King and Queen Opens Courthouse Tavern Museum May 13. (May 2001)

The King and Queen Courthouse Tavern Museum, located at King and Queen Courthouse, VA, will open to the general public for the first time on Sunday, May 13, from 1 to 5 pm. The Museum, a joint enterprise of King and Queen County and the King and Queen County Historical Society, features an acclaimed exhibit on the History of King and Queen County, developed under the guidance of Dr. James Kelly of the Virginia Historical Society and design of Terry Ammons of StudioAmmons. It tells the story of King and Queen County, using artifacts donated or loaned by citizens of the County, including early fossils and sharks teeth found in the County, a piece of a cannon used in the 1600s at Fort Mattaponi, a wooden voting box used for “colored voters,” a spyglass used in the Revolution and the Civil War by a King and Queen family, an 18th century ladies cloth cap, pictures of early schools and churches, among other things.

The Exhibit traces King and Queen history with three themes: Life – making a living in the county, emphasizes farming, forestry and watermen; Liberty – emphasizes the participation of the county in wars from the Revolution to World War II, as well as the various rights movements; and Pursuit of Happiness – building community groups in the county: government, schools, churches and other organizations, but also focuses on the history of home life in rural King and Queen.

The Museum, housed in the restored Courthouse Tavern, also presents the Tavern as a 1880–1930 building serving persons coming to stay overnight to attend to Court business. It features a restored and furnished dining room, parlor and two bedrooms during a time of transition from kerosene lamps to electric lights and appliances – the Museum has several 1910–1925 electric heaters, fans and even an early vacuum cleaner; from tin wash tubs and potty chairs to indoor plumbing; from handmade furniture to early Sears, Roebuck catalog products; from open fireplaces to coal heating stoves; and early inexpensive picture printing. All of these are displayed and explained in the museum.