Description - Having passed its 50th anniversary, Southwest Virginia Museum chronicles the development of Big Stone Gap and the surrounding area. The museum is housed in a Victorian mansion built in the 1880s and acquired by the state in 1948 from the Slemp Foundation, established by C. Bascom Slemp, private secretary to President Calvin Coolidge. It is a wonder place to visit in an afternoon but is also available for rent and makes a lovely location for special events such as weddings and corporate gatherings.
Copyright: - Virginia State Parks
Southwest Virginia Museum
- The museum offers activities and workshops for school children and scouts as well as an annual Festival of Trees program which boasts community-wide involvement. A walking tour of the grounds is especially informative about the local area. The museum sells archival supplies and offers allows the opportunity for pictures of collection pieces and reference files copied. The quaint gift shop is a browsers delight.
Recreation - Jefferson-Washington National Forest astrides the town of Big Stone Gap. High Knob Recreation Area is a few miles north on Rt. 23 then heading east on Alt. Rt. 58. High Knob boasts an elevation of 4,162 feet. Bark Camp Recreation Area is also a short drive away. Natural Tunnel State Park is nearby and offers overnight facilities.
Climate - Virginia generally has mild winters and warm humid summers. The mountainous Blue Ridge area has cold winter months with temperatures ranging from 36 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) and dropping below 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 Celsius). The state's summer temperatures have little variation. The summer mountainous Blue Ridge temperatures range from below 74 degrees Fahrenheit (23 Celsius) to 78 degrees Fahrenheit (26 Celsius).
The museum is located at the corner of West First Street and Wood Avenue in the town of Big Stone Gap, off U.S. 23 in southwest Virginia.