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It was here that the Virginia Convention of 1775 met to discuss the question of taking arms against the British. One of the oldest wooden buildings in Virginia, delegates to the Convention - including Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Patrick Henry - had convened in this very spot. And it was here where Patrick Henry gave his famous speech and said the following famous lines: "Give me liberty or give me death!" Visitors can reenact this experience by watching the live performances offered by professional actors and further enrich their knowledge of history by visiting the city's first public cemetery.
Founded in 1847, Hollywood is one of the oldest cemeteries in Richmond. Confederate President Jefferson Davis, General J.E.B. Stuart, Presidents James Monroe and John Tyler, novelists James Branch Cabel and Ellen Glasgow, and 18,000 Confederate soldiers, 11,000 of the unknown, are a few examples of the historical figures buried here. Hollywood has the city's best view of the James River. When the cemetery was first established, neighbors declared that the rushing of the falls would, literally, wake the dead. Guided tours are available on the last Sunday of each month through October.
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts contains comprehensive collections of works from ancient times to the present. Permanent exhibits include pieces from ancient Greece, a tapestry hall, a medieval chapel and the largest collection of Faberge eggs outside of Russia. A regular schedule of temporary exhibits rounds out this comprehensive art museum. A peaceful sculpture garden provides a place for a quiet rest beside the rushing fountains. Admission is free, although USD5 donations are suggested.
Built-in 1893, this beautiful home on the James River is a classic example of Victorian architecture and landscaping. Maymont Mansion is filled with period furniture including a magnificent swan bed. Trees and plants from all over the world were cultivated here by the owners. The English, Japanese and Italian gardens are romantic spots for strolling and picnicking. A carriage collection, children's farm, and small zoo are other favorite attractions.
In the 1880s, Lewis Ginter, a wealthy businessman, opened a resort on this land just northwest of Richmond. An avid gardener, he planted and cared for much of the foliage that still thrives in the park today. Upon his death, the property passed to his niece who opened a hospice for children in Ginter's home. She also cultivated the gardens and imported several rare plants. The land is now operated by the city as a botanical garden. Explore the Victorian garden, nature trails and the home, and perhaps stop at the Tea House for lunch.
For 150 years the Virginia Historical Society has been collecting portraits, manuscripts, and artifacts, such as books, bound serials, sheet music, the largest collection of Confederate-made weapons in the world and much more. Semi-permanent exhibits include, "The Story of Virginia, an American Experience" and "The Seasons of the Confederacy." During 2014, most of the exhibition places will be closed for renovations - however, the library, museum shop, and select programs are still available.
Carytown is a treasure trove of specialty stores and restaurants. Stroll down the sidewalks and explore antique stores, salons, vintage clothing stores, coffee places, bookshops and more. On and off-street parking is plentiful. The eateries represent many different kinds of food, from Mexican at Nacho Mamma's to French-Asian at Indochine or Indian at Farouk's. The shops include Premiere Costumes, The Compleat Gourmet and Leo Burke Furniture. These and other stores have sidewalk sales in the spring and fall and open houses on December Sundays. In August, the street comes to life with the Watermelon Festival.
Designed by Thomas Jefferson with architect Charles-Louis Clérisseau, this Classic Revival building was modeled after a Roman temple, the Maison Carrée in Nimes. It was completed in 1788 and is the second oldest capitol in continuous use in the country. The focal point of the building is the central rotunda featuring a life-size statue of George Washington, said to be the only one for which he actually posed. A smaller dome displays busts of the eight American presidents from Virginia. The old Hall of the House of Delegates, where the legislature met until 1906, is now a museum. Free tours, lasting about 30 minutes, are offered here. Visitors can stroll around the Capitol grounds and see the nearby Executive Mansion.
The American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar chronicles the savagery of the 19th-century American Civil War through its exhibits and displays. Discussions and analysis of the cause, effect, and legacy of the civil war are held here. Audio-visual content documenting episodes of the war are also available to visitors. The center's fantastic location by the James River in the heart of Richmond makes it one of the most noticeable and visited spots. Rental spaces at the center are much sought after. The scenic riverside backdrop and the elegant interiors make it an ideal venue for weddings and bashes.
The Virginia Holocaust Museum was founded in 1997 by Al Rosenbaum, Mark Fetter, and Jay Ipson, one of Richmond's youngest Holocaust survivors. The museum's mission is to educate others on the Holocaust and the terror of genocide. Visitors are led throughout the museum by painted train tracks to not only learn about the holocaust as a whole, but also the personal account of the Ipson family and their ordeal. In addition, you will learn about other survivors who have settled in Richmond. Engage in the films, guided tours, programs, and lectures that are provided. Note: due to the certain graphic nature of select content, this might not be the best place for young children. Admission is free but donations are greatly appreciated.