Newcomers to the City of Fairfax who want to learn more about the city or are just looking for a fun place to visit, will find the Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center as the perfect place to start. What used to be an old elementary school was transformed into a place for visitors and residents alike to learn the history of the City of Fairfax and explore what the city has to offer.
“We refer to the Fairfax Museum as the ‘first stop’,” said Chris Martin, the City of Fairfax’s historic resources director. “People ought to come visit us not only for information on the city, but to learn about the region.”
The first level contains an information desk, a gift shop, dozens of brochures for attractions throughout the region and the John H. Gano Gallery, which offers different exhibits throughout the year. The Gano Gallery currently has an exhibit celebrating the arts in Fairfax and contains items such as Fairfax High School marching band uniforms, costumes from the Virginia Ballet Company and pictures of the Happy Feet Cloggers.
The Second Sunday program series is one of the museum’s most popular attractions. The programs range from the arts to Civil War history and even love stories and usually cater to any temporary exhibits or any of the Fairfax stories. The programs take place the second Sunday of each month at 2 p.m. and are free to the public. The next one will be Sept. 12 and will feature Steve Vogel, an author and Washington Post reporter.
The second level contains several exhibits that tell Fairfax’s history through different stories. Some of the highlights are astronaut Pierre J Thuot’s NASA flight suit, Civil War memorabilia discovered by residents and letters from the love affair between Fairfax’s Antonia Ford and Union Army Maj. Joseph C. Willard.
“It offers a great overview of the history of Fairfax, from the time of Native Americans to the early 21st century,” said Curator Susan Inskeep Gray. “We’re willing and able to help residents and visitors alike not only guide them to other sites and events in the history of Fairfax, but all over the region.”
The museum is also child-friendly and welcomes school group tours, so much so that the Fairfax stories exhibition was designed to compliment and enrich the Virginia Standards of Learning.
The museum is located at 10209 Main St. in Fairfax and is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. See www.fairfaxva.gov for a schedule of programs and events, additional activities and for more information.
Insider tip: bring a checkbook or some cash to take advantage of the museum’s gift shop.