that we indeed hold very dear and special.
Walt Heyer, director
The Wakefield Building is still being renovated and any donations are greatly appreciated!