Virginia State Seal Virginia Department of Historic Resources

The Virginia Department of Historic Resources is the State Historic Preservation Office.
Our mission is to foster, encourage, and support the stewardship of Virginia's significant historic architectural, archaeological, and cultural resources.

Historic Virginia

State Adds Eight Historic Sites to the Virginia Landmarks Register, September 2021

Four thumbnail images of buildings.
Properties approved for listing on the VLR in September 2021.

—VLR listings are in the counties of Amherst, Campbell, Fauquier (2), Gloucester, Henrico, Richmond and Roanoke—

Among eight places listed in September on the Virginia Landmarks Register (VLR) are two historic districts originally spurred into existence during the past century’s World Wars, a frontier tavern opened in the 1760s, a grist mill that operated into the 21st century, and a Boy Scout cabin built in the 1930s by the Works Progress Administration.

…continue reading the story
called State Adds Eight Historic Sites to the Virginia Landmarks Register, September 2021

Ask an Archaeologist: Points Collected in Isle of Wight County

Points found in Isle of Wight Co.
Photo submitted by Rhodes showing points collected in Isle of Wight Co.

Dear Mr. Clem,
My name is Rhodes D., and I am 9 years old.
This is a picture of my grandfather’s arrow heads. This year I’m studying Native Americans.
I would love it if you told me some information on these arrowheads. They were found in my great grandfather’s farm fields in southern Isle of Wight County of Virginia.

Thank you. I appreciate it!


…continue reading the story
called Ask an Archaeologist: Points Collected in Isle of Wight County

Virginia Archaeology Month 2021

2021 Archaeology Month Poster
2021 Archaeology Month Poster.

Every October, Virginia celebrates archaeology through special events and programs at libraries, museums, historical societies, clubs, and at active archaeological sites. The theme of DHR’s 2021 Archaeology Month poster is “Black Scholarship Across Time” and it features a historic image (from UVa’s Jackson Davis Collection) of student and teachers in a classroom circa 1930 (the school is not identified) and a recent photograph of archaeologists excavating a pit at the Woodville (Rosenwald) School in Gloucester County. The flip side of the poster presents a photographic compilation of 63 Black, segregation-era schools listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places. DHR is currently compiling an October Calendar of Events for Archaeology Month that we will post to our website. For more information about archaeology month, or to add an event to the calendar contact Laura Galke, Chief Curator, State Archaeology Division (804 /482-6441). To receive a free copy of this year’s poster, please fill out the form below.

…continue reading the story
called Virginia Archaeology Month 2021

DHR Announces 2021 Virginia Battlefield Preservation Grants to Protect 441 Acres

Civil War-era photo of Todd's Tavern
Civil War-era photo of Todd’s Tavern. (Library of Congress)

–General Assembly allotted $1 million for battlefield preservation in 2021–

–Targeted tracts are in the counties of Augusta, Henrico, Shenandoah, and Spotsylvania–

RICHMOND – The Department of Historic Resources has awarded grants from this year’s Virginia Battlefield Preservation Fund that will protect more than 441 acres associated with Civil War battlefields, including tracts affiliated with the actions of United States Colored Troops. The acreage targeted for preservation is located in Augusta, Henrico, Shenandoah, and Spotsylvania counties.

…continue reading the story
called DHR Announces 2021 Virginia Battlefield Preservation Grants to Protect 441 Acres

Updated Supplement for “A Guidebook to Virginia’s African American Historical Markers”

Cover of supplement for guidebookSince the publication in 2019 of A Guidebook to Virginia’s African American Historical Markers, the Virginia Board of Historic Resources has approved 75 new state markers about people, places, or events in Virginia’s Black history. Consisting of the texts of 309 markers, the Guidebook is current through June 2019.

DHR now offers a PDF that reproduces the texts of the 75 more recent markers. Designed to match the 2019 book’s appearance and current through June 2021, the PDF is available for free in two different formats:

…continue reading the story
called Updated Supplement for “A Guidebook to Virginia’s African American Historical Markers”

African American Watermen Project

Flyer announcing project.
A postcard announcing the project.

The renowned seafood industry of the Chesapeake Bay would not have been possible without the contributions of generations of African Americans.

Following the Civil War, self-employment in oystering, crabbing, fishing, and boat building provided independence and self-sufficiency for Black watermen. Labor employment opportunities also supported the processing, packing, and shipping of seafood to all parts of the eastern United States.

…continue reading the story
called African American Watermen Project

Re-Emergence of an Enslaved Family Cemetery on an Albemarle Farm

View of cemetery cornerstone, looking south
A cemetery cornerstone at Mount Fair that memorializes its historical burial ground for the enslaved. (DHR/ Brad McDonald)

When John and Dudley Macfarlane purchased a historic farmstead in Virginia’s Blue Ridge in 2003, they knew of the work ahead of them—rehabilitating the main house, outfitting the barns, and taming the horse pastures—would take time. Once they were moved in and the Macfarlanes began to walk the fields and woods of their new property and speak with their neighbors, they soon realized there were additional tasks requiring their attention.

…continue reading the story
called Re-Emergence of an Enslaved Family Cemetery on an Albemarle Farm

Expanding DHR’s Record of Virginia Cemeteries

Inscribed fieldstone
An inscribed fieldstone at the Bear Mountain (Monacan) Cemetery in Amherst Co.

Like many organizations, DHR is challenged with managing and correcting a record of the past that is incomplete and does not yet fit the needs or reflect the complexities of all of our constituent communities. Our staff is making efforts to correct that record however, and some of those results can be seen in the agency’s cemetery records.

…continue reading the story
called Expanding DHR’s Record of Virginia Cemeteries

Remembering What We’d Rather Forget–Memento Mori

skull and crossbones
Memento mori on a grave table stone at Aquia Church Cemetery, Stafford Co.

The image of the naked skull and crossed femurs is a universal symbol that warns viewers of the presence of mortal danger. From poison to pirates, that hard grin is a reminder of the basic fragility of the human body. The same imagery can be seen in artwork, including funerary art, with human skulls and bones used in both portraiture and still life painting to reference the brevity of life. This artistic tradition is known as memento mori, Latin for “remember death.”

…continue reading the story
called Remembering What We’d Rather Forget–Memento Mori

One Virginia: DHR’s Strategic Plan for Inclusive Excellence

Cover of DHR's DEI PlanGovernor Northam’s Executive Order One requires that agencies take affirmative measures to enable and encourage the recruitment of a diverse staff. Additionally, as part of the Special 2021 Session of the Virginia General Assembly, Chapter 168 of the Virginia Acts of Assembly mandates that agencies create a complete diversity, equity, and inclusion plan in coordination with the Governor’s Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Developed in accordance with these guiding documents from the Governor and the GA, here is DHR’s “Strategic Plan for Inclusive Excellence.”

What Is Meant by “Historic Resource Survey”

In preservation circles and at DHR, people often refer to a “historic resources survey.” In this brief video (5 min.), DHR’s Blake McDonald, manager of the Architectural Survey & Cost Share Grant Program, explains clearly what exactly such a survey is and entails—and why it does not affect property owners or their property (beyond documenting the property’s historic character).

Subscribe to DHR’s Newsletters

DHR Newsletter Banner

DHR now has two newsletters: a DHR Quarterly Newsletter, and a newsletter for Register Program Updates. We invite you to subscribe to our newsletters.  Once you have signed, you will receive an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Any questions or problems, please contact Randy Jones at DHR. We look forward to hearing from you and keeping you up to date with DHR’s register programs and other preservation news and Virginia history.


Natural Disaster Recovery Advisory