10 Charming Small Museums on VA’s Eastern Shore


Museum of Chincoteague Island, Chincoteague
Exhibits document Chincoteague’s history from ancient times and explain the forces that have shaped its culture. The most popular exhibit at the Museum of Chincoteague Island, of course, is Misty the famous Chincoteague pony.

NASA Wallops Island Flight Facility Visitor Center, Wallops Island
America’s first rockets launched from Wallops Island in 1945 and the island continues to play an important role in America’s modern space program. NASA uses the facility to launch resupply missions to the International Space Station. Learn all about it at the NASA Visitor Center.

Saxis Island Museum, Saxis
Learn about the fading lifestyle of the waterman in Saxis, a small fishing village far from the main roads at the edge of the Chesapeake Bay, at this tiny but fascinating museum. The challenges of protecting the Chesapeake Bay’s delicate ecosystems are a big part of the story.

A Virginia Eastern Shore oyster shucker stands in front of discarded shells. Photo: Ker Place


Eastern Shore Railway Museum, Parksley
See the only original New York, Philadelphia and Norfolk station, built in 1885, that remains on its original site. Get a rare glimpse inside vintage train cars. This is one of the only museums in the country that lets you set foot inside the cars. The Eastern Shore Railway Museum’s collection of artifacts is sure to fascinate railroad lovers.

Ker Place, Onancock
A stately historic Federal-style home dating to 1799, Ker Place preserves the world of colonial America. The house is a museum, a library and an archaeology lab.

Eastern Shore Watermen’s Museum and Research Center, Onancock
The waterman culture of Virginia’s Eastern Shore dates to America’s earliest days and the Watermen’s Museum in Onancock, one of the Eastern Shore’s oldest harbor towns, collects the artifacts and relics of a lifestyle that is disappearing rapidly.

Tangier History Museum and Interpretive Cultural Center, Tangier Island
Catch the ferry out of Onancock to this isolated island community with a distinct history, culture and language, and explore the Tangier History Museum. Learn about life on a remote island in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay settled in the early 1600s. Tangier’s community faces a perilous future as the island is washed over by the Chesapeake Bay.

Harborton History, Harborton
Get off the beaten path and visit the tiny bayside village of Harborton where you’ll learn about the past and present of this once bustling community. The Harborton History Museum is packed with artifacts and models that bring the town’s rich history to life.

The Barrier Islands Center
The Barrier Islands Center preserves the history of long gone Virginia barrier island communities. Credit: Barrier Islands Center


Barrier Islands Center, Machipongo
The heritage of Virginia’s 23 remote barrier islands, now wild and uninhabited, is preserved at the Barrier Islands Center. See artifacts from the thriving communities that once existed on these Atlantic islands off the coast of Virginia’s Eastern Shore. The gift shop features local treasures made by Eastern Shore artists and artisans.

Cape Charles Museum, Cape Charles
A rich collection tells the story of Cape Charles, a small beachfront town created in 1884 as the southern terminus of the New York, Philadelphia and Norfolk railroad. Four trains arrived from New York city daily in Cape Charles and elegant ferries provided transport across the Chesapeake Bay to Norfolk.

To plan your visit to Virginia’s Eastern Shore click here.

You may also like: Annual Fests for Foodies, Virginia’s Eastern Shore
Catch the Ferry to Tangier Island
The Ultimate Oyster Trip to Virginia’s Eastern Shore

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