This museum is located in a mansion built by lawyer and industrialist Rufus Ayers, Virginia attorney general in the 1880s. Janie Slemp Newman and her brother, C. Bascom Slemp, a former U.S. congressman and private secretary to President Calvin Coolidge, assembled the initial collection of artifacts on display. Slemp bequeathed the collection to the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1946 and the Southwest Virginia Museum opened to the public in 1948. The museum chronicles the development of Southwest Virginia and presents a picture of life in the past.
Geographic Location: Wise County
Physical Description of Location: 101-151 Wood Avenue W (US 58 Alt), at intersection with W 1st Street S, Big Stone Gap, VA 24219. Marker is on right, in front of museum, when traveling south on US 58 Alt.
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