Our Beginning

Farmer sharpening tools with his two horses.
A farmer sharpening his plowpoint.

In conjunction with the celebration of American independence, in 1975 a group of ambitious individuals proposed the creation of an expansive outdoor museum that would interpret the contributions made by settlers from backcountry communities of England, Germany, Ireland, and West Africa that pioneered our Western frontier in the 1700s. In 1978, the Virginia General Assembly authorized the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation to prepare a feasibility study for the land at the junction of I-64 and I-81 as the potential museum site. The study concluded that the site was exceedingly well suited for what would be become the celebrated Frontier Culture Museum. To obtain the necessary capital funds, the American Frontier Culture Foundation was incorporated in 1982 as a tax-exempt, 501(c)3 organization to accept all private donations for the museum. The Foundation raised funds to acquire, move and reassemble the historic buildings and acquire the artifacts and furnishings and interpret them.

Today, the Foundation continues to support current and new permanent and temporary exhibits, the acquisition and reconstruction of historic buildings, the reproduction of historic buildings and furnishings, and the preservation of historic buildings and artifacts at the Frontier Culture Museum. The Foundation also provides the Museum with resources for illuminating teacher education programs, entertaining lectures, workshops, special programs and much needed school fieldtrips to the Museum.