LURAY VALLEY MUSEUM
The Luray Valley Museum is an intriguing and thorough presentation which celebrates our early Shenandoah Valley culture. Visitors begin the tour at the log Stonyman building which houses an overview of the Valley's history, supplemented with historic documents, decorative arts, items of clothing and artifacts. The museum displays items in chronological delivery from pre-contact Native peoples to life in the bustling 1920s. A 1536 Swiss bible in the German vernacular, the centerpiece of the collection, connects the Valley's history and development of the European immigrants who settled the region from Pennsylvania through the ports of the northeast. Natives, Africans and Europeans carved out a life together in the original American frontier.
Beyond the unique artifacts of the Stonyman is a collection of historic, local structures which have been transported with care to the site. Restoration is underway and is representative of a small 19th century farming community.
The seven acre site houses nearly a dozen relocated, reconstructed and newly constructed structures which recreate pioneer life in this area. The Elk Run Dunkard Church, circa 1825, served as temporary quarters for both Union and Confederate soldiers during the Civil War as attested by the signatures that still scatter the interior. In adjacent areas is the 1835 home of the county's first Delegate to the Virginia General Assembly and a restoration of the Hamburg Regular School, the area's first school for African American children. An acquisition from the Smithsonian Institution, a gazebo which depicts Welsh construction, a large threshing barn, a blacksmith's shop, and a corn crib complete the community. A recreated mining station provides a panning opportunity at The Stonyman Mining Company. This giant sluice affords a hands-on activity for children and adults of all ages. As the project evolves, the property's original Shenk Farm House will be furnished and opened to the public for viewing.