The Museum of Culpeper History has over 3,000 gifts and loans catalogued in its collections, including physical objects, photographs and works of art, and some archival material. Some gifts consist of a single item, while others are composed of multiple objects. The museum collection is open to all researchers and we especially welcome historians studying aspects of Culpeper county’s past.
Due to the museum’s limited facilities, researchers must request an appointment at least two weeks in advance to access the collection. The request must include as detailed information as possible on the material to be studied so that our staff may locate and pull the objects from collections storage. The more specific the information provided, the more likely we will be successful in finding the correct material. PLEASE NOTE: The museum does not have any genealogical research materials and does not perform genealogical research.
For researchers who are unable to travel to our facilities, the museum will attempt to answer research questions to the best of its ability with its limited staff and resources. The museum will provide up to 30 minutes of quick reference research. This is generally enough time for us to consult our collections catalog and previously published material on Culpeper history to see if any information is readily available. Detailed research requests cannot be accommodated at this time.
For research questions and for appointments to access the museum collection, please contact our Executive Director at [email protected].
Research at the museum is subject to the following restrictions:
- Please be as specific as possible regarding the material you wish to access or when making a research request. For example, a good request would be, “I am looking for material on the Slaughter family around Cedar Mountain from 1910-1930,” or “I am looking for images of Culpeper buildings in the 1950s.” A request like “I am looking for material from the Civil War” is very broad and should be narrowed down.
- Photography of any material in the museum collection is not allowed without permission from museum staff.
- Photocopies and scans of museum material may be requested from museum staff for a fee.
- Items from the museum collection may not be published in any format without permission. Usage fees may apply.
- The museum does not have any genealogical research materials and does not perform genealogical research.
- The museum has has very little material that may assist in determining the history of a building or property. Most of this material in the form of deeds, surveys, and tax records will be found in public records at the Culpeper County Courthouse.
Culpeper History Resources
Culpeper County Public Library – Local History Room
The Local History Room at the Culpeper County Library contains volumes on Virginia history and genealogy. Strictly a reference collection, these materials may be used by library visitors conducting genealogical and historical research on site. The collection includes county histories for Culpeper County and surrounding counties, information on the Germanna colonists, and books regarding colonial Virginia records. Included in the collection are abstract books of the early will and deed records for Culpeper and Orange counties; these books are the best starting point for those researching ancestors in this area in the 1700’s. The Local History Room contains a section of compiled family histories and a file collection for Culpeper names and history topics. The microfilm collection includes local newspapers going back to the late 1890’s.
Library of Virginia
The principal library for genealogical research in Virginia is the Library of Virginia in Richmond, which serves as the official archival repository of the commonwealth and houses such materials as deeds, wills, vital records, and military service records. Many of their records, including Virginia newspapers, have been digitized and are available online at https://www.virginiamemory.com/.
Culpeper County Clerk of the Court
Culpeper is in the 16th Judicial District of Virginia. The Clerk of the Court is the custodian of court records and the clerk’s office records deeds and issues marriage licenses. It also has authority to probate wills.
Virginia Department of Health Office of Vital Records
Located in Richmond, the Office of Vital Records maintains Virginia birth, death, marriage, and divorce records. Not all information is public record.
Start at your Local Library
Even if you do not reside in Virginia, your local library may have access to research tools such as databases of digital journals and newspapers, genealogical websites, and online government records. They may be able to request books or microfilm for you from other institutions through interlibrary loan. If your local library has a local history room, their staff may be able to provide suggestions to get you started without conducting extensive travel. If you live near a college or university, their library may have more extensive resources.
Hire a Historian
If you are unable to conduct your own historical research in Virginia, you may wish to consider contracting with a professional researcher. The Library of Virginia compiled this list of professional researchers in Virginia. This list is not a referral or an endorsement of their work. Rates, terms, and conditions may vary greatly between researchers on this list.
Museum of Culpeper History
113 S. Commerce Street
Culpeper, VA 22701
Phone: (540) 829-1749
10am – 4pm
CLOSED: Thanksgiving Day, Day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve, New Year's Day