MainStay Suites Airport
5080 Valley View Blvd.
Roanoke, VA 24012
Phone: (540) 527-3030
Fax: (540) 527-3035
Arts & Museums
Occupying the first floor of the former Harrison School, the first public high school for African American students in Southwest Virginia, which was built in 1916 and is listed in the Virginia Historic Landmark Register and the National Historic Landmark Register, this museum preserves and interprets the achievements of African Americans, specifically in Southwestern Virginia. The annual Henry Street Heritage Festival held the fourth weekend of September.
The Virginia Museum of Transportation is a storehouse of information on the history of transportation in Virginia. The museum shows you how transportation has evolved in Virginia, a tribute to the workers behind the transportation. Though it is a transportation museum, the prime focus in the museum is its railroad heritage. Roanoke is very proud of its railways and the history behind it is fascinating.
This museum showcases the work of photographer O. Winston Links, who, documented the last days of stream operation in the late 1950s. Links photographed not only the trains themselves, but the rural communities that the railways ran through, often including people or houses in the frame with a passing steam engine. The context of these photographs makes Link's work much more than mere artistic expression, providing views of a bygone era in American history. A day in downtown Roanoke isn't complete without stopping by this uniquely American museum.
Formerly known as the Art Museum of Western Virginia, the Taubman Museum of Art is housed in the sprawling area of 16,000 square feet. The museum has a permanent exhibition that features works by regional American artists that give you a peek into the world of aboriginal fine art. Besides, there are temporary exhibits that showcase contemporary artwork in different genres like photography and sculpture. Housed in a modernist building, the Taubman Museum of Art is worth visiting not only for the art that it has but also for the beauty of the building.
This beautifully restored, early 20th century furniture warehouse provides free space for seven independent cultural organizations: the Art Museum of Western Virginia, the Arts Council of the Blue Ridge, the Science Museum of Western Virginia and Hopkins Planetarium, Roanoke Ballet Theater, Opera Roanoke, the History Museum of Western Virginia, and the Mill Mountain Theatre. Many special events and programs are held at Center throughout the year.
There are hands-on temporary exhibits as well as permanent exhibits at this museum, with topics ranging from geology and weather to body systems, live animals, and a light and sound arcade. Additionally, the museum complex contains a planetarium and a MegaDome IMAX theater. The museum offers many programs, including outreach, in-museum classes, adult science clubs, and summer science camps for kids. Call or see website for current exhibits and program information.
The History Museum of Western Virginia is a museum like no other. It literally stores the local history, whether it's art, literature or anything else. The museum also has a few publications that give you details of their collections and proceedings. The facility also conducts courses to educate children about the local history. It is also associated with Watts Library, which holds documents, photographs and lots more. For more information, do check the website or call ahead.
“Please, don't touch” is the mantra of most museums, but this “participatory gallery” stresses a hands-on approach to art appreciation. ArtVenture is designed to make art more approachable to younger visitors by offering eight interactive workstations with themes that closely relate to the permanent collection of the Western Virginia Art Museum. Children are encouraged to paint a picture, stage a show or compose music as a way to explore the arts. Call for details.
A not-for-profit gallery which displays the works of local artists from the Roanoke and New River Valleys.
Housed in a building which was built in 1895 as a Masonic Temple and is the only example of Romanesque Revival architecture in Bedford, this impressive museum showcases Bedford's history from early native American life through the War Between the States and into the 20th century. A geneology library is also on site.