Instead of a passport out of town, get a passport to town this weekend.
Entry is free to 10 historic houses and museums, from Maymont to the Edgar Allan Poe Museum, with Time Travelers Passport, a special passport to 400 years of history.
“People tend not to visit things in their own backyards,” said Nancy Loudon, organizer of the event. “As soon as people discover the great houses, history and exhibits here in Richmond, they’re always amazed.”
To get free entry, all you have to do is show a Time Travelers Passport on your phone. Download it from the website of a participating venue. Many venues also will have a printed version of the passport available on-site.
Get your passport stamped at participating sites such as Wilton House, Wickham House and the White House of the Confederacy.
“We want to get people into museums (who) might not otherwise visit them,” said Carla Murray, assistant director of marketing for Maymont. “It gives people the opportunity to experience the museums that we have here in town and see things that they wouldn’t normally see.”
For Women’s History Month, special tours of Maymont Mansion will explore women’s roles in the mansion household — from Mrs. Dooley entertaining guests to the African-American women who cooked for the Dooley family. Mansion tours will be shorter and geared toward families, with a free craft activity for kids.
“If you don’t go into the mansion, you don’t know about the amazing art and architecture that you’re missing,” Murray said.
Technically, mansion tours are always free at Maymont, although there is a suggested donation of $5.
Other sites, however, will waive their regular fees. If you visited all 10 sites, carrying the Time Travelers Passport would equal savings of more than $55 per person.
To fill your passport, Loudon recommends selecting an area and visiting nearby attractions. For example, if you choose the West End, you can hit Agecroft Hall, Virginia House, Wilton House and Maymont in one afternoon. Or try Court End in downtown Richmond to visit the John Marshall House, the Wickham House and the White House of the Confederacy.
Go wherever your passport will take you.
Maymont, at 1700 Hampton St., is a 100-acre estate that was home to James and Sallie Dooley and is now open to the public. Free tours of Maymont Mansion with a focus on Women’s History Month will be offered. The mansion is open Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m., the grounds are open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (804) 358-7166, ext. 310 or maymont.org.
2 The John Marshall House
Chief Justice John Marshall was known as the definer of the Constitution and shaper of the modern U.S. Supreme Court. His home, at 818 E. Marshall St. in Richmond’s Court End, is now a museum containing a large collection of Richmond-made Federal furnishings. Free guided tours are available and visitors can explore the garden and play a round of quoits, Marshall’s favorite game. Hours: Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, noon-5 p.m. (804) 648-7998 or preservationvirginia.org/visit.
3 Dabbs House Museum
The Dabbs House, 3812 Nine Mile Road, was built in rural eastern Henrico County in 1820 and was Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s field headquarters during the summer of 1862. Visitors can tour the field headquarters, browse the exhibit galleries and view a video on the house’s history. Hours: Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (804) 652-3406 or dabbshouse.henricorecandparks.com.
4 Agecroft Hall
Agecroft Hall, 4305 Sulgrave Road, was first built in England in the late-15th century, then dismantled, transported and rebuilt in Richmond in the 1920s. Take a free guided tour or stroll the manicured gardens overlooking the James River. Reservations are encouraged for the free, guided Time Travelers Passport tours. Full-length, fee-based tours also are available on the hour for $5-$8. Hours: Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday, 12:30-5 p.m. (804) 353-4241 or agecrofthall.org.
5 Meadow Farm Museum
Meadow Farm Museum, 3400 Mountain Road in Glen Allen, is an 1860 living-history farm in Henrico County. There will be costumed interpreters depicting daily activities at the farmhouse, barn, doctor’s office, blacksmith’s forge and pastures. Hours: Saturday and Sunday, noon-4 p.m. Grounds are open from dawn to dusk. (804) 501-2130 or henricorecandparks.com.
6 Edgar Allan Poe Museum
Take a free tour of the Edgar Allan Poe Museum, 1914 E. Main St., which contains Poe manuscripts, letters, first editions, memorabilia and personal belongings, as well as a diorama of Richmond during Poe’s lifetime. Guided and self-guided tours are available. Visitors also can explore the Enchanted Garden. Hours: Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (804) 648-5523 or poemuseum.org.
7 Virginia House
Located next door to Agecroft Hall, Virginia House, at 4301 Sulgrave Road, is constructed from pieces of a 16th-century English manor that was dismantled and relocated to Richmond. It served as the home of Ambassador Alexander Weddell and his wife, Virginia, from 1928 to 1948 and is now a museum typically open by appointment only. Stop by to tour the house and walk the grounds — designed by landscape architect Charles Gillette — overlooking the James River. Hours: Sunday, 1-5 p.m. (804) 353-4251 or vahistorical.org.
8 White House of the Confederacy
Home to Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States of America, and his family from August 1861 until the evacuation of Richmond on April 2, 1865, the White House of the Confederacy, 1201 E. Clay St., holds a large number of furnishings and artifacts from the Davis family. Free guided tours are available Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Note: Free admission to the house only. The Museum of the Confederacy entrance fee is $10 and not included in the passport weekend. (855) 649-1861 or acwm.org.
9 The 1812 John Wickham House
Listed as a National Historic Landmark, the Wickham House, 1015 E. Clay St., was built by John Wickham in 1812, and illustrates the lives of one of Richmond’s most prominent families. The Wickham House was purchased by Mann Valentine Jr., and in 1898 became the first home of the Valentine museum. Free tours are available Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, noon-5 p.m. (804) 649-0711 orthevalentine.org.
10 Wilton House Museum
Built in 1753 for William Randolph III, Wilton House, at 215 S. Wilton Road, was originally a tobacco plantation overlooking the James River and hosted such guests as Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and the Marquise de Lafayette. It now serves as a museum of the Colonial and early Federal eras. Free tours are available Saturday, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m., and Sunday, 1-4:30 p.m. (804) 282-5936 orwiltonhousemuseum.org.