Monacan museum worth a visit

Contributed by Evelyn Edson, president
Scottsville Museum

The Monacan Indian Museum is located at Bear Mountain near Amherst on traditional Monacan land.  The last few years have been exciting and productive for the Monacan nation.  After being told in the early 20th century that there was no such thing as a Virginia Indian, the Monacans have gained recognition first in 1989 from the commonwealth of Virginia, and in 2018 as a federally recognized tribe.  This status has enabled the group to apply for various grants and other support, and bolstered its fight to save Rassawek, their ancient capital, from destruction as part of a water project.

The museum is located at 2009 Kenmore Road in a small building next to the historic schoolhouse.  Recently refurbished, it displays artifacts from traditional Monacan culture:  arrowheads and spear points, stone tools, baskets, shell jewelry, gaming pieces, and tobacco pipes.  There is also information about the Episcopal mission that came to Bear Mountain in 1907, providing a church and conducting a school for Monacan children who were barred from attending Virginia’s segregated schools until 1963.

We visited the museum this past week to arrange for the loan of some artifacts from the Monacan Museum.  We are thrilled and grateful for their generosity, and you may see the wonderful items we have borrowed when you visit us later in the spring.

The Monacan Indian Museum is open Tuesdays through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Call ahead at:  434-946-5391 or visit their website,

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