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“Makes history come alive in a unique way”

Frontier Culture Museum
Ranked #2 of 35 things to do in Staunton
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Four working farms, inhabited by interpreters dressed in period costumes, who try to accurately depict what life was like on the farm during the period that they are demonstrating (17th, 18th, and 19th centuries). The farms represent the German, Scotch-Irish, English and American settlers.
Doylestown, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
18 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Makes history come alive in a unique way”
Reviewed September 19, 2013

The approach of this living history museum is unique in our experience. They have imported several homesteads from the 17th century. At each, you learn about the cultures of the people who would have lived there and what that brought to our American way of being as we learned from one another. The only reproduction is the African encampment, all of the other residences are original. The homes are situated so that you cannot see one from the other, yet not so far as to make the walk burdensome. For those with difficulty ambulating, electric golf carts are available for a small fee.

The short film at the visitor's center sets the stage. As we visited each location, Instead of a scripted talk, most of the docents used conversation to elicit what you wanted to know about that period of history, making each stop more personalized. We were impressed by how knowledgeable they were. We didn't come across a question they were unable to answer.

We spent half a day here, but could easily have spent a couple of more hours. Delightful!

Visited April 2013
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Thank Noglutenbeth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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493 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Toledo, Ohio
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 attraction reviews
“Self Guided Must See...enjoyable and educational”
Reviewed September 11, 2013

A home school phenomena. The interpreters (the cast members) take their assignments to heart and that makes it believable and understandable. Take your walking shoes. Carts are available at a charge.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
Thank Darlene W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington, D.C.
Level Contributor
36 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 102 helpful votes
“So Much More Than Expected”
Reviewed September 5, 2013

I was really impressed with the variety of structures and the informed costumed interpreters at this museum of the structures and cultures of the pre-immigration peoples (native Americans, English, Scotch-Irish, Germans, and West Africans) who would come together in the Valley of Virginia from the late 1600s to the early 1800s. I had the good fortune to visit on a spectacular day when the interpreters outnumbered the guests, where all my interactions with the interpreters was one-on-one. But, I imagine a visit even under less-than-ideal conditions would be well worth a stop, informative and entertaining.

With the exception of the houses dating to the mid-1800s, each of the dozen or so structures is isolated from the others, which helps root it in its own time and place on this sprawling site. However, this separation adds a lot of walking time -- great on a pretty day but likely making a visit during inclement weather miserable. The museum offers a shuttle service between some of the structures in 6-seater electric vehicles.

I thought the admission price of $10 for an adult ($9 for AAA members) was a bargain given the variety of exhibits and the number of interpreters.

The site is located immediately off of I-81 in Staunton, VA; do not pass it by. Allow 3 to 4 hours for a thorough visit. Though I visited alone, knowing my own kids, I think they would have enjoyed this from the time they were in the lower grades all the way through high school. The costumed interpreters include teen volunteers, which should help connect school-age kids.

Visited September 2013
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Thank American_Bureaucrat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
42 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Wonderful site!!”
Reviewed September 3, 2013 via mobile

We have seen many heritage sites but nothing that teaches & talk like this place. It shows how our ancestors lived in the Old World & what they found and lived in America. It's upkeep is very realistic plus many of the buildings did come from Europe.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank Colleen814
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Falls Church, VA
Level Contributor
46 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“A True Find”
Reviewed August 31, 2013

The Frontier Culture Museum is not a museum per se; but a village of homes representing the roots of American culture from Europe and the origins of frontier culture as seen through Virginia abodes circa 1750, 1820 and 1850. For those who are disabled, there are golf carts available for you to take around the site (campus). The village begins with places where people from America came from--an African village, English cottage, Irish domicile and German farm. Each of the European homes is a true home that was disassembled and then reassembled here. The stones have numbers. The American homes start with a tiny log cabin with a dirt floor that housed a family (hard to believe). You then proceed to a wooden two-story home with a lovely veranda porch circa 1820. These people were upper middle class to wealthy. The last stop is an entire farm with out buildings and home from 1850. You can see that this family is not nearly as well to do as the family from 1820. It's a lovely two-hour venture with volunteers and (I believe) staff as docents dressed in period costumes. Check out the blacksmith--he's great. You start at the Museum building where you watch a two-hour movie before you begin your walking tour. There are also water fountains positioned on the roads as you walk on your tour. It was a true revelation!

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
Thank Americanstory
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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